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The PlayStation Controller You Never Got to Use

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Yesterday, we looked at the PlayStation controllers that Sony has released (or in the Boomerang's case seriously intended to release) to the public. Today, we're looking at one that never made it.


Before the PlayStation was released in 1994, development kits had to be sent to studios to ensure games would be ready for the console's launch. The first of these kits, codenamed MW.3, was so raw and incomplete that it lacked either sound hardware or a working CD drive (instead having to make do with a CD emulator).

It also shipped with this prototype control pad.

Looks a lot like a Super Nintendo control pad, doesn't it? That shouldn't be so surprising, given the fact Sony was once planning on partnering with Nintendo to release the PlayStation (if you don't know this story, we'll be covering it soon on Total Recall), but what is surprising is story of how this controller, and not Teiyu Goto's iconic design, nearly became standard issue for all PlayStation consoles.


David from the amazing PlayStation Museum was kind enough to contact us today to share these images of the "beta" controller, which rather than Gotu's forward-thinking design was instead rooted deeply in the past. Looking for all the world like an upside-down SNES controller, it also differs from the final design in that the L2 and R2 buttons are not shoulder buttons.

Instead, they appear as face buttons, the thinking clearly being that the games popular at the time - like Street Fighter - were what the pad should be based around, and not the 3D games the PlayStation would be capable of in the future.

Apparently, PlayStation boss Ken Kutaragi preferred this "beta" design to Gotu's effort, which he turned down, and it was only a direct order from Sony president Norio Ohga that saw the controller we know (and sometimes even love) today given the green light to be included with the PlayStation.

For more pics of early hardware like this, head over to the PlayStation Museum.

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.