At the center of any interactive gaming experience is a controller.
It's the point where physical reality and the imaginary connect.
Nintendo has long been an innovative mind in controller design.
Throughout the years, a company by the name of Nintendo has been
credited time and again for creating hardware and software
innovations that forever changed the course of home console
Nintendo minds are credited for
controller inventions and innovations. In 1981, Gunpei Yokoi created
the D-Pad that allowed for a single finger to maintain all
directional controls. The format was later copied by every gaming
company on earth. In 1990, Masayuki Uemara
brought the concept of "shoulder buttons" to gaming with
the launch of Super Nintendo. Whether it was the Robotic
Operating Buddy, Zapper, Power Pad, U-Force, Power Glove, Analogue
Stick, or Rumble Pak, Nintendo has made a name for itself as the
undisputed leader of console hardware innovation.
Work on GameCube's controller began in 1997. In the time since its
original design, the controller received quite a number of private and
then public revisions. In one roundtable press event, Miyamoto -
whose been with Nintendo since 1977 - acknowledged that the GameCube
controller was the "one on which I spent the longest time on
designing." Nintendo's controller development staff sought to
develop a controller for gamers of all ages that excelled in
simplicity, functionality, and comfort. Nintendo succeeded.
GameCube controller was unveiled on August 24th of 2000, the
day before Nintendo's Space World show in Japan. On this day Project
Dolphin became "GAMECUBE" and the world got its first
glimpse of the system, controller, peripherals, and actual game
video. A short while into the system's spectacular unveiling,
Shigeru Miyamoto came on stage to display the intricacies of the
GameCube's controller. With a Wavebird in hand, Miyamoto guided
viewers through an onscreen demonstration of the controller's
analog as well as digital controls, four action buttons on the
face, the innovative camera stick, an eight-way digital directional
pad, a z-trigger, two fully analog
shoulder buttons with digital clicks,
the final controller is a model of form and function. Internal
rumble technology makes the physical "feedback" between
game and gamer a standard on the GameCube.
is the name of the game with GameCube's controller. A unique face
button layout includes the oversized A button, standard B button,
and curved X and Y buttons. The layout eliminates the need for a
gamer to ever glance at the controller by offering a
"home" button with the others just a roll of the thumb
pressure sensitive analog shoulder triggers include a "digital click," which
creates the functionality of four buttons in two - a revolution in
gaming controls. The triggers are also a focal point of controller comfort. Anyone who has held the
controller will attest that the the triggers feel almost like wet
clay in the way they form to your fingers.
Another control enhancement is the camera stick, which allows for
in-game camera control while doubling as a secondary
At the end of the cord lay yet another innovation in controller
design from Nintendo. The Wavebird controller will be the first wireless controller to
be made standard by a first party manufacturer. The controller's title lends
itself to GameCube's original "Dolphin" project name. The
controller's RF signal will be reliable for up to ten meters - an
impressive benchmark in wireless controllers. Somewhat
bulkier next to the standard controller, the Wavebird requires batteries
to function. Nintendo has implemented a "quick" auto-sleep
function to conserve power.
Reaction from the gaming community to Nintendo's achievement in
controller design has
been very positive. Author of The First Quarter, and a contributing editor for numerous publications, Steven Kent
wrote, "GameCube has a truly revolutionary controller."
Journalist Matt Casamassina of IGN.com considers it his "favorite
controller of any current or next-generation consoles." Among
game designers, Charles Cecil of European development firm
Revolution praised Nintendo, stating that "the controller is a triumph of
Rick G - Editor in