The Great Controllers Of Our Time: A Debate

Part 6, with no end yet in sight

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6]

Mad Paddy O'Semtex: NES Advantage

Ok, we all hate it when Oberon gets an attack of nostalgia, but geeks will be geeks. Just because I like arguing with him, I have the uber-joystick for you: The Nintendo Entertainment System's NES Advantage.

Made by Nintendo themselves for those keen gamers after a home arcade, this thing just oozed quality. Built to a kind of standard that just doesn't exist these days, the beautiful big shiny red buttons are just gorgeous and scream to be pushed, the stick is such a sleek, beautiful thing it belongs on a Ferrari, and seriously thick quality plastic made for a sleek and sexy yet 80s type futuristic look. The metal base and rubber feet kept it good and steady and gave it such a weight the build quality smacks you in the face. The indestructible Mega Drive pad felt like something a 14 year old makes on a vacuum former compared to this.

Oh, but it wasn't just looks.

This thing had the best, I mean the best resistance on buttons and stick I have ever used. Featuring all the usual buttons, A, B, start, select and slow-mo, plus a player select slider (it took up both sockets on the NES) and… Independent variable turbo! That's right! Not only could you adjust the turbo speed of the buttons, but you could set each button independently! How cool is that?!

This thing was, and is to this day, a joy to use. It felt like you had your own little arcade, only better. The stick gave such slick, smooth control, ideal for any arcade-style experience, and the independent variable turbo was the perfect partner to the game genie, making any game even more fun or just hysterically easy at your discretion. Skywalking across the top of Super Mario 3 levels because I had nothing better to do on Sunday afternoons was about as good as my life got back in '94.

 

Oberon: Sega Master System controller

I love my little nostalgia trips. They let me pretend it's still 1990, sitting in front of a TV with my very first games console, watching in awe as the sprites move at a blistering 50 frames a second.

This controller may seem rather puny compared to some of the others we've been through, but this thing was indestructible.You still see them cropping up at car boot sales,still fullyfunctional and just as good as when new. The pad, for all its rectangular shape, is remarkably comfortable. The D-pad is responsive - but then again, what else did you expect from Sega? - and despite having only two buttons, they were more than sufficient for the Master System.

Who actually USED the NES' Start and Select buttons, anyway? Anyone? Anyone at all?

Thought not.

We're talking about a good, solid controller that won't let you down as you're in the middle of a game - whether you're retrieving theChaos Emeralds with Sonic, playing a frenzied bout of doubles Super Tennis with a friend, punching monsters in Alex Kidd, or just settling down to a nice civilized game of Chess. The Master System's controller did all this, and in my 7-odd years of ownership I continued to use the original two controllers I got with my console to the very day the machine died on me. (I haven't gotten over it yet)

Because this controller was based around the same 9-pin connection that Atari used, guess what? It was compatible with the Atari 2600, too. Try playing Centipede with your NES Advantage, George. I dare you.

The Master System was always superior to the NES anyway. More colours equals more fun. Nyah nyah.