History Has Seen Some Weird-Ass Video Game Controllers

Illustration for article titled History Has Seen Some Weird-Ass Video Game Controllers

Here's an interesting look through video game history from Redditor and Imgur user zadoc, who posts a picture of every control pad he has in his extensive collection.

Advertisement

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK.

40 in total, from the 1972 Magnavox Odyssey (up there) - which looks like a piece of medical equipment doctors don't like to talk about anymore - through to far more familiar present day pads.

Advertisement

You can see the full gallery below, but there's a couple that really stood out for me, starting with this thing:

1988 - View-Master Interactive Vision Television System

Illustration for article titled History Has Seen Some Weird-Ass Video Game Controllers

For reference, here's the console this monstrosity went with. It couldn't be more 80s unless it started playing the Saved By The Bell theme tune on start up:

Illustration for article titled History Has Seen Some Weird-Ass Video Game Controllers
Advertisement

The View-Master Interactive Vision Television System actually used old VHS videos and plugged in through your video player, using simple graphics and an interchangeable soundtrack to give the player the illusion that they were controlling the video being watched.

1976 - Fairchild Channel F

Illustration for article titled History Has Seen Some Weird-Ass Video Game Controllers
Advertisement

The Fairchild Channel F's 'Jet-Stick' has a bit of a 70s sex toy vibe, but the console itself was pushed as an early competitor to the Atari 2600. According to zadoc, "the controller features 8-way directional movement and for actions; twist left, twist right, plunge, and pull up."

It's a good example of the early 70's basic, utilitarian approach to controllers. Most of the things from that period are clearly designed by engineers with a list of inputs they mapped out, often as practically and literally as possible.

Advertisement

Case in point: the 1979 Mattel Electronics Intellivision pad:

Illustration for article titled History Has Seen Some Weird-Ass Video Game Controllers
Advertisement

Doesn't that thing just scream 'fun?'

In fact, the relatively cuddly approachability of the classic Atari 2600 joystick almost seems like a fluke of early controller design:

Illustration for article titled History Has Seen Some Weird-Ass Video Game Controllers
Advertisement

It's not until nearly the late 80s that pads start to converge on a usable game playing format that we'd recognise today. Here's the full gallery so you can see that occasionally very oddly shaped journey.

Advertisement

Illustration for article titled History Has Seen Some Weird-Ass Video Game Controllers
Advertisement

This post originally appeared on Kotaku UK, bringing you original reporting, game culture and humour with a U from the British isles. Follow them on @Kotaku_UK.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Doesn't that thing just scream 'fun?'

I had one of these as a kid. Each game came with its own little plastic sheets that neatly laid over the number pad. For instance, the baseball game showed a baseball field and you would select the fielder you want to control or pass to by pressing his button on the pad. My point is, the game designers made an effort to give the player a much less sterile experience than the naked controller might indicate.