Love it or hate it, the Nintendo 64 controller is an iconic part of gaming history. We know it for its goofy, weird shape, poor joystick, and introducing analog sticks to the home controller market. According to a Twitter user and gaming preservationist, he has found a prototype, giving us a rare look at one of the earlier renditions of the Nintendo 64 controller.
A prototype Ultra 64 controller thread…
It houses a thumbstick significantly different to the final retail version and first appeared in a black and white press release photo alongside the Ultra 64 (#Nintendo64) back in 1995. So let’s ‘crack’ it open and see what’s inside… pic.twitter.com/lj3PhSzOEQ
— Shane Battye (@shanebattye) September 21, 2019
Shane Battye has a long Twitter thread on chronicling his look at this controller, as you can see above. This controller features several differences from the retail version. The most obvious is the joystick, which is padded and beefier than what was actually released. The colors of the C Buttons and A and B buttons are different, but this might be just due to the controller being a prototype. The backside of this controller features a smaller, more oval-like Z button on the back, as well.
Another notable outside difference is the connector at the end of the cord, which is actually registered jack connector you might find at the end of a telephone cord. This is apparently due to the controller being meant for development purposes, but it’s still a curious inclusion to see. Battye looked at the inside of the controller as well and found that the motherboard is relatively similar to that of a retail Nintendo 64 controller, with the exception that the A and B buttons are in a reversed position. He also notes that the mounts share some slight differences.
It still seems to have the other notable features from the controller, including a slot for rumble packs, as is appropriate for a late prototype. Regardless, this look at what the Nintendo 64 controller could have been is an interesting dive into the history of the console.
If only this was the controller we got, if anything for the better joystick, which appears to fit the thumb much better. I was never a fan of the actual Nintendo 64 joystick since those circles on it seemed to dig into my thumb. I can’t say it would make up for the actual, lackluster shape of the controller, but it would have helped. Nintendo did learn from their mistakes and went on to create the GameCube controller afterward, though, and for that I’m thankful.
What do you think of this controller design? Do you like this version or the final release? Let us know in the comments below!