Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
29 Controls of Christmas
Nintendo 64 Control
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 12, 2008   |   Episode 16 (Show Archive)  


It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 29 of the best known video game controls of all time, from the Nintendo Entertainment System to the Nintendo Wii remote. We're going to review each and every one of them, and then give you a short haiku. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 29 Controls of Christmas!

The very thought of the Nintendo 64 scares me, but it's even more frightening when you add Harvest Moon into the mix!
Brief Synopsis: Anybody that knows me knows that I'm afraid of the Nintendo 64. Not the kind of afraid where it keeps me from living my life or playing Nintendo games, but the kind of scared where I cringe every time I'm expected to talk about it. In the 1990s I had a love/hate relationship with the Nintendo 64. I loved the first batch of games, especially Super Mario 64 and WaveRace 64. But over time Nintendo's 64-bit console started to lose its way. It became a home for me-too 3D platformers, only had a handful of really good games and, worst of all, had you paying $70 - $80 per game (that's close to $100 in today's dollar). $70 was too much for a game, especially when they looked ugly and had terrible music. The Nintendo 64 did have one thing going for it, and that's a funky control. This Nintendo 64 was the first console to offer an analog stick out of the box. At first this seemed risky, but the moment you used it with Super Mario 64 was the moment you "got" this whole 3D gaming thing. It was so vital to the experience that both Sony and Sega adopted analog sticks. Plus, every console since then has offered at least one analog stick. The Nintendo 64 was groundbreaking; it changed the way we played games. Too bad the Nintendo 64's control was so freakishly ugly and hard to hold.

The Style: I'm sure there are people that will argue that the Nintendo 64 control is beautiful, but it really isn't. Not at all. Not even a little bit. It really is one of the ugliest controls every created. It was a light grey color (contrary to the system's black exterior), it had oddly shaped buttons randomly thrown about, and it had three legs. That's right, three legs. If they cut off the analog stick (the middle leg) it would look almost exactly like a PlayStation control, but that third leg is what makes it unit. It's also what makes it hard to hold. The instruction manual shows how you can hold the control any number of ways, but none of those ways were comfortable. The Nintendo 64 also had a large slot for an expansion pack. At first this seemed useless, but before long Nintendo started to support it ... kind of. The best thing you could put in that expansion bay was a rumble pack, which made the control shake uncontrollably whenever you got hit by

This guy has found the only good use for a Nintendo 64 control!
something. At worst you used it for your memory card. Memory card ... on a cartridge-based system? Whatever you say Nintendo.

What the 18 Year Old Me Would Say: Okay, you got me, how do I hold this thing? Now I feel pretty stupid, I just graduated high school and I can't even figure out how to hold a Nintendo control. And why are these buttons bigger? Are these yellow buttons more important, they are smaller and in a specific pattern? And hey, what's this button doing here? And this one, how many different buttons does this control have? Why are they all so hidden? I do like this analog stick, but it's kind of big and loose, I hope somebody comes around and makes a better joystick. Anyway, I have a party to go to; I'll have to check out Super Mario 64 later.

What I Would Say Now: With each passing year I hate this control more and more. It's not an accident that every single video game company has been able to make a better analog-stick control, it's because there's no possible way to make a worse control. The three legs idea is terrible, plus it's not ergonomic. Every other company decided to spend a few days thinking up more comfortable designs, yet this Nintendo 64 control feels like it was rushed out the door before anybody could test it with a game. Worst still, the color scheme is ugly, especially when it comes to the myriad of buttons that hide all over the control. This is really a terrible control.

The Nintendo 64 Control Haiku:
One ugly control.
How do I even hold this?
I hate this control.


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