Debate of the Day: Controller Philosophy

I saw this image floating around this weekend which encapsulates the different controller philosophies of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. The follow-up question is always, “which do you think is the best?”

Personally, I have to go with the Xbox 360 controller, all fanboyism aside. It just feels the most natural in-hand. I’d say the N64 controller, but though I was used to it’s feel, it’s hard to deny that it wasn’t one of the most grossly inefficient controllers out there where the entire left third of it was useless.

What I DON’T understand are people saying that the Gamecube is their favorite, as the controller, for me, was one of the primary reasons I could never really get into the system. Everything felt cheap, from the buttons to the joysticks to the triggers, and I don’t get why this controller is so beloved.

Dualshock is an old standard, and it’s fine, but I wouldn’t be opposed to Sony taking a risk or two in the name of evolution. By far the worst selection on here is the original Xbox controller, which was about the size of the sun and weight about twice as much.

  • Nick S

    The Gamecube controller looks like the alien from Super 8 and is almost as lame. [Saw Super 8 last night… meh]

  • Blair

    I used to work in a video game store and we had the xbox, PS2 and Gamecube on display. Those things took some pretty heavy abuse and the only controllers we didn’t have to replace frequently was the Gamecube ones. They were practically indestructible. One literally had huge chunks worn out of it. You could see wires after a while, but it still worked. TBH I found them to be pretty comfortable for long periods of gaming. They were especially good for hammering in games like Mario Party and Smash Bros.

    I do like the current 360 controller though. Definitely the best of the current gen controllers.

  • Loki

    No question, the 360 wireless controller is the best. It just feels… right. I used to really like the PS2 controller, but now I dont even want to pick it up. The old SNES controller was fantastic at the time too.

  • Drester

    The Gamecube controller is by far the best Nintendo controller. If you compare it to the N64 controller you can’t say it feels cheap. The N64 one is much lighter and doesn’t really has an natural feel to it. But you’re right about the 360 controller. It just sits perfectly in my hands.

  • Andy

    I’d have to agree with the 360 controller being the best. It just feels perfect. Maybe not so much for fighting games, but that’s not really the crowd that the 360 caters to. However, for shooters, you’d be hard pressed to find a better controller.

    I used to like the ps2 controllers, but I don’t like what they did with the ps3 ones. I’ve used them at my friends’ houses, but I can’t get over how weird the triggers feel, and without rumble, the controller is practically weightless. It’s one of the main reasons that I hesitate to buy a ps3, even though there are a fair amount of exclusives that I’d love to try.

  • Stefanos

    Dualshock all the way. I am generally a playstation fan but aside from that i love dualshock! Maybe because it is the most used one for me or because i play with it since i was 5 on playstation but i love it. It gives me a feel like no other.

  • Dzuksi

    Love the gamecube controller, besides being incredible resisting, it also feels great in hands and its buttons have old school feeling of SNES with modern twist. My favorite.

  • I’d love a controller like the xbox360 one but with 6 buttons on the front, N64-style layout.

    I did like the Gamecube one. I think their excuse for the weird button layout was that they wanted games to be controller simply, with one button. Thus the one big green “main” button.

  • CrazyBlue

    Yes, the 360 controller is pretty damn great. But Nintendo got it pretty much spot on with the cube controller, I could use that for hours and not feel any cramp. Plus I’ve had that controller for over 8 years, it still works fine (also yes I still play cube games, some hold up well). Although I am part of the group who hates the playstation controllers. The stick positions make no sense, and I’m in agony after an hour of play…

  • Steve

    Xbox360 is BY FAR the best. So comfy. The game cube one fits very well in your hands too – I still use the wireless Wavebird one with my Wii when I can.

    Anyone remember the Sega DreamCast controller ??? It was comfy too and seemed to me to be an influence on the Xbox controllers. The first xbox controller was too large, but the S one was pretty good. The 360 one is an ergonomic wet dream. Sooooo comfy.

    The PS controller sucks. It feels like the orginal NES controller to me – not comfortable. I have both systems and if something comes out on either, I choose Xbox BECAUSE OF THE CONTROLLER!

  • Nick

    Mouse and Keyboard 🙂

    Either the official Dreamcast controller or the original (chunky) XBox contoller – they seemed to fit in my hands best.

    I’m not a fan of the LB/RB on the 360 controller – it feels weird taking a finger off the trigger whilst using different fingers for the trigger and the buttons feels even odder.

  • Henrique

    I think when it comes to comfort and what not sony were the masters at it. They developed a controll that you can grip and use more effectively.

  • SLZY

    I preferred the original Xbox controller over the ones made for tiny effeminate ballet boys.

  • Robbie

    I’d like to point out that the Xbox controller completely copied the Dreamcast controller. So that controller design has been around for god knows how long

  • Alaric

    Most of these controllers I’ve never had a problem using. The N64 controller was fine at it’s time but after using the GC one, it just felt big and awkward and the control stick was too stiff. Never had an original Xbox so I don’t know about the first controller for that one. As for the Wii, well the games on it have a lot of potential for being great fun but I have a problem with playing with a controller that causes me physical pain, so I don’t use it often.

  • DeAxiom

    This image is kinda sorta awesome. Duel shock got it pretty much right on the first try. the combination of D-Pad and analog stick opened up worlds of oppertunity for gaming. If you look the most favored controlers are either Duelshock, 360 controller, or the gamecube control. and they ALL have very similar models and layout. both the duelshock and 360 controler have the button layout. two clickable analog sticks, a d pad. an L1 + R1 and 2 buttons. really the only difference is on the 360 the d-pad and anolog stick are reversed and the shape of the handles are slighty different (at this point i’ll have to side that the 360 controller feels abit more erganomic where as the duelshock feels more stable in your hand)
    The gamecube fallows this format quite similary but what they do different and this is what i think sells most gamers on their controlers. is the button layout. not all the buttons are the same size. on the contrary they are different sizes and shapes. the primary buttons A and B are the only circular buttons. and even there A is signifigantly larger than B. A is the main button for every gamecube game generally speaking. A is the easiest button to hit, While be is often the secondary button its size is much smaller but is close enough to A that with the tip of your thumb, (without stretching to far) you can hit B just as easily when needed. Then theres X and Y these buttons were like the utility buttons for games. they were there for whatever extra was needed but never had to be in any game. they arnt circles at all. their this wierd ovals that curve around A. this shape actually allowed your thumb to glide off A and hit X or Y and glide back to A in one comfortable motion. this button layout made gaming by far the easiest and most comfortable

  • Crash

    I think we are forgetting that originally PS3 was going to have a different control until everyone threw a fit over how dumb they looked.

  • MBJ

    i still prefer the Gamecube controller ovr the Wii-mote. but then again, im only using my Wii for vintage gaming at this point, when i feel the urge to go old school. SNES and older games, i do use the ‘Classic Remote’ attachment for the Wii-mote. I have to agree though, that the XB360 controller fits naturally in hand. the PS1/2/3 controllers, are boring at this point, and as well, a bit off putting to try and use the left stick, as after a while, my thumb will begin to cramp. Thusly, i found a 3rd-party company who has made a PS3 controller that mimics the 360 controller very nicely and has a nice textured arms for extra grip. its called the ‘Pro Elite Wireless Controller for PS3’ by “Power A”

  • Sams

    Dreamcast, no competition.

  • Mike

    I loved the Gamecube Controller. I only played a handful of games on the system, but even at the time, I thought to myself, “Damn, this is a nice feeling controller.”

  • Best controller ever- the original SEGA Genesis (aka Mega Drive) controller 🙂 Big, simple, comfy 🙂 I am using this one all the time (it´s compatible with my Amiga 600, C64, Atari 2600 etc. 🙂

  • Lizzy

    I was waiting for this. Ahem.

    With some obvious flaming coming, I’d have to say that the PS controllers have been so BORING. Sure, they’re practical, but all they did was make the shoulder buttons kinda looser on the PS3 controllers. The banana (This name is funnier.) controller showed Sony is lousy at making new controllers.

    Now I loved the Xbox and 360 controllers, in fact, the 360 one is one of my favorites. It feels really weird just to hold onto an Original Xbox controller nowadays, but I can adapt. I remember having the use the Duke controller while my brother used to S controller despite me having smaller, female hands. Damn giant controllers.

    While I was surprised at the N64 controller’s design as a kid, I easily adapted. I loved the Gamecube controller (To answer your questions.) because it was both practical, and durable. I still got a functioning one from my first Gamecube, while the third party stuff was crap, I’ve never seen a Nintendo Gamecube controller cease to function. This one lasted longer than two of my brother’s PS3 ones. And let’s not forget the Gamecube controller started the wireless controller with the Wavebird. Now the Wii Remote, that was a treat (So much Sony tried to steal it’s idea. I won’t mention Microsoft.), getting a Wii for Christmas (Of 2007.), I was impressed with the fluid motion controls, and I prefer just using it for Brawl, but I love the Remote and Nunchuck combo with almost every other game. I love the unique look of it, and the NES controller skin I got for it kicks ass. Oh, and playing it with classic NES games is always fun. Nintendo controllers, since the NES days, have always been unique and game changing (By which I mean they did things other consoles at the time didn’t. The invented the thumb stick. And shoulder buttons. I’d explain more but I’m rambling.), which is why I always loved them.

    The Gamecube controller and Wii remote are my favorite controllers, the 360 one behind them.

  • I hated the gamecube controller, sucked for fighters.

    I loved the N64 remote so long as you didn’t need to use the digital pad.

  • Guy Incognitus

    Dualshock for me. I just like the symmetry it has over the 360 controller.

  • Drester

    @ Lizzy

    A girl who still likes playing NES games, loving it. Oh and there weren’t any Nintendo controllers before the NES days but that’s ok.

  • FNG

    the GC controller fits like a glove.

  • Don

    Gamecube controller all the way