Nintendo 64 Controller
The Nintendo 64 Controller is the original gamepad for the Nintendo 64. The video game controller was created by Nintendo by R&D3, and released on 1996-06-23 along with the release of the console. It features a unique M shape with an analog joystick, a 4-directional D-pad, two primary facing buttons labeled B and A, four secondary facing buttons arranged in a diamond, a start button, two shoulder buttons labeled L and R, and a trigger button labeled Z. There is also a slot in the back which can hold a cartridge (rumble pack, memory card, etc.) The controller has some roots in the SNES Controller, but the unique shape was designed around the analog joystick which hadn't seen popularity in the home video game market since the early 1980s. Nintendo sold the controller in a variety of colors.
I didn't buy a Nintendo 64 when it was popular, but two of my close friends did, so I had a decent amount of experience with the controller. I initially found its shape comical, but my friend Kevin said it fits your hand like a glove, and, after only a few seconds of playing, I found the ergonomics of it to be very well designed. I now own a standard gray controller and a transparent green controller.
- The shape of the controller fits your hands very well for those games which expect it to be held like the Super Mario 64 style.
- Having a cartridge slot allowed for extensibility, and the Rumble Pak was a pioneer in haptic feedback for home consoles.
- 3D games really do need analog input, so Nintendo was wise to switch to an analog joystick for the 3D platform.
- I like that they sold a variety of different colors.
- The controller isn't very useful for traditional style games which expect the use of the D-pad. And, despite the console being fully 3D so it should have expected this, the controller is pretty awful for first-person shooters.
- The ledges at the top of the analog nub, added for better grip, dig into your skin after awhile, especially in games which expect you you swirl it around rapidly.
- Putting the memory card and RAM expansion in the controller was a bad idea. They should have used the console instead. Also, making the Rumble Pak need batteries instead of the controllers on-board power was a terrible oversight.
- Seeing the controller in hotels as part of LodgeNet was a trip.