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The Best Video Game Controllers of All Time

There are some great controllers out there, both old and new.

Feb 27, 2019

By: Max Cannon

If you're a fan of gaming then it's almost certain that you've spent some time with a controller in your hand. Each of the big companies has made some sort of substantial contribution to the world of controllers. Not every controller is created equally but there are plenty of fantastic ones out there. 

PlayStation's DualShock 1

I'll be honest, the PlayStation 4's DualShock 4 isn't my favorite controller out there but the history of the DualShock is important. The PS4 controller has that huge touchpad taking up a big chunk of space and I'd prefer the control sticks to be offset, just like the Xbox's. But, this is about the best controllers out there, so what makes the DualShock so special? The dual-analog sticks. It may be something that we take for granted in 2019, but way back in the 90s it was a massive game-changer to have two analog sticks on a controller. First person shooters, the cameras of 3D platformers, and more features have made excellent use of dual analog sticks. The feature is something that'll likely never go away anytime soon. 

PlayStation's DualShock didn't change much until the PlayStation 4.PlayStation's DualShock didn't change much until the PlayStation 4.Courtesy of PlayStation

Nintendo's Variety of Controllers

Going back even further than PlayStation's DualShock, Nintendo's NES was the first controller to have a directional pad -- mostly called a D-Pad. Then the SNES brought us shoulder buttons for the first time. We're going to skip over the confusing and uncomfortable Nintendo 64 controller, so that leaves us at one of the greatest controllers of all time: the GameCube Controller. This controller adopted PlayStation's dual analog sticks, some of the greatest clicky-triggers out there, and just a comfy to hold design. In fact, we still use this controller for Super Smash Bros even though it released back in 2001. Then there is the undeniable flexibility of the Wii Remote -- lovingly called the Wii-mote -- and since then we've seen the Nintendo Switch's Joy-Con controllers which take advantage of all of the lessons Nintendo has learned. 

The GameCube controller is one of Nintendo's most beloved controllers.The GameCube controller is one of Nintendo's most beloved controllers.Courtesy of Nintendo

Xbox's Standard and Adaptive Controllers

Xbox's standard controller perfectly nails what I want from a modern controller. The sticks aren't perfectly symmetrical like PlayStation's, it feels weighty and not too light, and those awesome Xbox One rumble triggers. While that may be MY favorite controller out there, it's not the best controller of all time -- that's Xbox's other controller, the Adaptive Controller. If you were watching the 2019 Super Bowl, you may remember a particularly heartwarming commercial from Microsoft, which you can see below.

Microsoft Super Bowl Commercial 2019: We All Win

The Xbox Adaptive Controller lets you customize your controller experience so gamers with disabilities can enjoy gaming in the same way as able-bodied gamers. Microsoft isn't keeping this device locked to the world of Xbox as well. At the moment you can use it on PC and, hopefully soon, you can use the Adaptive Controller on the PS4. It's easy for able-bodied players to take the controller for granted but a device that lets those less-fortunate play in the same way as us, that is undeniably the best controller of all time.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller helps more people to play games.The Xbox Adaptive Controller helps more people to play games.Courtesy of Xbox
Share Your Thoughts!

What is your favorite controller of all time? Which controllers have you used? Share your thoughts below!