You cannot play a video game without a controller to interact with this media. Sometimes when we play a video game for so long that we forgot that we’re actually using our thumbs to control our character(s) through these controllers. The one thing we all want in our video games is to actually have controllers that are comfortable, easy to memorize the button layout, and something that’s a great size for anyone to manage. But also, we need a controller that is useful for all kinds of video game genres. Since I have not seen a controller (that came with the console) to actually work well with genres like Real-Time Strategies, Party Games, Music and Rhythm games, and even fighting games (I prefer using the arcade stick when playing fighting games) these picks won’t guarantee that it was built for all sort of games, but I want one that’s easy to manage and so comfortable to the hands. But most of all it has to be so good is when you use it you don’t have to think about the controller when playing the game. So let’s get to it
Number 10. – Nintendo DS
This is the only handheld that made it on the list. Handheld controls are very often inferior to the controls that consoles has to offer but the Nintendo DS offered something that we couldn’t do with consoles upon its release. The DS has a D-pad on the left, Left and Right triggers behind the screen, and four buttons (X, Y, A, B) for the right thumb to manage, and it has two screens. This is the only game machine that has 2 screens, where one is up as a main screen, and the bottom that’s between to the D-pad and buttons is used for touch-screen. With the touch screen you can do a lot that buttons and D-pads can’t simply do like typing, drawing, creating lines, quick select, and so much more. And again, when there are things that touch-screen can’t do like attack while moving, players can switch back to buttons and D-pad. It always annoys me that when I play a iPad or iTouch video games it’s all touch screen which is frustrating to control like a normal video game. But the DS was built for doing both of those things in various situations, but it’s at the bottom of the list because camera controls are frustrating to manage (in a 3D game) without a two analog sticks like consoles. Heck, the Playstation Portable doesn’t have an analog stick and even the Nintendo 3DS has to have a separate add on for a second analog stick. Why is it so hard for video game manufacturers to put in two analog sticks right in the handheld? And most of all, it’s light (in term of weight) unlike the Wii-U controller…
Number 9. – Xbox 360 Controller
Now moving on a more improved controller than the Dreamcast, it’s the Xbox 360 controller. I love the fact that this controller is so close to each other where the left analog stick isn’t too far from the d-pad, and the buttons are close to the analog stick. I also love the fact that the there are 4 trigger buttons on top where there’s TL, BL, TR, and BR buttons that are firmly in place. Remember I said how comfortable it is to choose range of motion with the L and R triggers from the Dreamcast controller? Well it’s featured here in the 360 controller. The reason why there’s so many similarities between the Dreamcast controller and the 360 controller is because the lead designer of the Dreamcast controller is now working for Microsoft and he delivered a great improvement. The only problem with this controller however is that the D-pad sucks. I don’t ever use an analog stick when I’m playing a 2D Platformer and I need the D-pad to move my character. Unfortunately the D-pad doesn’t feel like a D-pad like Nintendo, Sega, and Sony’s controllers, it feels like a loose plastic that was shoved in there. This was a huge down grade from the Xbox Controller S that had a great D-pad to begin with.
Number 8. – Sega Genesis 3-Button Controller
What this controller offered for its players is 1 more button than the NES controller and a firm grip that’s comfortable for our middle, ring, and pinky finger to hold on. I love the feeling of the Genesis 3-Button Controller where it was built for the big boys. For instance, the A, B, and C buttons and the D-Pad are big enough for older gamers to actually push it. Not to mention that the start button is above the three buttons which makes it so easy for us to quickly press the start button. This makes it a comfortable experience for us players who were growing up during the 16-bit era of video games. I would still prefer this 3-controller over the Genesis 6-button controller that has a lack of grip at the bottom that players find it most comfortable. I know they needed the 6-buttons for fighting games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat that requires more than 3 buttons to do all those cool moves, but they didn’t get it right when they made the Sega Saturn controller that’s similar to the Genesis’s 6-button controller and has an even worse grip on it. The Saturn later came up with a controller that was more suitable for its library of games
Number 7. – Super Nintendo Controller
I think this was the time were these were just enough buttons during the 16-bit era. When Nintendo released the Super Nintendo, they gave one more button than the Genesis controller, now the Y, X, A, B buttons, and even added two more buttons at the top of the controller. Now we’re able to play with not only our thumbs, but also click the left and right triggers with our index fingers. This was all ready for future games that require more than four buttons like fighting games like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, and Killer Instinct. The only problem that I personally have with the Super Nintendo is that the start and select buttons are harder to interact with. I mean, when I wanted to pause the screen, I need to press the start button harder than I normally press any other button to actually pause the game. For that alone, it could not make it in the Top 5.
Number 6. – WaveBrid Wireless Controller
You’re probably thinking, what on Earth is a Wavebird? While the Gamecube controller gave players a unique (yet childish) controller display, I have to say that the wavebird revolutionized wireless controls and did it right. Before the wave bird, the only wireless controllers were when players had to deal with I.R., or infer-red, that you have to point directly to the reader connected to the console in order to be read. This controller on the other hand uses radio-waves and players can put their controllers all over the place, all sorts or directions, and even so far away from the console that you’ve never imagined you could do before and reads everything you interacted with to be interacted precisely right like a wired controller. It was revolutionary nonetheless!
As for a Gamecube controller… I like the fact that the A button is so huge that developers know that that’s the button we’re going to press the most, and the red lying so next to it. On the other hand the Z-button is too small, L & R trigger are a bit too stiff to click, the C-analog stick is too small in comparison to the main analog stick, plus rotating around with both of those analog stick when they hit the edges creates noise of plastics hitting each other which is annoying for me. If this was the regular Gamecube controller it wouldn’t be this high, but since this is the first time where I don’t have to clean up the wire by wrapping it around or worry about some one tripping on the wire, it made earned itself to be in this spot on the list.
Number 5. – Sega Saturn 3D Controller Pad
Believe it or not, this is so much better than the Dreamcast controller. You have a thumb stick that you won’t loose grip (unlike the Dreamcast analog stick that looses grip on your thumb), the d-pad is more stronger than the D-pad on the Dreamcast, and also there are six buttons. This was SO much better than Sega’s original Sega Saturn controller which was the Genesis controller with 6-buttons that’s great for fighting games and other games that has a lot of action that needs enough buttons for it. The most innovating thing that the 3D Controller Pad controller has is a very innovative left and right triggers. When you drive and hit the gas pedal, you don’t think off or on (or fast or stop), you add pressure to increase or decrease speed which determines range of motion for camera controls, gas pedals for driving games, and more. That’s what the triggers on the 3D Controller Pad gave that range of motion in a thousand different states right in our games other than the analog stick. This controller was made for 3D games, which is something that the original Saturn controller didn’t implement well at all. This could of been a better controller than the N64 except for one major flaw with this controller. The only problem I have with the 3D Controller Pad is that you can’t simply just choose to use the thumb stick or the D-pad because there’s a switch at the bottom that activates either the thumb stick or the d-pad. Other than that, this has to be the best controller that Sega has ever made.
Number 4. – Nintendo 64
I have met plenty of people that dislikes this controller but you have to give this one credit, this was the way to go in gaming in the 3D world. In this controller that innovated an analog stick where you can use your thumb on something that is much smaller than the large joy sticks from the Atari days. Now you can push it slightly to make your character walk or move slowly and push it all the way forward to move faster. This was the way to go in 3D video games. Also in 3D games, camera control is needed and the C-buttons were made just for that. And if it’s not for camera controls at least you got 6 buttons, 2 more buttons than the SNES controller.
In using the Nintendo 64 controller, there are three ways to hold it.
- Hold the analog stick grip with your left hand and put your right hand on the button side.
- Hold the D-bad grip with your left hand and your right hand on the button side.
- Hold the D-pad grip with your left hand and hold the analog stick grip with your right hand.
Since there are more games that utilize the first pick to hold it, it makes L-trigger the least pressed button, so they included a Z-button right underneath the Analog stick. This was some of the most addicting buttons that I constantly love to press again and again because it’s used for crouching, Z-targeting, or shooting. The Z-button has been N64 fan’s favorite button and Nintendo didn’t make another one ever again until the Wii Remote’s B-trigger button. Also, this was the first controller that featured an add-on insert where you can insert your memory card, the gameboy add-on (where you can play Gameboy color games on your N64 when you connect a gameboy game with it), or the Rumble Pack which was the very first peripheral that gave the player vibration, or the ability where the controller shakes to even engages the player even more. This is all the reason why I love the Nintendo 64 controller so much!
Number 3. – Wii Remote + Nunchucks
Now this is the only motion controls that I put in this list. Why? Because it’s the best and it’s the only console that requires the majority of its games in its library to use it. Basically, the Wii remote (depending on where you placed the Sensor Bar) reads players’ movement with just holding the remote. You can swing it to any direction and the game can read it precisely. You can act like you’re swinging the bat, rolling a ball, shoot it like a gun, make a selection, pretend to hit something, and other actions as long as the game tells or allow you to do it. This was a milestone in video games where it showed that playing a game isn’t just pressing buttons, but actually make movements in real life to interact in a video game in a whole new way. But that’s not to say that it doesn’t need buttons. No, just like touch screens, motion with the Wii Remote can’t do everything so buttons and the D-pad are required to do action outside of swinging your remote. There’s an A button right next to the D-pad and a B-trigger button that remenisent to the Z-button from the N64 controller that you can use as a gun, and also the 1 & 2 buttons that’s at the bottom (or right side depending on how you use it) that are used as extra buttons.
But between the 1 & A buttons there’s a speaker in the middle of the Wii Remote. That’s there to make sound effects to the movement or action we’ve made with our Wii remote which is really outstanding stuff here. Who new that radio-waves were actually capable of doing that and as a result it makes a much more interactive experience for us gamers. At the bottom of the remote there’s also an input where you can connect add-ons with the Wii remote. You can add the Wii Motion Plus (which adds a better motion for your Wii remote), Nunchucks which add an analog stick and two trigger buttons (Z & C buttons), Wii Classic Controller (for those who are more comfortable with the classic SNES controller), and other add-ons made by Nintendo. Obviously, the Nunchuck is the best add-on for the Wii Remote because it offered more of what you can’t do with a Wii Remote alone, like better controls in a 3D environment and two more buttons. Plus it has it’s own motion controls so that makes it two controllers that’s made for motion controls! Sony and Microsoft tried to imitate this motion gimmick that Nintendo succeeded, but they both failed due to the fact that the Kinnect can’t read certain movements and Sony’s Move Controls has a ball on it that makes it laughable. Wii Remote was so good that it’s also compatible with the Wii-U. Enough said!
Number 2. – Dualshock 1 & 2
I’ll admit that Sony’s first Playstation Controller was a rip-off of the SNES controller (minus the fact that there are two more trigger buttons for our index fingers R1, R2, L1, L2), however, after the revolutionary analog stick from the N64 and the issue of battery life of the Rumble pack, Sony decided to take that idea and made sure that this controller redesign is much more simpler than the N64 controller. The Dualshock has it’s own vibration feature that requires no batteries to vibrate and two analog sticks. Now gaming is changed forever where the D-pad is used as a selection, the left analog stick is used for movement, and the right analog stick is used for camera controls and other movements. Between the analog sticks is another button that has word analog written on top of it and you can turn it on and off on your Playstation One (but you can’t turn it off on the PS2 because all PS2 games require both analog sticks). All Playstation fans should always remember the Triangle, Circle, Square, and X buttons as being the most iconic symbol of the Playstation while every other console outside of Playstation still uses the letters from the alphabet. Also you’re able to click on both of those analog sticks like a button which they call L3 and R3 buttons. This feature alone got me addicted to constantly click on the analog stick and hear that clicking noise as I press it down. Too bad Nintendo never made an analog stick where you can press it down. I admit that there weren’t that many Playstation One games that uses the right analog stick but Sony was smart enough not to change the controller for the Playstation 2 because why fix something that isn’t broken? This controller was so good that even the Playstation 3 and Playstation 4 still use its layout. Heck, the Nintendo Gamecube and Xbox couldn’t even help themselves to have two analog sticks and the same format of a controller like the Dualshock. But the Dualshock 3 couldn’t make it on the list because the L2 and R2 buttons turned to very sensitive triggers and the Sixaxis controls (their motion controls) were gimmicks that nobody likes. And I’m not too thrilled to see a touch screen on the PS4 Controller. That’s why Dualshock 1 & 2 are so high in this list!
Number 1. – Xbox Controller S
The original Xbox controller (or the Duke) was doomed from the start for being a controller that’s too big, spread out, and even too heavy for gamers to hold. Not even fully grown men could even handle the Duke. So Microsoft sprung into action by getting the designer of the Dreamcast controller and made it better. Now with the Xbox Controller S you have everything closer together and have everything perfectly displayed for every gamer out there. You have two analog sticks that are so tight and so comfortable to lay your thumbs upon, the X, Y, A, B buttons are easy to use and the white and black button are moved below the X, Y, A, B buttons, just like the Start and Select buttons are below the left analog stick. Even better, you can click on the analog sticks like the Dualshock analog sticks and that awesome range of motion of the Left and Right trigger buttons that the Dreamcast controller has, is featured here! Also the D-pad is very suitable for 2D platformers (even though there weren’t that many). What I like about the Xbox Controller (like the Duke) is that you can also connect it to your computer in the keyboard input bringing the wonderful feeling from this controller to your computer. These are all the reasons why the Xbox Controller S made it to number 1 and it has been the best controller ever. Now I wonder why Microsoft didn’t keep this controller’s layout for the Xbox 360 unlike how Sony kept the Dualshock design in all of Sony’s consoles.