This article is reprinted with the permission of Bitmob.com.
Since the advent of the NES gamepad, console controller design has stayed pretty static. Sure, buttons have proliferated, analog sticks have been added, and even a bit of waggle incorporated here and there, but the tried-and-true gamepad remains the de-facto means for making Mario jump, Nathan Drake shoot, or Sonic speed from point A to point B.
That doesn't mean the humble controller hasn't gone through crazy reimaginings or diabolical experiments in the quest to fashion the perfect device. While some of these iterations have been successful, there are a few rejects that either should not have been created or are useful for only one game.
The following controllers certainly fall into those latter categories.
Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller
Released with both the PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions of Resident Evil 4, this controller's design is both aesthetically badass and unappealing at the same time.
I'll be the first to say that I'm a fan of chainsaws in video games, whether I'm running from a zombie wielding two of them or slicing through said flesh-eater — or any other evildoer, for that matter — with my very own rumbling piece of death. But this controller brings none of that enjoyment to life. With its odd button placement and uncomfortable ergonomics, a gamer would certainly be better off just strapping a controller to an actual chainsaw.
(Remember kids, before you try that at home, Hard Hat Harry says to always wear safety goggles when operating heavy machinery.)
Rez Trance Vibrator
Just thinking about this controller makes me feel dirty. And looking up videos to see how it works made me feel even worse.
If you have to know anything about the game Rez, know that this psychedelic shooter is very dependent on the beat of the music. Destroying enemies enhances the game music and can leave a player with a sense of synesthesia as your hands begin to move involuntarily with the beat.
For guys who have gotten too involved in this electronica-fueled rail-shooter and left their significant others neglected — or for people who just really want to get into the groove of the game — the trance vibrator was created.
Plugged into the USB port, the vibrator emits powerful motions in rhythm with the game's music. While the player destroys more enemies and the game becomes more intense, so too do the vibrations of this peripheral, making for an interesting experience either for a "single player" or their partner.
While the creator of the game, Tetsuya Mizuguchi, has gone on record saying that it was never meant as a sexual aid, the numerous videos found around the Internet seem to disagree.
Death Crimson Custom Controller
First off, the good news (or bad news, depending on your point of view): This controller was never available to the general consumer. An artist who was in love with the game Death Crimson, considered to be one of the worst games for the Sega Saturn, created this controller in order to play it (Asian girl not included).
Filed under "Oh, another crazy thing from Japan," this giant winged insectoid/alien/demon creature has a full controller mounted on the back of it and is actually used by sitting or laying atop it (the controller is towards the head). While the controller itself looks…interesting, anyone sitting atop it will most likely look like a giant trying to ride Satan's tricycle.
Palm-Sized Dance Pads
Have you ever walked into an arcade, looked at the giant Dance Dance Revolution machines, and thought to yourself, "Man, that looks like so much fun! But I would jiggle like jelly in a T-shirt doing that!"
For those who have never touched the dance floor comes this nifty little invention: pads that sit in the palm of your hands and allow you to play any dance pad game with your thumbs instead of your two left feet. Your downstairs neighbors and your calves will thank you, but kids who go to the mall in order to make fun of everyone there will have one less tortured soul to make them feel better about themselves.
Dragon Quest Slime Controller
Released with Dragon Quest 8 for the PlayStation 2, this round controller seems like it would wear your hands out long before you completed the the game's 80-hour quest.
Like the chainsaw controller, comfort didn't seem to factor into the brainstorming sessions for this blue blob. It's huge and the button layout seems stretched far beyond what a regular hand would be able to reach without having to turn the controller. The only saving grace is that the game it was made for certainly doesn't require quick actions or simultaneous button presses.
Mark Whitney is a freelance games and technology journalist who is currently attempting to find his place in the industry. When he isn't contributing articles to Bitmob, he maintains a personal blog and portfolio over at Fine-Tuned Ink. Though writing is his passion and what he hopes to fill his days with, Mark is currently pursuing a Master's degree in English History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.