*Topher’s back folks, and he’s still talking vidja games. This time he’s running down his list of the five worst contollers to ever grave a gaming console! Kevin and I were talking about Destiny and the similarities and differences to the Halo series when we went off on a tangent. In the middle of a sentence, I was suddenly struck by the idea of the original Xbox controller, mainly, the memory of ill-fated small black and white buttons. This got me thinking. What is the worst controller ever made? Well, I’ve put some thought into it, and here is my list of the 5 worst controllers of all time. Starting in reverse order: NUMBER 5 The silver boomerangs, concept controller, PlayStation 3 Do you remember the internet blowing up when this photo of the PS 3 leaked? The PlayStation controller is about as perfect as you can get on a modern gaming system’s controller. So perfect in fact, that Sony has sued when it has been imitated. (This is probably the reason that the number 2 entry exist.) But, what was Sony thinking they changed perfection? On this design, reaching the L and R buttons would have been extremely difficult and you would be sliding off the circle button. I would have also expected it to come flying back to me when I threw it in frustration…..yeah, I’m that guy. This controller was never officially released. The design was changed back after the criticism surfaced. The controller was changed to the SixAxis design before the release of the PS3. Good call Sony.
NUMBER 4 DOL-003, Nintendo GameCube Honestly, I had a hard time deciding which I hated most: the GameCube controller or the N64 controller. I really didn’t like the N64 controller either because the stick was in the middle, but that is about its only problem, so I went with the GameCube controller. The initial design is alright. The controller fits in your hands, you can reach all the buttons, but I have three major problems with this layout.
- Why is the right stick smaller than the left? You use it less, yes, but when you do need to use it, I always left like my thumb was falling off. In fact, that happened quite often. This stick also wore out fairly quickly too. I remember lots of them being worn down and even more difficult to use once the controller was broken in.
- Why is the A-button so much bigger than the B button? You use both of them, yes, not equally, but you still need to be able to hit the other buttons. Why not make them all equal?
- The X button and Y button should not go around the A button. Going from X to B or B to Y is extremely challenging. The A button always inadvertently got pressed in the exchange.
I mean, kudos for pressing the envelop Nintendo, but this layout is lacking. Maybe next time, try keeping all the buttons the same size. NUMBER 3 Dreamcast Controller If Nintendo were pushing the envelope, this thing tore the envelope up and set it on fire. It is a bit too big for your hands, but the layout is ok; it is missing a stick to control your camera, but that aside, this thing was the grand pappy of basically many modern controllers. That massive port in the middle was for plugging fancy things into the controller to enhance the gaming experience. These things include: Jump Pack (fancy name for rumble pack), memory cards, visual memory cards, and microphones. The problem was all of these things were accessories. You had to find, and then buy them, to plug into the controller. Then you had the problem of breaking or losing said accessories. This lead to the way more common thing for DreamCast players to do which was for people to have none of the accessories, leaving a big hole in the middle of the controller. Or players would have a visual memory card that would throw up words that you would try to read during the game, get distracted, and then mess up. Not to mention that the visual memory card took 2 batteries to run, and would drain said batteries quickly making the VMU useless. DreamCast was unceremoniously discontinued when PlayStation 2 was released and the controller was laid to rest. Most of its parts were copied to make the number 2 controller on the list. NUMBER 2 The original Xbox “Fatty” controller Firstly, I really want to know if this thing was designed for giants. I know of two people that I gamed with that like using these. Both of these people could be considered giants, or at least half giants. A normal sized person couldn’t even get their hands around this thing. Add on the fact that the staggered placement of the sticks made you hold the thing at an even more awkward angle and the fact that you had to basically move your left hand over to hit the white and black buttons, there is no way that this cannot be considered one of the worst designs of all time. I gave the fat boy the fourth spot since Xbox did redesign their controller into the S-pad. The put the controller on a diet and exercise program, moved the black and white buttons to more reachable locations. They actually used this as the basis for the Xbox 360 controller which was a good idea. The downside is that for the Xbox they did charge 40 bucks a pop to fix their mistake. Not cool, Microsoft! NUMBER 1 The human body and Kinect, Xbox 360 I had such high hopes for Kinect, but every game is the same. That being said, I was fairly good at Kinect. I even help a top 100 score in the world for the javelin in Kinect Sports. There are several major problems with Kinect. The first is injury. Do you know how embarrassing it is to explain to someone that you twisted your ankle playing Kinect? The answer to that question is very. “Why are you limping?” said the cute girl from work. “Oh, I hurt my ankle running,” said the nerd trying to look cool. “Were you trail running?” inquired the girl that the nerd had a crush on for months. “No, it was hurdles,” said the nerd. “You still run hurdles? Where at?” the girl asked politely. With a sigh the nerd replied, “At home……on Kinect.” “Oh……” was the last word she ever spoke to the nerd. What happened, was I just flashbacking? Sorry….anyway, the game play is just frustrating. You never know what is going to happen. Every time you go to play, the game pauses sporadically, the game loses you and then forgets who you are, and overall, you just feel like you are flailing around wildly. You can never really plan out how the Kinect is going to register a movement. Sometimes if you make a slight movement to your right, your character goes flying off the side of the screen. Other times you jump to the left and your avatar stays put. And one of the other things that are overlooked are, who has their living room or game room set up with no coffee table or ottoman or some other piece of furniture in the way? You end up having to change your entire room around to play Kinect Sports or Harry Potter Kinect. Microsoft said they have made changes to the Kinect, but the fact that they sell the Xbox 1 without the Kinect now means that they have realized what fads things like Kinect and PlayStation Move were. Motion gaming never lived up to the hype mainly because the technology isn’t where it needs to be yet and the games that motion gaming needed to be fun were never developed. Well, there it is. Agree or disagree: let me know what you think on Twitter @Topher_Witt. Until next time, I will see you online. -Topher