They are like long lost brothers. So similar, yet so different. Raised in a foreign country, speaking a foreign language, the Japanese Nintendo Famicom controller sure has a unique character to it. But is it better than it’s North American NES counterpart? In my opinion, yes. Here’s 6 reasons why (plus a bonus reason on why they suck).
1. Round corners
Seriously, my hands are finely tuned pieces of art – they can’t be compromised by jabby, sharp controllers. The rounded corners of the Famicom pad fit into the contours of my palm like a %100 all-beef frank into a Wonderbread bun.
2. Crazy color scheme
Burgundy and gold? I haven’t seen colour schemes that fly since Dennis Rodman’s hair. Gold fronts beat out that grey and black monotone get-up any day.
3. Built in microphone
Some might call this a gimmick, but just you wait. The next indie wonder band is going to emerge with a full album recorded through the microphone built in the player 2 Famicom controller. Pols Voice, I think they are called…
4. Lack of Start/Select on P2 – gives you control
Sure, in games like Contra and Life Force it’s called two player co-op. I think that’s more wishful thinking, because it is definitely uncooperative when player two pauses the game right when I’m mid air over a mega-canyon jump. It doesn’t matter how hard I try, I’m simply dead after the unpause. The Japanese understood that Player one has the authority – and thus only they have control over the Start and Select buttons. The way it should be.
5. Hard-wired cords
I love playing two player, but I honestly don’t have enough friends that can keep up. So when the P2 controller is not in use, it gets coiled up and tucked away. Unfortunately, the few times a year someone joins me for a round of Ikari Warriors, that controller is either nowhere to be found, or tangled up in some black spaghetti cord bullshit under the bed. Hard wire it to the system, and that bad boy ain’t going anywhere!
6. Controller holder slot on system
This builds upon the previous point of controller convenience; the Famicom has built in slots to hold the controllers when not in use. What more needs to be said? That’s the coolest thing in a video game system, and hasn’t been seen in a console ever since. Sure, the Colecovision had controller holders but… Colecovision was a lot less fun. Sorry, Coleco fans.
And a negative;
Japanese houses are small, for sure, but seriously. 18 inches worth of cord is a joke. You know how your mom always said “don’t sit so close to the TV!”? She would have straight kicked your ass if she saw you playing this thing. Unless you pull the system across the room towards you, your maximum range from the TV is microscopic at best.
What side would you pick? What’s your favourite controller?