Frankencontroller: The Perfect Pad

I considered trading down my DS Lite for a DS Phat because I preferred the clicky buttons of the latter. I refuse to play fighting games with a 360 pad (and only tolerate doing so with a PlayStation controller). I spent hours fiddling with bluetooth options and buggy amateur programs just so I could play Super Meat Boy on my MacBook with a Wii remote.

Controllers matter to me. A lot.

Though some are preferable to others, no controller is quite perfect. But that's only because nobody asked ME how to design the perfect controller! Instead of waiting around to be contacted by some very smart hardware developer, I figured I might as well lay out a near-perfect pad by stealing the best bits and buttons from controllers past.

I give you the elements of The Frankencontroller.


Gamecube HandleGamecube frame
No two-handed electronic device is as comfortable as a Wavebird. Those big, toy-like handles may look absolutely bonkers, but wrapping your fingers around those silver grips is like getting to second base with Aphrodite.

n64 ButtonsN64 face buttons
How did the six face button concept not take off? Six is more than four! Well, we're certainly paying for it now that Street Fighter is the new Madden. Six attack commands with only four face buttons? You might as well be playing with a rotary dial.



360 Shoulder360 shoulder triggers
Close call here between PS3 and 360, but the 360's analog trigger is in JUST the right spot, more on the rear of the controller than the top.Snes Dpad

SNES D-pad
The twenty year old SNES pad set several standards that controllers would follow even today, but the one thing that didn't get stolen is the one that should have: that big, gorgeous directional pad.



Gamecube AnalogGamecube control stick
Control sticks aren't as differentiated as D-pads, so it's the little differences that really matter. The Gamecube's concentric circles fingerprint and octagonal railing just edge it over the 360 pad's depressed fingerprint and circular rail.

ps3 StartPS3 start/select
You don't press them very often, but the rubbery, cloud-soft feel of the PS3's Start and Select buttons make every pause a pleasure to remember.


360 Home360 Home button
There's something warm and fuzzy about that glowing green circle under your thumb when you power on your 360 in a dark living room. As it blinks, it seems to say, "Hey pal, it's 3am and the world is asleep, but I'll be here for you. Always."360 Jack

360's headset jack
Why don't more controllers have their own power outlets for peripherals? The 360's controller-wired headset is an excellent, cheap way to trash talk without being tethered to the system itself. Now they just need to make a toaster oven attachment and I'm set.


Vita TouchpadPS Vita's rear touch pad
Obviously I don't have any hands-on experience with the Vita's unorthodox touch pad on the back of the device, but I've always wondered how a player could get all of his fingers in on the action with a regular controller. So yeah, throw that thing on there, Dream Controller Engineers.Atari Dial



Atari dial
Dials are cool. What? They are! Okay jerk, go play Pong with a dial, then try playing with a control stick. Did you do that yet? Yes? Okay good, I'm glad you agree that sticking a big dial right at the center of a modern controller is a great idea.



And there you have them: all the features that need to go into the next great controller. To help the engineers out, I've used some advanced Photoshop techniques to create a concept render.


Gaze upon perfection.

Did I miss anything? Should we strap a keyboard and mouse on there somewhere? Is there a gamepad that really hits the spot for you? Let's talk controllers.