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

7. 3DS XL

3DS XL official press shot

At first, I planned on excluding all portables from this list because, for the most part, they are scaled down versions of their console counterparts. But after playing my 3DS XL for hundreds of hours, I think an exception is in order. 3DS perfected the SNES-esque design of the original DS, with four face buttons, two shoulder buttons, and a great feeling D-pad. But the biggest innovation with these system is the touch screen, which opened up tons of new possibilities for unique gaming experiences. Out of this innovation came great games like WarioWare: Touched!, The World Ends With You, and Elite Beat Agents (not to mention it pioneered many of the touch screen gaming ideas we see in phone games today). While the DS Lite is a fantastic system, I have to give the edge to the 3DS XL for its size and its circle pad, which proved that portable systems can have perfectly good joysticks (I’m looking at you, PSP joystick), and for the added gyroscope that has used in a number of interesting ways. People complain time and time again about the lack of a second control stick on the system, but I’d say it’s doing just fine without it, with great games like Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon and Super Mario 3D Land taking advantage of its many other features. Carry on, 3DS!

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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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