Waypoint Weeklies: Favorite Controllers!

From the Xbox Elite Controller to the transparent MadCatz with a broken A-button, controllers are how we play the games we love. They can be customized - like accessible controllers with different inputs, or fight sticks with colourful inlays for your favourite fighting games. And they even can just be a mouse and keyboard.

This week, let’s discuss: what is your favourite video game controller? Which buttons feel the best to press? Are there any games you can only play with a particular controller?

The Wii U gamepad might be the best controller ever made just in terms of utility, but it lacks analog triggers which is not a huge deal, but it is relevant.

Anyways
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I am a simple man. I have never owned an Xbox, but I own an Xbox One controller, precisely because the first time I ever used one I felt like my hands had felt the face of God.

(That said, the PS5 controller is real fucking good and if more games take advantage of its wild haptic feedback stuff, it might end up leapfrogging it someday.)

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It’s the Gamecube controller folks. It doesn’t do anything particularly well and the layout makes no dang sense. And yet!

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I do think there is something to asymmetrical face buttons, like one action will usually have priority in a control scheme and putting it on a giant button is good and cool.

Also the analog triggers on the gamecube controller might be my favorite.

Those analogue sticks feel real bad though

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It’s the powerglove, obvs.

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I never owned a Gamecube and therefore never had the time to get properly comfortable with it, but there’s a lot about it that makes me go, “Hm, I can see that.”

Also, the Wii’s nunchuck was awesome, although the Wiimote itself kinda sucked for everything that didn’t involve pointing at the screen like a lightgun.

I am very basic but Microsoft set the standard with the revised Xbox controller and the pads have just got sturdier and a nicer heft to them as they’ve went. The Series X just feels smooth, everybody.

also the original Xbox controller is class. It’s so big that a certain ex president would likely struggle to hold it!

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I’ve never held one in my hands, but I think the 2600 joystick holds up, from a visual design standpoint at least


Elegant simplicity

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I always really liked the GameCube button layout, and wished that Nintendo would take another crack at it, though at this point the diamond of face-buttons seems fairly set in stone.

If we can include peripherals in the discussion, I want to give a shout-out to Harmonix’s Rock Band guitars, which not only look great but feel lovely to play on. I know some people prefer the Guitar Hero button style, but I like the flush appearance and feel of the RB guitar necks a bit better. The white Stratocaster they made for Rock Band 4 is particularly lovely; its too bad so few people played that game:

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As someone who loves a good controller, ain’t no way I’m just picking one, so:

Favorite Overall: Dualsense
Probably because I grew up a Playstation kid, but to this day I still prefer Playstation’s symmetric analog stick layout to Xbox’s offset layout. From an everyday-use standpoint, I feel like a standard Playstation controller can’t be beat, and because Sony manages to improve on that classic design with each iteration, the Dualsense gets the best overall controller award in my book. Also still holding out hope that more developers make good use of the new haptics and trigger (and speaker!) stuff :crossed_fingers:t4:

Favorite 3rd Party: Astro C40 TR
Love the overall feel of this controller, from the size to the weight, to the slightly rubbery(?) feeling exterior. However, the configurability of this controller is where it really shines. You can swap the position of analog sticks and dpad to go back and forth between the aforementioned symmetric/offset layouts, and you can switch out the sticks completely to fit your preference of shorter/taller and concave/convex ones. To top it off, there are also two remappable buttons on the undersides of the grips (can never have too many buttons in my book).

Favorite Peripheral: DJ Hero turntable controller
Looks cool, and once you get the hang of it, it’s sooooo satisfying to use. Enough said.

Favorite Design/Concept: Joy-cons
I love love love handhelds, so getting a switch was already a no-brainer for me. But once I saw that the sides were detachable controllers AND were able to be used wirelessly, I was in love. Being able to comfortably play laying in bed or under a blanket with my switch on top of me or on my nightstand is an all-time greatest-feeling gaming moment for me.

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This is always a weird discussion, because basically the more modern the controller the better it is. A Dual Sense is better than a Dual Shock 4 which is in turn better than a Dual Shock 3 and so forth. However, I do have a soft spot for the weird experimental designs, and none were better in that respect than the Dreamcast controller.

Look, that little fat batarang had its flaws. The cord coming out the bottom was a silly design choice, and the lack of a second analog stick was a huge oversight after Sony had refined the design years prior. But what the DC controller did right, it did really right. Moving the control stick to where one’s thumb naturally rested was inspired. The little nubs on the face buttons made it a cinch to identify buttons just by feel. The VMU and its tiny monochrome screen was a legitimately cool idea that was unfortunately buried under the Wii U’s failure. And of course the analog triggers, which single handedly revolutionized the racing genre in my eyes, while also being a quantum leap forward in just about any other genre.

But yeah, it’s not exactly a controller that will hold up today. However, the modern lineage of controllers owes a great deal to this weird little experiment.

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The Dreamcast controller will always have a special place in my heart. The lack of a second joystick hurts but I like the overall design of the controller. The triggers got a good spring to them, the button placement feels good, the dpad is find but is kind of mushy, and the joystick is meh but overal it just feels good in my hands. I hold a Dualshock and I feel like my hands are starting to cramp after 40 minutes.

I like the Xbox controller but I’m mostly using 8Bitdo’s M30 these days for playing older games

I kind of want an SN 30 Pro+ but I have nothing to justify it other then it looks good and has good reviews.

8Bitdo in general just seems to have been hitting it out of the park with their controllers and aren’t afraid to make unusual controllers. Look at this thing it has 2 dpads and apparently people swear by it having some of the best dpads you can get.

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my favorite is a mechanical keyboard. :V (but for real though)
i do like when i get to use a lot of the keys, but i also like being able to put a finger on almost every pertinent key at once.

however, there’s no substitute for a proper shoulder button for when you need to hold a button down, nor a pair of analog sticks for any kind of third person thing. for these, i like the gba sp and dualshock3 the most, respectively. the sp’s buttons have just the right resistance and that tiny bit of a click when you press them, and i like the dualshock3’s light weight and again the little bit of resistance on the analog sticks that they’ve somehow never lost, for all the time i spent using it.

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I am, as many others are, a big fan of the classic Gamecube controller. No port of Tales of Symphonia is worth playing without being able to flick that C-stick for the special moves. It has its flaws (the triggers), but it’s still GOAT.

I have an Xbox One controller for playing PC games, I think the theme is Gears of War? It was on sale, so IDK, but the home button is a gear so I’ll assume that’s GoW. But it has a really nice textured back that makes holding it feel fantastic. A bit too much resistance in the triggers, sometimes my fingers hurt if I’m playing a game that uses them a lot.

I do love a few limited designs, too. Peach Wiimote, those #aesthetic Animal Crossing joycons. The combination console/controller known as the Gameboy Color (I made the thread, I can define a controller however I like) was the first console my parents bought me, and they got a Pikachu-edition one. The power light is surrounded by a Pokeball, and it had my fave Pokemon (Togepi) on it, so I was enamoured with it.

Also, the best peripheral controller is obviously the Donkey Kongas.

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Tony Hawk, Spyro, and Crash Bandicoot are all PlayStation games to me because the muscle memory I have is for the PlayStation-style of controllers. The DualSense might be my favorite video game controller ever. Great combination of heft and size, the triggers are bonkers, and I’m not put off by the stick placement because I’ve been playing that way since the dawn of time.

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My favorite controller is probably the Switch Pro Controller. It’s comparable with the already near perfect Xbox One controller in shape, heft and build quality, but it has the added bonus of having the A button in the correct position! It works really well on PC as well, and has been my primary controller since the left stick on my Xbox One Elite got this weird bouncing back problem that makes most games unplayable.

I’m seeing a lot of love for the Dualsense in this thread, and I have to say I agree. I don’t have a PS5, but I was in the market for a new PS3 controller after my old one’s stick broke. Turns out it works perfectly on the almost 15 year old console, and has the added benefit of not causing an RSI flareup every time. It’s probably the best a Playstation controller has ever felt to hold.

@Wazanator I have an SN30Pro+, and it’s really great! The D pad is the closest anyone has ever gotten to the one on the OG SNES, which is GoaT as far as I’m concerned. I use it mostly for older 2-D games that were created with a D pad in mind. The sticks and triggers are great too, but the bumpers are hard to press repeatedly because they’re so shallow. If Dark Souls hadn’t made R1 the primary button for all third person games then it would be my go to controller.

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My current favorite controller is the PoweredA Wired Controller for Xbox One. Specifically this one . I don’t love wireless controllers for my PC. For one, I don’t want to deal with charging a whole bunch and I have always had difficulty with Bluetooth connectivity. Someone may hop in here and tell me the Xbox controller isn’t Bluetooth which would shatter me. Doesn’t matter though at this point. Trying to connect a USB to a normal controller is always a crapshoot. I used to use a Duelshock 4 but chord kept wiggling out. Not very useful. This controller feels good, of course, and Xbox going matte makes it a whole lot easier for me to feel like my hands aren’t slipping and sliding on a greasy boy.

My favorite all-time controller is the first Duelshock 3 I bought for the PS3. It was blue and beautiful.

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the ps2 controller. I feel like I’d have the same problem in theory with the gamecube controller that i felt with the og xbox. size and perception of distance. love the compact layout of the ps2

The current Xbox controller has Bluetooth but also has a proprietary wireless connection capability to a USB Xbox adapter. I bought one a few years ago for like $20 and going wireless has been a breeze. But hey, if wired connections work for you it’s not like it’s a huge improvement. Here’s a link if you’re interested:

https://www.xbox.com/en-CA/accessories/adapters/wireless-adapter-windows

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