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29 Controls of Christmas
Sega Genesis Pad
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 02, 2008   |   Episode 6 (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!



This original Genesis control is big and rounded, but at least it's comfortable!
Brief Synopsis: So you have a brand new 16-bit console that is going to run laps around the competition, what do you do to prove to everybody that your control is different? Simple, add another button. That's exactly what Sega did with their Genesis control. Instead of going high tech and creating something revolutionary, Sega opted to add a "C" button right next to the "A" and the "B". They also decided to make the control larger and, more importantly, rounded. This curved control ushered in an era of ergonomic pads. Well, maybe it didn't go that far ... but it certainly hinted at what was to come. For the first time a game pad wasn't boxy and hard to hold. This larger control was perfect for the target audience, gamers who had grown up from Nintendo's 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System. Later Sega would add three more buttons to the control pad (so that people could play Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition), but the only control we're reviewing is the original three-button Sega Genesis control.

The Style: The style is slicker than what we saw with the Sega Master System. Gone is the idea of having the cord come jutting out of the side of the control. Gone is the idea of having to push the start and select buttons on the actual system. In its place is a sleek control that was large enough for teenage hands and featured heavy-duty buttons. This was the first control since the Great Game Crash to not feel like a toy. The addition of the "C" button didn't seem especially important at first, but by the end of the Genesis's lifecycle it was clear that gamers demanded more than three buttons on a game pad.


The six button control was smaller and sexier, but that's not what we're talking about in this episode!
What the 11 Year Old Me Would Say: This thing is huge. Why did Sega have to make this control so freakin' huge? I like these buttons, they click down. And there are no edges; my hands aren't getting cramped when I play Ghouls 'n Ghosts. But will I actually need this stupid "C" button? Most games aren't going to need more than two buttons, so why even bother giving us a stupid bonus button? And where's the select button? Shouldn't there be a select button or something? I don't know if I can get used to all this change.

What I Would Say Now: This control feels about right. While it's not the perfect example of an ergonomic control pad, it's clear that this is the first time somebody actually thought about adding comfort to the hands. Looking back on it now, I kind of wish the pad wasn't so flat, this would have been an even better control if they had just bent the shape just a little. But that's just nitpicking. Even better was that six-button control, they shrunk the control and made it even easier to hold. Of course, we're not talking about the six-button pad, so maybe I shouldn't even bring it up. Still, I have a lot of great things to say about this Genesis control pad. It's not perfect, but it's the first control that almost got it right out of the box.

The Sega Genesis Control Haiku:
This pad is rounded.
Easier to hold and play.
Worthless "C" button?
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