"Out of Control": Chris Kohler's History of Wacky Controllers

Matt Barton's picture

Chris Kohler, author of Retrogaming Hacks and PowerUP, has a fantastic feature at 1-UP called Out of Control: The Craziest Game Controllers Ever. This article is definitely a must-visit for all retrogaming fans, particularly those with an interest in novel input devices. Where else are you going to read about Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, the Korean arcade fisting simulator? I thought I had seen some quirky controllers before, but Pom Poms? An accordion? There are also lots of comparisons here between Atari and Nintendo, as well as a look into modern arcades.

One interesting point Kohler makes is that the NES's standard controller did its job remarkably well, so there was no critical demand for a better one. This left manufacturers with a need to find more innovative control schemes--or, the search for a profitable gimmick--like Konami's "Laser Scope." I've never seen one of these things, much less played with one--and I don't think I'd want to...!

If you've still got some reading left in you after Kohler's piece, you might like Racketboy's Best Graphics on Dreamcast feature, which takes us through some of the better-looking Dreamcast games and what makes them so innovative.