What’s your favorite Nintendo controller? Every Nintendo Pad classified

What's your favorite Nintendo controller?  Every Nintendo Pad classified

Image: Nintendo Life

Nintendo has always been one to push the boat out with its hardware designs, and that’s no longer the case with its controllers. Yes, the NES and SNES ones were pretty conventional by today’s standards (although they were remarkably innovative at the time) but in later years, the Big N’s controllers had us waving blocks above our heads, hitting big kidney-shaped keys , attaching and detaching buttoned bolts and even figuring out how exactly these should be played with just two hands.

Our point is that there’s a lot to choose from when it comes to finding the best Nintendo controller out there. There are so many different options, in fact and so many differing opinions that trying to find “the best” somehow seems like an impossible task.

With that in mind, we at Nintendo Life Towers have come together to vote on which controller is ours favorite. Featuring a list of every standard controller in the company’s history (including “Pro” variants for newer consoles with non-industry standard default controllers, but excluding the weird and unique models we discussed earlier here), each of us voted for our top five, with our favorite getting five points, second favorite getting four, and so on.

The following is the result of our team poll, and if you disagree with our picks, there’s a poll at the bottom of the page where you can have your say.

We’ll reach for our number one pick, but let’s start with the controllers that didn’t get love (at least in the form of a vote) from Team NL…

10. NES (101), Virtual Boy, Wii Classic Controller

Right at the bottom of the pack, this trio has received a huge zero point by the Nintendo Life team and therefore are reunited last.

The NES 101 model was originally released in 1993 and was based on emulating the look and feel of the new SNES system. The two-tone gray and red colorway isn’t all that pleasant to look at, and while the dog bone shape would work on the later four-button Nintendo controller, it just looks out of place when only options A and B are available. To be fair, we’re not sure anyone on the team has ever actually used one of these.

It’s no wonder the Virtual Boy controller sits at the bottom of the pile. Will this console one day get a rose-colored renaissance in the form of “The Virtual Boy Is Nintendo’s Most Underrated Console”? We doubt it. That Wario Land game was great, though!

As for the Wii Classic controller, it’s the one that most people forget. Not to be confused with the Classic Controller Pro (more on that later), this oval design was made for Virtual Console gaming, but with the analog sticks closing together, our hands cramp at the thought of playing with this for a couple of hours.

9. Wii Pro Classic Controller

Wii classic controller pro
Image: Nintendo

Jumping ahead by just one spot (hey, that’s an improvement, we guess) is the Wii Classic Controller Pro.

Released in 2009, this pointy update was designed to be much more like a GameCube model than the SNES-like design that preceded it. It might not live up to the kind of innovation we’ve seen elsewhere for the Wii, but it was definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to comfort.

8. Wii U Game Pads

Wii U GamePad
Image: Damien McFerran / Nintendo Life

Really innovative, really big.

The Wii U GamePad only received three points from us. While the touchscreen controller has brought a lot of fun to some games like Nintendo Land, the clunky design and latest lack of software that put it to good use meant it was always likely to appear at the bottom of this list.

Yes, it paved the way for one of Nintendo’s best-selling consoles of all time, but in terms of actual controller design, this wasn’t going to top anyone’s list, as comforting as that is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *