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The Best Video Game Gamepad Controllers

By Julio Franco · 10 replies
Nov 22, 2016
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  1. There have been many different ways of playing video games on a console (and sometimes PC) over the years. Some have been better than others. How do you figure that out? For starters, I think you need to distance them from the console they were part of. The PlayStation’s original controller was not as sexy as the console’s marketing. And just because the NES is many people’s starting point with a lifetime of Nintendo fandom doesn’t mean its controller was as well-designed as Mario’s jump.

    In assessing these controllers on their own merits, then, I’ve taken a number of things into account. Comfort and durability are top of the list, but I’ve also examined how innovative they were. Not in gimmicky terms—the Wii’s motion controls seemed pioneering at the time, but how did that shake out?—but in more substantial ways, like overall design patterns that would be copied for generations of consoles to come.

    Finally, I’ve considered the controller’s place in time. No pad from the 80s or 90s is going to compare with a DualShock 4 or Xbox controller in terms of comfort or features, nor be suitable for the games we’re playing today, but that’s not the point: the point will be how well did a controller reflect the games and needs of a player at the time?

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  2. Jyrkz

    Jyrkz TS Enthusiast Posts: 37   +17

    For just this post I had to recover my password.
    BEST controller is and will be forever SNES
    avoidz likes this.
  3. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +317

    My favorite controller of all time: XBOX 360

    My favorite console Joystick: Playstation Dual Analog Flight Stick

    My favorite PC controller: Saitek X50 series

    My favorite music controller: iOn Rocker drumset

    Favorite lightgun: Time Crisis GUNCON with recoil slide.
  4. gamerk2

    gamerk2 TS Enthusiast Posts: 54   +36

    "but its compatibility with the PC did something that no other peripheral manufacturer had ever been able to do on the platform: usher in an era of controller universality."

    Technically, we can thank the XInput API for that, not the controller itself.
  5. Steve Hamner

    Steve Hamner TS Rookie

    Surprised you missed the really excellent Steam controller. While it does have a bit of a learning curve, the controller feels good in the hand and is infinitely customizable. My faithful Xbox 360 controller now sits on the shelf in favor of my Steam controller.
  6. batsdude

    batsdude TS Member Posts: 52   +16

    It's absolutely amazing that the Intellivision is completely forgotten by the (alleged) pc reviewers. It was pretty much the first expandable gaming system with gamepads that had full numeric touch pads, a plug in pc keyboard interface- which allowed the system to utilize up to 4 players, and tons of games, expandable ram and so much more! But, like everything Mattel ever made, they abandoned it before anyone had a chance to play with it. Great gaming sys, and if Mattel wasn't so ignorant, it could've made Atari, PS, and Sega seem second rate! Tunnel vision.
  7. Panda218

    Panda218 TS Evangelist Posts: 456   +213

    Amen Brother! The Steam controller is by far my favorite controller to use these days, but I do hope they release a new version with the new track pads used in the HTC Vive controllers. They are so much easier to click and have a softer feel.
  8. treeski

    treeski TS Evangelist Posts: 989   +231

    The Xbox One Elite controller is the best.
    hahahanoobs likes this.
  9. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 923   +283

    Wasn't XInput pretty much made in order for the 360 controller to work on the PC? If so, then the controller is also responsible since one probably wouldn't exist without the other.
  10. Reehahs

    Reehahs TS Guru Posts: 518   +278

    Honestly, the GameCube controller is hands down the best one on it. Each button is shaped differently which gives enough of a tactile feel to not look down at the controller. The way they are arranged is another bonus when it comes to hitting those awkward combos fast in a fighting game (Good luck hitting X + ▲ on PS and Y + A on Xbox). Haven't tried the Steam controller yet.
  11. J spot

    J spot TS Addict Posts: 126   +55

    Game Cube and PS4. I'm more of an XBOX fan, but I just don't like its controller. I remember really liking the Dreamcast, but now I don't like its size. The PS4 is more standard which mentally helps a lot, but the the Game Cube's big A button, with the B and X button right next to them can make some games feel really comfortable. It gives it a feel as if it was designed for the way your thumb moves side to side, and the big A button is really good for games where you have to repeatedly press a button lots of times.
    Reehahs likes this.

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