The Best Video Game Control PadsLuke Plunkett8/24/16 1:26amFiled to: Controllerscontrol padsKotaku Core51222EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkImage: DanielThere have been many different ways of playing video games on a console (and sometimes PC) over the years. Some have been better than others.AdvertisementHow 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.AdvertisementI’ve also weighed those innovations against the rest of the controller’s qualities. The N64, for example, will forever be remembered for its introduction of a proper thumbstick, but there’s little else about that pad’s design that made a lasting impression.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?Basically, I think the best controllers are the ones that did a little bit of everything I just mentioned, and did them all very well. Able to innovate, endure years of punishment, be comfortable for the player and do everything the player needed to do in the console’s prime.SponsoredHere, then, are the best of them (note that they’re not ranked in order):Image: Evan AmosIt’s shoulder bumpers helped introduce the idea that not every button had to do something important, and opened up new options for the way we interacted with games that traditionally only let us press “A” or “B”. Its coloured buttons looked great (especially on the JP/PAL version, pictured, which copies the colours of the Super Famicom logo). And its soft, rounded corners created a timeless look that was a lot easier on gamer’s wrists and fingers than the NES controller. Image: Evan AmosIf the modern console controller had a family tree, its roots would be planted firmly on Sega’s final home console. From its bulky design to its thumbstick on the left, the Dreamcast’s controller laid out—as it did with so many other things—the foundations for Microsoft’s entry into the console space, and while its VMU gimmick never took off elsewhere, it was a fun and well-used novelty for the Dreamcast.