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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 gaming. 

Nintendo minds are credited for numerous industry-changing 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.

Controller:   Controller Detail   Image Gallery


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. 

The 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 functions. 

Featuring 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. 

Innovation 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 away. The 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 analog pad.

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 design." 

Rick G - Editor in Chief, GameCubicle


GameCubicle.com is an independent site and is in no way associated with Nintendo Co. Ltd. or NOA
Nintendo's official GameCube site can be found at http://www.nintendo.com

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