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Posted on Jul 25th 2008 at 08:40:44 PM by (Marriott_Guy)
Posted under The RFG Pulse, Atari, Nintendo, SNK, Mattel

Best Digital Controller

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A video game or console can be great, but without the right input device who really cares?  Playing a bit off of Tan's article on the Saitek Cyborg 3D Gold USB, The RFG Pulse wants your opinion on the Best Digital Controller.  But first a little history might be in order.

Digital controller technology was the primary method utilized until about the mid 1990's.  To put it simply, this was basically an On-Off technology: push a button, directional button or joystick and a single response was transmitted to the console to execute an action.  The amount of pressure applied was not a factor, as it is in today's analog controllers.

When considering your vote, take into account innovation, control, feel, overall performance and usability.  There were many, many more digital controllers released who did not make the list that you see in this poll.  The most notable missing is the 'pistol' controller for the Bally Professional Arcade - a truly sensitive and responsive controller for its time, but not considered a mainstream system by most gamers.

There are some heavy weights in this poll.  Who will win?  Vote and add a comment to state your case!

Atari 2600 - Joystick

Simple, elegant and easy to use.  A true classic.

Mattel Intellivision

Innovative at the time, allowing complex user input.  The 'circle' pad allowed quick directional input.

Nintendo NES

The introduction of the first gamepad.  The D-Pad exists to this day in our modern controllers.

Sega Genesis

Excellent design and fits like a comfortable pair of shoes.

Nintendo SNES

Slightly small, dog bone design, but introduced us to the 'shoulder' buttons still utilized today.


The mother of all controllers.  This true arcade stick was / is a classic with excellent control.

Comments are always welcomed!  Let's hear from you!

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Though the others are truly outstanding, my vote is for the Sega Genesis controller.  Easy to use and just felt 'right' to me for some reason. 
I'm going with the SNES controller simply for it's comfort factor as well as it's array of well placed buttons.
The NES controller has a great look to it, but the corners get so uncomfortable after a few hours.
Having grown up on Nintendo system, when I first got my hands around a Genesis controller a couple years ago, I was disappointed. First with the short cord and then the large buttons arranged funnily.
The Atari's joystick is alright, but I prefer a D-pad. The first time I used one, I tried holding it like a modern controller with my thumb on top of the joystick, that didn't work out too well though.
I haven't used much of the Intellivision controller and never touched the AES controller.
Out of the ones on this list, I've tried NES, SNES, and Genesis (3 and 6 button variants).

The NES controller is great but blocky.  The SNES controller feels good at first, but after a while the d-pad starts to really hurt your thumb and the whole thing starts to feel uncomfortable.
I'm gonna have to vote for the Genesis, because it just seems to fit best in my hands and I can play for literally hours without a problem.
Intellivison for the overlays!
The closest thing to a genuine arcade experience in your living room, is having a couple arcade cabinets in all there loud, flashy glory. Next to that is having two of those tanks they built for the AES on your coffee table. Next to that is the Genesis pad, it feels like it flows under your hands, very natural.
Out of those choices my favorite is the Intellivision.
I voted the NES, because it is the dicotemy of a classic controller. It is a perfect example of a great piece of technolegy that WORKS! Smiley
SNES Controller, the Best Controller to Date.
I gotta go with the NES controller hands down. Its very simple, and to me comfortable, and even more comfortable with the Dogbone variation.
NES by far--SNES is just it's retarded rocket engineer in-law.
Aside from the Intellivision and the Neo Geo, I have used all of the above controls.
My vote..... Genesis. I have put more hours into using one of these controls than any other, and never a blister.

It has a natural feel, and its 6 button counterpart is unmatched for fighters, so much so Capcom released those knockoff Saturn controls for the PS2 even. The cross pad of the SNES and NES are a little too unforgiving for my vote, but were still great controls.
NES.  I love its responsiveNES  Tongue

That was clever. Smiley

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