Personal Epiphany: N64 Controller Trained Us For The Wii Controller

While this may have been noticed or even pointed out by others in the past, I noticed an interesting thing about the design of the N64 controller.  I was discussing the usability of game controllers with a friend of mine (which started with the best ones to use with the PC).  We moved from Xbox to PS3, then someone brought up the GameCube controller.  After that, another friend jokingly said N64.

That got me thinking about how that controller was held.  Most of the time, I found myself using the joystick the most, so I held the center piece.  Then the way it fit in my hand reminded me of the Wii.


The Wiimote, primarily the Nunchuk, emulates the N64 controller.

The Nunchuk controller emulates the left hand control of the N64 pretty closely.  Even the Z button’s placement is in the same general location compared to the joystick.  While the right hand control is a bit different, there are still two buttons, including the A and B buttons, controlled by the right and, as well as directional buttons (Wii’s D-pad versus the N64 C buttons).  While the advent of motion control was mold-breaking, the placement of buttons changes only slightly now that the ergonomically sound methods have been thought of.  For many people that have been playing games for a long time, moving a character with the left hand has become second nature (unless you’ve learned using the southpaw controls, which still uses the same concept).  People that have used southpaw controls likely never played very many games on the N64 or earlier systems that do not have the dual joysticks.

The N64 controller seen here essentially plays the same as the Wii controller, especially with the left hand control.

The N64 controller seen here essentially plays the same as the Wii controller, especially with the left hand control.



The rear profile of the N64 controller clearly shows a similar outline on the middle part to the Nunchuk on the Wii controller.

The epiphany came as I tried to argue why getting Grand Theft Auto V for the PC is a great idea for those with systems that can handle it, and an Xbox controller and receiver. The mods that have been made available for Grand Theft Auto IV extend the gameplay greatly, including a mod I recently saw footage of, allowing players to play as a police officer, complete with different outfits, cars, skins, and features that allow roadblock placement, pulling people over, ticketing, calling for backup and tow trucks, as well as paramedics, etc.

I regret not getting most games for PC, and I don’t plan to make the same mistake in the future, but the use of controllers have always been the selling point for me.  Some prefer the PS3 controller, and thus will likely get the game for that console, but now that I can use the actual Xbox controller on the PC, any moddable game available for PC will take precedence over console games.

(Sorry for the seemingly off-topic rant, it seemed relevant since it’s the root of the epiphany)

Evidently the folks at Dorkly noticed this too, a while back…

There is 1 comment

Add yours
  1. TPoppaPuff

    Well that’s patently wrong. It’s actually the exact opposite. Those that only recently grew up on shooters play default because they don’t know any better. The Nintendo 64 trained everyone who used it to play southpaw. If you wanted to aim in Goldeneye or Perfect Dark, you aimed with the left stick. The Turok series? Southpaw 100%.

    Nope, I’m afraid it is default, aka scrub sticks, aka nub stubs, that are the controls for the young and inexperienced. 😉

Comments are closed.