Over the years people have been blessed with some rather innovative control methods for playing video games. The Game-Modo guys look through their box of game controllers and share with you the best of the bunch.
Richard Dixon’s Choice Is:
What would favourite gaming controller write up would it be if someone did not select the SNES game pad? This is the pad that changed the way I played games forever. The original NES controller was elegant yet simplistic. It also became uncomfortable to hold after log periods of time if you had big hands.
Nintendo decided to turn the video game controller into something more and with their next system the SNES they wanted something that would ultimately shape all modern video game controllers after it. They created in my humble opinion the best controller ever conceived by human hands, the SNES game pad.
So what makes this now relic controller so fundamentally fantastic? Well lets start with the four button layout that is now on all modern game controllers. The four coloured buttons opened up a whole new world for developers to add cool new power ups and more sophisticated gameplay mechanics. The D pad had also had some magic treatment and felt less stiff than the NES pad. Although, I still think the Genesis/Mega Drive had a better D pad. One thing that really set aside the SNES game pad as a controller that must never be forgotten is its shoulder buttons, as these bad boys made Star Fox one hell of a game and added some great control schemes to other games.
As mentioned above the SNES game pad shaped the video game controller market forever and its design has been mirrored on most gaming controllers after it.
Paul Tunnicliffe’s Choice Is:
Xbox 360 Controller
The original Xbox pad wasn’t the system’s big selling point. It did its job, but its buttons were oddly placed and sized, and the pads size in general was too big. For the 360, Microsoft didn’t lazily re-release a tweaked version of the original, they took the template and improved all of the originals flaws.
The 360 pad is my choice for the best control pad ever designed. Not overloaded with gimmicky controls, the pad does exactly what is needed. Nicely sized with a simple lay out, the pad is perfect for pretty much any type of game. If I had to choose one type of game that perhaps isn’t suited it would be 2D beat em ups, with the d-pad being not quite up to scratch for the complex pad movements needed for fireballs and charge moves. It’s still a better d-pad than the PS1/2/3 pad.
The twin sticks are comfortable to use and the shoulder buttons are curved nicely to stop fingers slipping off. The weight of the pad is pitched just right, the rumble works brilliantly, peripherals such as the 360 headset compliment it well, and using the right power packs mean having to charge the pad isn’t a chore. Its near to being the perfect pad. Microsoft just need to sort out that d pad!
Travis Blair’s Choice Is:
Six Button Genesis/Mega Drive Controller
The six-button Sega Genesis controller is my favorite controller. But I never even owned a Sega Genesis! I had a Super Nintendo, during those days when your system was the best and your friend’s was lousy. Being open-minded, I enjoyed playing the Genesis at my friend’s place without judgment, and got to use the the six-button controller for the fighting games we had a lot of fun playing (which sometimes resulted in actual punching).
Street Fighter II: Championship Edition features six-button controls. You grab the six-button controller, and all of a sudden, fighting games on a console is so much better. Using a shoulder button for a heavy attack just bothers me, even to this day. Eternal Champions was another game I really enjoyed, which took advantage of this controller. I had fun with 2D fighting games during this time, and this was the controller for me.
Six buttons, which consisted of A/B/C and X/Y/Z, a start button (no pointless select button!) and an excellent cross. It came housed in a comfortable shape for a controller, which as an entire package, just felt right. Something else to note: the buttons are all lined up with your thumb. Not four in a diamond, or offset in some way. Even today, I’d like this controller to work on all systems as a replacement to the clicking of analog sticks and varying degrees of shoulder button depression that comes with today’s Chinese finger trap controllers.
If I could rub a pixelated lamp, and get three gaming wishes, one would be to have this as a standard controller that works with all consoles from now on, for those times I just want to use a simple controller for simpler games, or for kids just getting into gaming. I’d just also wish it had buttons 1-6, as I never did like X-Z for button names. Why not A/B/C on the top, and D/E/F on the bottom? Maybe someone out there has a reason for this, like something to do with an axis. But I digress, as it’s already getting more complicated than I like for my entertainment. Just give me six face buttons, for those light/medium/heavy attacks, and I’m good to go.
Brad Langford’s Choice Is:
The Hori Fight Stick
Few genres of games ever get their own type of controller, in fact I can only really think of the Steering Wheel, the Flight Stick (Ace Combat 6), and the Steel Battalion Controller on Xbox 1 which has around 40 buttons and is an absolute beast. My favourite controller specific device has to be the Hori Fight Stick for good old classic beat-em-ups. I have been a fan of the Street Fighter series since
being a young boy and thrashing it out on my SNES pads was just as painful as a newbie guitar player creating calluses. I could never get those killer moves where it was necessary to rock the thumb back,
towards, around 6 times, the same in reverse and push button A. How..?!! It just isn’t possible. Well my friends, let me introduce the Hori Fight Stick. Available in a more than one version. The budget type, and the hardcore money to burn, arcade replica. Each a personal choice as they do the same job.
At first I wasn’t convinced that these fancy bricks of metal could in no way be better than a trusty control pad. I’m used to a pad; I’ve been using them for years. In fact when I get old and develop arthritis I’m convinced my hands will curve round like an ape from years (collectively) of gaming. Well, if there’s one thing the Hori Fight Stick will let you do, with some considerable ease (and this is what sells it for me) is the killer moves..! Euphoria my beat-em-up buddies..! In the latest, and probably the greatest, versions of Street Fighter on current consoles I studied the combination of required moves for some of the most technical combinations of button pressing and control wiggling that is more than NASA put in the astronaut training manual and WHAPPA! I can pull it off..! Not just once but time and again. Years of torment and frustration finally put to rest.
Sealing away those demons is why the Hori Fight Stick is the greatest controller ever made. It’s just a shame I’m still pretty crap at Street Fighter.
Chris Wray’s Choice Is:
Keyboard and Mouse
The obvious choice for best method of controlling a game is the Mouse & Keyboard. Lets talk about the negatives first, a mouse and keyboard aren’t very portable unless you are using a laptop, and even then you are stuck in front of the screen. The console alternatives allow you to sit reasonably far away from the system, sit on the sofa and just relax. It’s all very simple.
The fact that the console alternatives are so simple is also the reason why the Mouse and Keyboard are superior. The mouse allows for a much more accurate aiming in shooters, selection in games such as strategies, RPG’s or any game that requires you to select from more than a handful of options. At the same time the Keyboard is where things really shine. For practically every single PC game you have the options of binding other things to keys, and considering the number of different choices you have, what with using ctrl+[key], shift+[key] or alt+[key], you are never going to run out. This simply means that no game will ever have more options than you can bind to a quick one or two key presses, allowing for quicker and smoother gameplay or just simply allowing for less location specific choices. For example, on a console you may have to use X to use a world-object and also to jump (I’m sure some game has done it) which means that when you are wanting to use something directly in front of you, you’re jumping instead.
Simply put, it’s the number of options available to you, as well as the vastly superior accuracy, speed in selection and the ease of selection that makes the Mouse and Keyboard the way to go for practically any game. If they were more portable then the console controllers would be a thing of the past!
Steven Then’s Choice Is:
Jason Long’s Choice Is:
Nintendo WaveBird Controller
Oh how I loved the Metroid Prime and Star Wars Rogue Squadron II: Rogue Leader. Oh how awful that GameCube controller was. It never felt natural to me, like I was holding the wrong tool for the job, it felt cheap and didn’t fit my hands very well at all. Then I saw the WaveBird. It’s wireless, sure I’ll buy it I thought. Little did I know as soon as I held it, the GameCube transformed into an amazing machine that I didn’t want to ever put down.
The size was a perfect fit, the weight felt just right, and did I mention it was wireless? While not the first wireless controller made, it was the first controller to use the 2.4 GHz frequency. You could also debate that with the combination of the GameCube design of offset analog sticks, face button and D-pad positions, an extra shoulder button, and wireless capability that it was the inspiration for the Xbox controller and other modern standards as well.
A little bulky for younger users maybe, but everything felt natural and responsive. Mine was hidden on top of my hutch so nobody else would find it and use it. Suckers.
So now you know what the Game-Modo guys class as their favourite gaming controllers, what is your favourite gaming controller and why?