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Over the years, controllers have advanced in both comfort and functionality. The original NES controller, for example, was a pointy rectangle with two main buttons, two secondary buttons, and a D-Pad. The next iteration of Nintendo's home console, the SNES, featured a controller with much easier to hold curves, complete with four main face buttons, two top mounted buttons, and the same two secondary buttons as the NES.
As time went on, more and more features and shapes were added, such the analog stick and rumble/vibration support. Controllers like the Nintendo 64's are now seen as unwieldy, with a more basic shape now the norm. A controller will usually have a center unit, with the D-Pad on the left, and main face buttons on the right. Shoulder and trigger buttons are commonplace. Secondary buttons can be positioned almost anywhere, but are usually closer to the middle. Analog sticks are usually positioned near the D-Pad and/or the face buttons.
Though a basic controller shape has taken form, there is nothing that says that this shape will continue to be the norm; and as the Wii shows, risks will be taken.
First party controller images
Other types of controllers
- Keyboard - an array of keys (ex: QWERTY layout)
- Joystick - a multiaxis lever, Directional pad or analog stick controller with side buttons for action.
- Paddle - a rotary dial controller with an action button aside.
- Dance Pad - a floor pad to stomp on. Popularized by Dance Dance Revolution.
- Mouse - a pointing device that moves a cursor, and also used to accommodate First person shooter games.
- Touch screen - a screen used for touching virtual objects with; popularized by the Nintendo DS.
- Steering Wheel - A device used for racing games.