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

3. Wii Remote and Nunchuk

So far, this list has been focused on traditional controllers. Was the design good, how was the D-pad, were the buttons in the right places? All of these things are important, but in the case of the Wii Remote, the key piece wasn’t a button or joystick, it was something completely new: motion sensors. For the first time in the history of gaming, motion controls were fully functional, offering a whole realm of new experiences. Bowling in Wii Sports. Steering in Excite Truck. Sword fighting in Twilight Princess. Although these launch games offered very basic motion control experiences, they were still new and exciting, and it only got better. Metroid Prime Trilogy is still one of the best FPS experiences I’ve had on any console, and Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition was the best version of that game. By the end of the console’s life, Nintendo had upgraded to the Wii Motion Plus, which gave us one of the most realistic sword fighting experiences in a game to date with Skyward Sword. The addition of the Nunchuk attachment was necessary for most games, but the standalone remote was designed to act as an improved NES controller when turned sideways and was perfect for 2D platformers and Virtual Console games. Sure, there were plenty of games that reduced the motion controls to simple waggles, but the games that did it right ended up being some of the best games of the last generation.

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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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