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My love affair with video games began with the Commodore 64. It was something akin to Jo Frost (dour and domestic) rather than Pamela Anderson (svelte and sexy). Yet, like Jo, it was reliable, simple and efficient. One can hardly be confused as to what to do with a three-inch long joystick and two spherical buttons (get your mind out of the gutter).

Since then, gaming has come a long way and the more console designers try to innovate, the more likely they are to cock things up. Take the Nintendo 64 controller for example – what was that? The batarang’s underdeveloped Siamese twin?

And the placement of the joystick? I’m going to coin a word for it – counterergonomic. See what you did, Nintendo? You made me create a rubbish word.  

Thankfully, gaming has moved on. And we’ve had beauties from the Xbox duo, the PlayStation series and even the Wii controllers (just about… the world hasn’t forgiven you yet, Nintendo).

But if I had to choose my favourite of all time, it might have to be the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) controller. For me, it embodies all the best qualities of a good controller:

– Simplicity
– Functionality
– Durability

Of course, the simplicity of the controller owes a lot to the simplicity of the games of its time – but why should that count against it? Without including the directional pad, it has just six buttons (minus Start and Select) that are useful in-game.

But with those six buttons and the directional pad, you can do a whole lot. In Killer Instinct or Street Fighter II turbo, for example, you can execute such a vast array of moves for such a large collection of characters that your brain can hardly fit them all. The same is true of other games.

And durability… well, if only you knew how many times I threw that thing across the room in anger. As flimsy as it felt and as banged up as it got, it never gave out completely.

So, based on these criteria, I’ve rated my top five controllers of all time. I’m aware I haven’t covered all the consoles ever created but, alas, I must away to a real woman now (I wish). Here’s my list:

– Xbox 360
– PlayStation 3
– Nintendo Wii
– Sega Dreamcast

Do you agree? If not, make your own list in the comments section.

  1. I would have to agree with Daniel and say the GameCube. For all the things the N64 controller mucked up, the GameCube controller was just so right.

  2. Fair choice, gents. As long as it’s not the ghastly hellspawn that is the N64 controller.

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