Mobile games on smartphones and tablets are all the rage these
days, but a touch screen is no replacement for the bond between
a man (or woman) and a game controller. I�m Donald Bell and in
this CNET Top 5 we�re paying respect to the all-time greatest
console game controllers.
Starting off at #5. The Atari 2600 joystick. A classic. This guy had
its limitations, and it looked like it was carved from a piece of
Darth Vader. But because absolutely anybody could use it, this
controller ushered in the first wave of mainstream console
gaming. In many ways, mobile games have brought us back to
Atari�s one-button philosophy.
At #4, the Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller.
Sure, the original NES controller is more iconic, but it was the
SNES that got us used to the four-button design used on all
major consoles today. More importantly, it introduced the idea of
shoulder buttons, opening up a whole new vocabulary of button
combinations and giving �90s youth a way to play Street Fighter
II from the comfort of home.
Number 3 is a bit controversial. The CNET UK piece I originally
based this list on gave the #3 slot to the Nintendo 64 controller.
But our CNET gaming experts Dan Ackerman, Scott Stein, and
Jeff Bakalar threatened to stop talking to me if I didn�t give this
one to the Sega Dreamcast. This design laid the groundwork for
the Xbox 360 and it had a unique expansion port that could be
used with a tiny screen for extra content. I was way ahead of its
time, and that�s why it�s on the list.
At #2 -- and this was a hard choice -- the PlayStation DualShock
in all its forms. Here was the first controller to include built-in
Haptic feedback built-in. It debuted in 1997, and Sony is still
essentially using the same design today. It ranks right up there
with the Walkman in Sony�s legacy of industrial design.
Before we get to our #1 pick, let�s take a minute to acknowledge
some of the worst game controllers ever made. There was the
boulder Atari made for the Jaguar and the Intellivision thing that
looked like a phone. But the most worthless controller, and one
of the most heartless scams perpetrated on the children of the
�80s was the Nintendo Power Glove. It looked so cool, but it was
so, so bad.
And now, the #1 game controller, confirmed by popular vote over
on Top5.CNET.com, is the Xbox 360 Controller.
Now, unlike Sony, Microsoft had to go through a few revisions
before they nailed it. They delivered built-in wireless control a
year before the PlayStation. And because Xbox has carried so
many blockbuster games, this thing just feels like the
embodiment of a great gaming experience.
If you want to participate in future Top 5 polls, you can subscribe
to my updates on Facebook or just make it a habit to check back
at Top5.CNET.com. I�m Donald Bell, thanks for watching.