Top Ten: Nintendo Controllers

The Big N has a history of innovative controllers. Sam ranks his ten favorite!

By Sam Stewart. Posted 03/25/2014 09:00 10 Comments     ShareThis

N64 controller rainbow masthead

1. GameCube Controller

What else could number one be but the glorious GameCube controller? Much like the N64 controller, the GameCube controller is in a class all its own design-wise. It has all the standard features of a modern controller, but placed in an unorthodox fashion. Massive A button, tiny B button, and curved X and Y buttons that surround them. The Z button sits next to the R trigger on the right side with no counterpart on the left. The tiny C-Stick and D-pad are set on small peninsulas jutting out from the body of the controller, and ended up going unused by most games.

So what makes this controller so great? It’s hard to say. Most companies wouldn’t dare create a controller that deviates so greatly from the norm, but Nintendo seems to know what is best for its own games, and the GameCube controller was just perfect. The control stick with the ridged edges to help section it off is still a great design (and one I wish more controllers would use), and the giant, clicky shoulder buttons had a perfect crunch every time you pressed them. Knowing that most games use the A button most of all, Nintendo made it the biggest and most fun to press, and you can’t help but enjoy pressing it every time. The cost of this was smaller B, X, and Y buttons, but they were always easy to reach with your finger hovering over the A. Although it was made for the GameCube, it’s legacy lived on, proving useful for many Wii games as well, including Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Mario Kart Wii. With the introduction of Wii U, the GameCube controller has finally been phased out, but I can’t help but hope that Nintendo will revive it in the form of an updated Wii U controller with a bigger D-pad, C-Stick, and a second Z button. Release it in time for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and it will make a lot of Smash fans happy.


There you have what I think are the ten best Nintendo controllers. What is your favorite Nintendo controller? Let us know in the comments below!

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10 Responses to “Top Ten: Nintendo Controllers”

  • 63 points
    Jake Shapiro says...

    I think we can all agree the GameCube controller is the best of all time. But as much as I love my 3DS XL, I hate how clicky and shallow its buttons are. The original DS had more buttery smooth buttons. And when it comes to the Wiimote + Nunchuk, the awkward placement of the 1 and 2 buttons ruin it for me. Not to mention all the issues with the motion sensing.

  • 285 points
    Kyle England says...

    NINTENDO 64 CONTROLLER #1 FOR LYFE

    • 678 points
      amishpyrate says...

      I loved it except that not all the buttons were accessible depending on how you held it. Also the analog stick used to wear out pretty easy compared to the newer analog style. Especially after some hardcore Mario party marathons!

      • 1273 points
        Robert Marrujo says...

        I’ve always been disappointed with the Virtual Console N64 games because there was never any compensation made for the different sensitivity of today’s analogue sticks versus the N64 controller’s. That being said; Mario Party protective glove giveaway, anyone? Lol, memories.

  • 60 points
    Dustin Grissom says...

    I love the Gamecube controller, so many great memories. It’s extremely weird, but sometimes I pick it up and hold it just to remember how extremely form fitting and comfortable it was to hold… Great list, man!

  • 207 points
    Jon Stevens says...

    The Gamecube controller for sure… but the Wavebird more specifically! ;)

  • 678 points
    amishpyrate says...

    Lot of love for the GameCube controller. I remember how much it was hated on when it was announced. I always liked it though. My favorite controller is definitely the virtual boys controller. Wish they would have replicated that on a more successful console. Its grips were long and it was comfortable for me to hold. While it came before analog sticks were the norm it was ahead of its time with dual d pads

  • 819 points
    Toadlord says...

    I’m totally down with this list. I treat my wavebird with such care nowadays. If I had known how much use I would get out of it, I would have bought 2 years ago.

  • 697 points
    Adam Sorice says...

    Blast from the past! I remember making this graphic years ago.

  • 784 points
    Marc Deschamps says...

    The Wavebird beats all! All is right with the world!

    Robert, the first Mario Party destroyed my hands. The blisters from that game were terrible.

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