Video game controllers come in all shapes and sizes, are sometimes built with specific tasks in mind, and can feature a whole array of buttons and features, or be just a simple joystick. The controller is integral to the gaming experience; it is how we communicate with our device, how we speak to the character that we control on the other side of the screen. What the game can and cannot do is largely up to the specifications of the controller. Want to move in a 3D space? Well, it’s going to need an analog stick. Motion control? A gyroscope will come in handy. Immersion? A rumble feature and a speaker can do wonders.
Comfort is also a big deal when it comes to gaming controllers. Often, players will want to hold on to the piece for long periods of time, hours on end, thus weight and ergonomics are major factors. The Xbox’s infamous “duke” controller was durable, had plenty of buttons, but its heft tired out the arms after a lengthy session, and the space between buttons made it difficult to comfortably press them at times, especially in the heat of a firefight in Halo. The Dreamcast had a lightweight controller that was still large enough to provide comfort, but it had so few buttons compared to its competition at the time.
Features are a huge boon to the enjoyment of a controller, as it can enhance virtually all games on the platform. The Wii U pad comes to mind; not only did it include a screen that could display a map, the inventory, or sometimes even the entire game, but it had a camera, a microphone, a speaker, you name it, it was there. But again, the size of the controller wasn’t ideal for a lot of people, making it heavy and often unwieldy.
My mother would say that simplicity makes for the best gaming experience. No matter how great the PS2 or Xbox 360 controllers feel to the hand, they require experience, and have so many buttons that it can confuse those that didn’t grow up with a controller in hand. The NES pad was the perfect fit for her: two face buttons, start, select, and the ingenious D-pad. It was revolutionary, and could offer intense gaming that anyone could play.
What say you? What’s been the best gaming controller that you have ever used? Is it the iconic Gamecube, with its unique button layout? Perhaps it’s the Dualshock and its dual analog joysticks, complete with rumble technology? Maybe the Wii’s groundbreaking motion technology won over your heart, or you still bask in the glory of the glorious six button Sega Genesis controller? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear what you have to say!
Source of header image: Wallpaper Cave
Source of Wii U image: Nintendo Life