Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
29 Controls of Christmas
Neo Geo Joystick
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 04, 2008   |   Episode 8 (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!

Sure it cost almost $700 back in 1990, but at least it came with two heavy duty joysticks!
Brief Synopsis: So far in our countdown we've managed to look at a number of small, compact game pads whose only job is to help you control the characters on screen. The Neo Geo's control is slightly different. Instead of being some dinky little game pad, SNK decided to release a full-sized arcade stick. That's right, Neo Geo owners got not one, but two heavy duty joysticks that look like they were ripped directly from an arcade unit. Actually, they WERE ripped right out of the arcade cabinet, which is why SNK is remembered for having one of the best controls of all time. Then again, considering you're spending almost $700 for this thing (that's almost $1,100 in today's dollar), the control better be ripped out of the arcade. Years later SNK would release a more traditional control pad to go alongside their failed Neo Geo CDZ, but for the sake of argument we're only going to talk about the far superior Neo Geo joystick.

The Style: This Neo Geo joystick is about as simple as they come. It's plain black from top to bottom, features four buttons in a row and has a tough joystick sticking up out of the plastic. The button placement and look all resemble what you would find in the arcade, and the stick's heavy duty design may be enough to stock a bullet (but don't quote me on that). It's clear from the construction that this stick was designed with more than 2D platformers in mind; it was made for SNK's long line of stellar fighting games. While Genesis and Super NES owners had to twist their fingers about to pull off multi-hit combos

There is no amount of advertising that was going to convince my parents to drop $700 on a console with $200 games!
and crazy special moves, Neo Geo owners could easily just flick their wrist to throw that fireball. No matter the genre, this Neo Geo joystick was ideal for nearly every type of game.

What the 12 Year Old Me Would Say: I actually get a joystick with this console? How much did this thing set you back? Oh ... wait, you paid THAT much for this stupid console? No wonder they gave you a couple of big joysticks. I really like how this control feels like an arcade game, especially since the graphics and sound are identical to what I just played at the pizza parlor. This thing is the greatest; I don't see how any company will ever be able to top the Neo Geo!

What I Would Say Now: It didn't take long before somebody topped the Neo Geo, but not when it comes to the standard control. These days' controls do a lot of things, from fast forwarding DVDs to text messaging to allowing you to fully immerse yourself in a three-dimensional world. But the one thing they're not is heavy duty. They also aren't huge joysticks. The Neo Geo was the only console to feature a joystick as a standard control, something SNK fans continue to appreciate. I suppose this type of control wouldn't work for all genres, it would certainly be nice to have something like this for the Xbox 360 (especially with the recent release of Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix).

The Neo Geo Joystick Haiku:
A joystick for you.
Perfect for the arcade games.
The expensive ones.


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