This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
We asked you to write about controllers. You delivered. We are so excited that you took our call out and ran with it. The articles were informative, entertaining, and numerous. They ranged from future speculation to our favorites (and not-so-favorite) controllers of yesteryear. We saw everything from personal histories to eulogies. Despite the controller-less future promised by video game developers, it's safe to say that the Bitmob community loves their gamepads.
Everyone who participated can be found below in our round-up. If you wrote more than one article, we went with our favorite, but all articles were great!
Why did we want to hear about controllers? Juan Letona put the spirit of the call out into perspective:
"If I am the controller, what do I get to throw when I lose?" (Read his full article here).
Let's see what the rest of the community had to say:
The future of controllers
"Motion control is becoming entrenched as a necessary part in the future of gaming for all platforms but are developers are aiming much higher than what we may be thinking? I’m not just talking about 1:1 control to movement in games but with the addition of 3D visuals there is a strong chance that we may be on the cusp of Virtual Reality in home entertainment." — Nick Berger. Read the full article here.
"The idea of using the human body to elicit responses from a machine is not new, as seen with the Wii in this system generation and in systems past. As of right now, Project Natal seems like nothing more than a glorified EyeToy, or a Wii without the Wii Remotes. If there is already loads of shovelware for the Wii now, will that also be the fate of Natal?" — Cassandra Brabon. Read the full article here.
The modern era
"Both the PS3 and [Xbox] 360 might have analog sticks that function well enough that the average gamer should be able to slog it through most games. However, to this gamer there is a clear victor when the two are put side by side… When it comes to systems I may be agnostic, but when it comes to analog sticks I worship at the alter of the 360." — Frank Anderson. Read the full article here.
The MadCatz FightPad
"The FightPad doesn’t leave my fingers in bruises after a long session. My finger doesn’t slip off the FightPad’s d-pad during critical moments. The 360 controller was designed for everything except fighting games, and with the FightPad I don't feel like I'm trying to play golf with a baseball bat." — Chris Hoadley. Read the full article here.
The Filco Tactile Click Keyboard
"The Filco keyboards, along with a few others, use mechanical switch keys. There’s a separate metal switch underneath every single key; tech specs claim that you’ll get around a dozen million keystrokes out of every key, about four to five times that of a typical rubber dome board. They’re also designed to register with very little pressure, alleviating any strain on your fingers and almost gently sending your fingers off to the next key with a little extra spring." — Jonathan Ore. Read the full article here.
The recent past
5 crazy controllers
"That doesn't mean the humble controller hasn't gone through crazy reimaginings or diabolical experiments in the quest to fashion the perfect device. While some of these iterations have been successful, there are a few rejects that either should not have been created or are useful for only one game." — Mark T. Whitney. Read the full article here.
"Technology may have killed you my friend, but nobody has forgotten your love of having fun. The Wiimote can never replace you, no matter what piece of plastic we place it in. Let us not remember Lightgun in death, but how he lived. You will be missed, friend, you will be missed." — Alex R. Cronk-Young. Read the full article here.
The Xbox Controller
"This monstrosity of a controller also spawned several nicknames. It was called the ‘Fatty’, the ‘Alarm Clock’, but was most commonly referred to as the ‘Duke’, and that is how I refer to it today. To use this controller with any comfort for long periods of time you had to be sporting some good-sized meat hooks, so I was ok in that department." — Patrick Bonk. Read the full article here.
Back in the Day
The Microsoft Sidewinder
"The Sidewinder was an awkward controller, mainly because of the fact that no games truly supported the controller, with my childhood self having to manually assign keys to buttons on the controller, and then going completely mad because the game had crashed, losing all my precious controller maps in the process. If you can imagine a 7 year old attempting to tell a computer to make the 'A' button the jump button, you have half of my experiences with the controller, the other half being actually using the blasted thing to play games." — Ben Maltz-Jones. Read the full article here.
The Sega Saturn Gamepad
"You don't need anything else. Eight buttons and a good d-pad. Built for a 2-D sprite-based gaming. So what if 2-D games weren't going to be the norm within even a year of the Saturn's launch? The controller is still fantastic for them. Capcom and MadCatz blatantly based the Street Fighter IV branded fight pads on the Saturn controller. Incontrovertible proof that even 15 years after the Saturn launched the design hasn't been surpassed for 2-D gaming." — Michael Wade. Read the full article here.
The Nintendo 64 Controller
"The overall design of the N64 controllers was, let's face, absolute garbage. The thing had three grips and twenty different ways to hold it, but none of them were very comfortable. It worked, but it was cumbersome." — Chris Cosmo Ross. Read the full article here.
The Neo Geo Joystick
"I realize that every home console at the time had an arcade-style joystick available as a separate purchase, but it speaks volumes toSNK ’s objectives with the Neo Geo that the standard controller was a giant joystick. This was a case where size does matter; much like the games, the Neo Geo joystick was designed to make the competition’s equipment look flimsy and child-like." — Daniel Feit. Read the full article here
The Arcade Joystick
"The six-button layout and bat or lollipop-shaped joysticks were mashed and jostled constantly from the opening to closing of the arcade. The buttons were responsive, and the stick reacted as fast as the hand that twirled it, or so it seemed. Players would make due with broken parts, which were rarely considered a handicap; if you couldn't move in a certain direction of use a certain move, it was your fault, though it didn't stop many a player from whining. The controllers were always perfect, and failing to use them effectively, flaws or not, was considered user error." — Suriel Vazquez. Read the full article here.
The Hudson Joycard (NES)
"I had a milk crate full of controllers. I had the Max and Advantage which were the first party controllers and they were good, but my favorite controller was a Famicom clone made by Hudson. This controller helped me battle my way through all of the classics, and Track and Field 2" — Michael Mancuso. Read the full article here.
The NES Max
"The Max was a marvel of late-80s engineering. Ahead of its time in design (note that the shape is similar to the Xbox S-type controller or everyday Xbox 360 pad, though much smaller), the Max allowed the user to cradle the controller calmly in his or her child-sized hands." — Bryan G. Schultheiss. Read the full article here.
"If you were to do some kind of audio Rorschach test on me and you said “video game controller” the first thing to pop into my mind…would be a man. More specifically a name, Gunpei Yokoi, which my 10 year old mind pronounced as “Gunpy Yoky”. Gunpei, as I later found out, was the inventor of the d-pad. It seems strange to think that the d-pad needed inventing. It seems like a discovery, the fire of video games." — Travis Johnson. Read the full article here.
And a big thank you to Brian Taylor. You didn't see a quote from him, but we used his photography throughout this article. For his full gallery of controllers, click here.
Great job everyone!
Missed out on the fun? Want to have another go at a community call out? It just so happens that we're looking for articles about anticipated games scheduled for release in 2010. Check it out and start writing!