10 of the best quirky game controllers ever
Button bashing has assumed a number of guises over the years. Here’s a quick run down of some of our favourites...
Nubytech Chainsaw (2005)
Zombie-bashing epic Resident Evil 4 spawned this niche peripheral, a gore encrusted chainsaw inspired by “the chainsaw man”, a character who needs no further explanation. It even came in an elaborate diorama box modelled on a window from one of the game’s decrepit shacks.
Nintendo Zapper (1985)
The daddy of light guns, the NES Zapper’s ray blaster design managed to break federal firearms laws when it was released in the US, spurring a change in colour from grey to orange. Just in case its was mistaken for a real ray gun.
Sega Dreamcast Maracas (2000)
Move aside Dance Dance Revolution – boot up the Dreamcast, crank the samba up to 11 and shake your maracas like nobody’s keeping score. Such was the popularity of the accompanying Samba de Amigo game, it was revived for the Wii with the Wii-mote shakers.
Capcom Steel Battalion (2002)
Using an astonishing combination of twin joysticks, 40 buttons and a set of floor pedals, Steel Battalion’s control system was open to accusations of overkill. But if you wanted individual controls to operate the windscreen wipers or eject empty fuel tanks, this was how you lived that dream.
Nintendo Donkey Kong Bongos (2004)
The DK Bongos were the forerunner of Rock Band drums. They were pretty lo-fi, featuring mics under the plastic skins to detect whether your hands were picking out the “Konga” beat correctly. Admittedly, they found their way to the back of the cupboard pretty fast.
Atari Joyboard (1982)
A quarter of a century before overweight gamers were straddling a Wii Balance Board, Atari had its own primitive version. Lo-tech and sensor-free, it was a solid black baseboard with four joystick latches offering a limited spectrum of movement. Ski sim Mogul Madness was the only game ever released for it.
KISS AXE (2008)
Make up? Check. Hairspray? Check. Codpiece? This quarter-sized replica of Gene Simmons’ guitar jostles with over 2,500 other bits of Kiss-related merchandise, but it’s a million times cooler than the boring stock plastic axe that comes in the game pack.
CTA Digital Crossbow (2008)
Pompoms, boxing gloves, light sabres... but the list of Wii-ware wouldn’t be complete without this Wii-mote crossbow with its anachronistic built-in infrared laser scope. Chain mail clothing is optional.
Nintendo Scope (1992)
Hungry for batteries and with games that were – at best – average, the Scope wasn’t a big seller. But it looked like a space-age bazooka and had amazing accuracy for the time, so we wanted one anyway.
Sega Dreamcast Fishing Rod (1999)
Although fishing games didn’t net a big catch of gamers, the Sega Fishing Rod’s cleverly calibrated design gave the game a truly arcade feel with workings comparable to a real fishing rod. Shame it couldn’t make virtual angling fun.
[by Tommy Bassom]