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The WatchmanThe Watchman Owner
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Top 10 Worst Controllers

3. ColecoVision Controller

I know there’s no use in being too hard on older systems, and this is aimed less at the ColecoVision specifically than the several similarly designed controllers.  The ColecoVision was probably the most visible of these early efforts, but other adopters of the design included Mattel’s Intellivsion and the Atari 5200.

ColecoVision Controller

Perhaps these antiques were never constructed all that well.  Maybe 30 years has had an impact on their performance.  All I know is how awful it is trying to play a game with these ancient creations.  Despite the large keypads, these extra buttons are rarely used.  On the ColecoVision in particular, there are a couple of buttons on the side used for performing most actions.

ColecoVision Controller

The joystick, while functional, is somewhat unresponsive.  I’ve had the (dis)pleasure of owning several ColecoVision controllers and each of them presents the same difficulty with regards to movement.  Nothing appears to be amiss with the mechanics inside the controller, so I’ve chalked it up to poor design.  At times I’ve had more success manually pressing the exposed contacts in the controller rather than depending on the movements of the joystick.  There’s zero precision.  Half of what contributes to the amazing difficulty of these older games is the inability to properly control one’s character.

Another glaring inadequacy is the unfamiliar shape of these has-beens.  It’s awkward stabilizing the bulk of the (unused) controller with the left hand and grasping the joystick with the right hand.  Maybe for the folks a little older who grew up accustomed to this type of grip is doesn’t feel so foreign, but I can’t get into it nor do I have the inclination to condition myself.

Intellivision Controller

Intellivision Controller

Atari 5200 Controller

Atari 5200 Controller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by The Cubist

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