AAG Feature: The Top 10 Game Controllers of All Time

17th November 2010 - The release of Microsoft's Kinect is happening tomorrow for us here in Australia. And now that apparently controllers are dead - and I am the controller - I thought it apt to go back over my favourite controllers from all the years past. If I haven’t used it, it wasn’t up for nomination. I have also held off judgement on the PS Move, because at the moment it doesn’t have the longevity and to be honest I felt I haven’t used it enough for it to be considered here.

10) – Coming it at number 10 is the staple PC controller; the Keyboard and mouse combo. Despite being fairly competent with them for work purposes I have never really got the hang off them as a game controller. When the original Half Life was released I forced myself to play with the keyboard and mouse and persevere so I could play that wonderful game.

9) – The NES Zapper was my introduction to light gun games and probably a lot of peoples. It was nice and lightweight controller and the extended barrel made it easy to use a second hand to steady it. I am surprised that Duck Hunt, the game that this controller is synonymous with hasn’t made an appearance on the Wii in some form.

8) – Power Glove was the most annoying and difficult controller to use. Basically it was crap. It only ever had two games made for it specifically but the premise for tracking finger movements to control games and Nintendo’s pursuit of it is why we have motion controls today. Basically “I love the Power Glove. It’s so bad.”

7) – SNES Controller, finally the controller doesn’t cut into my hands and make them bleed, which was handy when playing Mario Kart. This controller was ergonomic and added another 2 face buttons taking it to 4, which is still prevalent in most controllers. It also introduced the shoulder buttons to controllers for the first time. This controller is responsible for how controllers are today, but lots of others have now perfected what it introduced.

6) – Wiimote (with Motion Plus). I am clarifying the Motion Plus because I believe that this is what Nintendo intended to deliver from the outset. Whether it was a technical limitation or a cost limitation we can leave for others to debate, but this controller as got a lot of people who never played games to play them. Purely because it eliminates a lot of buttons and sticks and replaces them with motion tracked body movements. Granted some games don’t implement the controller as well as they could but there is no doubting the Wiimotes place in history.

5) – Xbox 360 Big Button Pad - this was Microsoft’s answer to the Buzzers for the Buzz games. In my opinion this controller is probably one of the most under utilized controllers in this generation. I know there are not so many games that can utilise it but it is a well designed and created controller that deserves its position in the Top Ten.

4) – Sony’s Dual Shock Controller has done some wonderful things for controllers on consoles. It introduced two analogue sticks to gaming and Sony believes if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it. Personally I think that this was a good controller that has set the basic template for the new generation of controllers. I do however think that they need to do something with the next generation of controllers to bring it up to date.

3) – The N64 controller was a weird looking controller to say the least. Most people who you gave it to would look at you and ask how to hold it. It made the analogue stick popular and although it wasn’t the most durable of controllers due to the sticks quality, but it was still a very good controller. You could hold it in different ways for different genres and add in a rumble pack for the rumble feature, or even a memory card, and it was a very solid and versatile controller.

2) – Xbox 360 Controllers are by far the best controller of this generation, they are the most comfortable controller and feature a very decent battery life. You can plug a wired headset into the controller for those without the wireless one. There is a chatpad attachment which is a mini keyboard, and whilst this unbalances the controller slightly it gives you the option to have a keyboard right there. Add in the fact they are durable as anything and have a great rumble feature and this controller was only just pipped at the post.

1) - Wavebird (Nintendo Gamecube)  - One of the first wireless controllers available that was any good. The difference being that it used RF (Radio Frequency) instead of the restrictive Infra Red. Yes you lost the rumble feature but it meant that you didn’t have to worry about pointing it at the console or worry about anyone walking through your cord and dragging your console crashing to the floor. It’s weight was perfect and it simply felt perfect in your hands - I regret ever selling mine.

There you have it dear readers, the gaming worlds 10 Greatest Controllers! Why not jump over to our community forum and let us know what some of you’re favourite controllers are?


Article By Michael Brennan