A History of Nintendo’s Controllers

This is a pretty cool little animation showing how Nintendo controllers have evolved (or devolved, depending on your personal preference) over the years.

Nostalgia forces me to say that the N64 one has been my favorite, despite being the most obviously impractical with a third of the entire controller never actually being used. But to this day, it still fits like a glove when I pick it up for some Smash Bros.

I never understood people’s obsession with the Gamecube controller, as I hated the C-joystick-ish button, and the triggers felt cheap and detached. Obviously this was finished before the WiiU was announced, but as we can see, their controllers are about to take one more giant leap forward into craziness.

Check out another GIF below showing the evolution of the Playstation controller:

  • Andy

    I’m gonna go ahead and say that the SNES controller is the best. It was a nice transition without being overwhelming.

    It doesn’t hurt that it inspired all of the current gen controllers.

  • random

    i like them all, each one has its positives and negatives, the nes is simple but kind of awkward to hold (at least i find), the snes is comfortable but has some unnecessary buttons, the N64 like you said fits like a glove when i pick it up to play starfox or ocarina, the gamecube is really cofortable also but has to many unnecessary buttons, and the wii is easy to use but is motion control

  • aaron

    to be fair the original playstation controller had no analog stick

  • Paul S.

    WIN for the PS controller GIF. I agree on the N64 controller. No controller ever felt that weird at first and then felt that perfect once I mastered it.

  • Jim Lahey

    That PS gif is missing the dramatic grey-to-black change. That defined a generation right there!

    I would also say N64 is the best. I wish the joystick wasn’t set in that octagonal shape so you could have more precise control, but that did make super mario 64 ten times easier.

  • Steve

    Ugh, I wish I could find it, btu I saw this picture that showed the changes of all controllers over the years. With Playstation it said: If it aint broke, don’t fix it. And showed all the PS controllers. then for Xbox it said; A little change helps and shows the slight changes in xbox controllers over the years. Then for Nintendo it said something along the lines of: change is good. And showed all the different Nintendo controllers over the years.

  • Tora

    Ok, you got me, i stared at hte PS controller for about 20 seconds 😀

  • Nick D Pags

    The PS2 controller was perfect.
    Six axis and the new shoulder buttons are dildos.

  • Douglas Bubbletrousers

    I think they either designed the controls or the controller of the GameCube around the Tiger Woods series. That controller got me a 29 under par on the Coeur D’ Alene course!!!

  • Some Guy

    The joke would work better if the PlayStation image was actually a GIF and not a JPEG.

  • Gamecube controller was best. They realised that in every game there is one button you need to press all the time and several others that you need to reach quickly, sometimes at the same time.

    The buttons are close together so that it’s really easy to skip between the buttons and it’s nice and user friendly.

    If only there had been more decent Gamecube games to go with it.

  • Orion

    Not including the nunchuck makes the Wii controller look worse than it is. Paired with the nunchuck, the wii controller is a standard controller that fits like a glove and is not restricted by being held together… just tethered. It allows for the most casual gameplay of ANY controller… as long as the game you’re playing goes easy on using motion controls.

  • Lizzy

    Why “obsess” over Gamecube controllers? They were very durable, and started the wireless controller craze (Wavebird, look it up.). I must have four Xbox controllers that no longer work in my storage box, and three PS2 controllers, but all my Gamecube controllers still function like a dream. I have one from my first Gamecube (Circa 2003.) that still works today, only suffering a bit of joystick wobble.

    Now the third party controllers suck, but even my Mad Catz one survived getting stepped on by accident whereas my PS2 controller’s joysticks broke when I stepped on it by accident (I’m a light girl, the one who stepped on the Gamecube controller was a bigger friend of mine.). I’m not saying you can shoot at a Gamecube controller and it will live, I’m just saying it’s far more durable than any Xbox or PS2 controller I’ve ever used.

    “Cheap and detached”? I respectfully disagree. They felt firm and practical. The PS3 controllers (The evolution there is MESMERIZING by the way.), those things felt weird. The L and R…things felt like they were hanging on hinges. I for one can’t wait to see what innovations Nintendo has next for controllers (And who will copy them. PlayStation Move…what a joke.).

  • Rob

    .jpg on the last one, yu cant trickzor me !