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

8. N64 Controller

“Look at that controller, what does Nintendo think we have, three hands?”

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that joke out of the way, let’s talk about the Nintendo 64 controller and its extremely unique design. The first things you are bound to notice are the three handles that separate the controller into three sections. On the left, a D-pad and the L trigger; in the middle, the start button, the control stick, and the Z trigger; and on the right, six buttons and the R trigger. This setup allows you to comfortably use either the D-pad or the control stick without the controller being crowded, though not too many games decided to use the D-pad and it was mostly ignored. But that was okay thanks to the Z trigger, which is still one of the most brilliantly placed buttons ever in my opinion. Its placement on the back of the handle was perfect, allowing your finger to rest on it naturally and quickly press it whenever needed. In the end, it proved to be a design best suited for Nintendo itself, perfect for all of its first party games like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The controller didn’t end up being great for many third party games, but Nintendo always got it just right.

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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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