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4 Odd and Unusual Controllers From the Game Industry's Past


We don't think much about gaming controllers nowadays. Except for Nintendo's typically left field control options, the gaming industry has found a pretty good sweet spot when it comes to controllers. While some may complain that the 360's and PS3's controllers may have a bit too many buttons, the controllers do their jobs well and offer developers easy to map options.


Of course, it wasn't always like this. As the gaming industry itself grew, gaming controllers went through some growing pains, and some truly unusual controllers were made as a result. From the overly complicated, to the awkward, to the just plain odd, let's look at some of the weirdest controllers released for our consoles.



Atari 5200 Controller





Most people know what the iconic Atari controller looks like - it's just a joystick, with a red button in one of the corners. Simple, effective, and easy to wrap your hand around.


But, that's the Atari 2600 controller. The Atari 5200 controller, on the other hand, has some unusual design choices. First, there are now two of the red buttons... but they're on the side, which isn't the best choice considering the shape of the controller. Then there's the reset button; it seems like a cool addition, but having it near the pause button would mean a lot of accidental resets.


Then, there's the number pad. Why a number pad? It's so awkward and out of place... I can't even imagine what the purpose of it is. Oh, silly Atari 5200.



Nintendo 64 Controller





When people think of unusual Nintendo controllers, they are most likely going to think of the Wii Remote or the Wii U GamePad. While those certainly aren't the norm in today's gaming world, the Nintendo 64 controller was really something different in its time.


The N64 was one of the first consoles to support true 3D gaming; therefore, Nintendo had the task of trying to design something to help control these new games. Though the N64 controller may get the job done, it's still very cumbersome and awkward, especially by today's standards. The controller's physical design makes it almost impossible to use a third of it (you can't really use the D-Pad and the analog stick at the same time (though at least one game made use of that control scheme), and the C buttons are just plain odd. There's one thing that can said for the N64, though... it's easily recognizable!



Steel Battalion Controller




There's little doubt that you haven't heard of this monstrosity by now. The Xbox game Steel Battalion had an unique concept: You will feel as though you are truly in the cockpit of these hulking mechs. How? With this huge controller.


If anything, it really does emulate how piloting this sort of machine is like; you have to flip switches to turn your mech on, make sure to pilot correctly so you don't fall over, and so on. If your mech's about to blow, you have to get out quick with the eject button, too: If you don't, your save file will be erased and you'll have to start all over again! This is pilot simulation taken to the limit... and it's a limit that may or may not jive with a lot of gamers. The controller alone is enough to scare most people away!



Slime PS2 Controller




While the other controllers above are odd in a way that affect how you play in an awkward or bad way, but this controller isn't all that bad to use, despite its looks.


At first glance, this slime controller may simply look like a Dragon Quest statue, but lo and behold, it's actually a PlayStation 2 controller. Holding the slime as a controller may seem very cumbersome, but reportedly it's actually quite comfortable. It goes to show you that you can make a controller that's unique and still useable.



That's it for this spotlight of odd, unusual, and weird controllers. While nowadays we're used to the same offerings from companies for our controllers, there was, and probably always will be, that controller odd-ball.


What weird controllers do you remember trying out? Any more you think should make it on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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