There have been a lot of amazing controllers over the years. Each have their merits. Each have their drawbacks. But which is the best? We ran a mini-version of this as a poll on our Facebook page. The community decided that the PS4 was the better controller. But I’m not sure I agree.
I’m afraid that this list focuses on official console controllers. Mostly because I don’t game on a PC with a controller, and avoid non-official hardware. But also because there are so many independent controller manufacturers that this list would be never ending. BUT if you have a favorite non-official, or PC based, controller – let me know in the comments below!
The Wii’s controller and nunchuck were pretty revolutionary at the time. It set the tone for most motion controlled gaming experiences (including PlayStation Move). They worked really well, and they still feel pretty special in your hand – even 10 years after the console’s release. But, for all their sleek curves and motion sensing prowess, they’re still not my number one controller set.
For me, the simplest and most elegant controller is the SNES’s. It’s sleek, it’s small, and it does the job. It also excites a sense of nostalgia in me – mostly because of it’s minimal 90s design, plus the fact that it was one of the first consoles I gamed on. Even its silhouette is recognisable. But it isn’t the best, in my opinion.
PlayStation One (original DualShock)
The original DualShock controller, with its analogue sticks, was the bomb. Having a vibrating controller in your hand might seem like the statusquo now, but in the late 90s it was pretty unique. Having that extra sensory component to your gaming experience was awesome, and the DualShock raised the bar for subsequent controllers. But it’s not the greatest… not quite.
The PS4’s controller is awesome. It’s sturdy, it has its own internal rechargeable battery, and it even has a cool light. The lights are two fold, in fact. Firstly, it helps you to differentiate between the players for local multiplayer. Secondly, they work with PlayStation VR for tracking whilst playing VR games. It’s probably one of the best designed and manufactured controllers currently out there – this coming from a guy who owns an Xbox One! Buuuut. It’s not the best.
The Dreamcast, remember that? It wasn’t the most successful of consoles, but by golly was the controller weird. It was massive, had a random screen in the middle and looked a lot like an alien spaceship. Or something off Star Trek. That being said, it was bloody unique. And for that, it makes the list. But it’s far from the greatest.
Here we are. The one. The only. The Xbox 360 controller. In my opinion the Xbox 360 controller was, and still is, the best controller ever made. It felt sturdy (much like the PS4’s). It was a decent size; not too big, not too small. The analogue sticks were responsive, and I loved the fact that they weren’t directly next to each other. Plus the D-Pad was well utilised, other than ‘just there’. And, by the end of it all, there were some awesome official designs available (as highlighted above!).
So, for me, the Xbox 360’s controller was the best. To be honest, it wasn’t even a close call. I would put the Xbox One’s controller on here, and maybe even the Kinect. But the One’s controller feels a little flimsy – almost a step back from the 360’s. And the Kinect, despite being initially impressed, has been a monumental pain in the arse (both generations). But I’m sure you’ll have a different opinion. So let me know in the comments below!