History of Game Controllers
History of Game Controllers
For decades now, people have sat in front of their televisions and computer screens getting lost in the games that have graced their gaming consoles. The consoles and the PC might be the heart of what allows these games to run, but it tends to be the controllers with which we end up connecting. After all, whether you are using a PS4 controller, a Nintendo controller, or a mobile phone controller, this is what you use to interact with the game. It’s what moves your character, controls your weapons, and more.
Over the years, the controllers have grown and evolved substantially. Today, they can do more than they have ever been able to do, and new innovations are being made to everything from PS4 controllers to controllers for VR. Let’s take a look back to the beginning to see just how far things have come. We are going to head back to a time even before Atari.
Controllers Through the Years
The first videogame system that was cons-
idered a home console was the Magnavox Odyssey 100. It appeared in 1972, and this system included a straightforward controller. It featured two dials, one of which would control the horizontal movement while the other cont
rolled the vertical movement. With these controllers, people could play the legendary game Pong. Even then, many imagined what would happen as these systems and controllers started to evolve further.
During the same year, Magnavox also released the first light gun controller for the home with their Magnavox Odyssey Shooting Gallery. While this was a fun type of controller, it turns out that it was not accurate at all.
A few years later in 1975, Atari released their Pong console, which had slightly improved controls. Just as the consoles themselves started to get better and better, so did the controllers.
One of the most iconic controllers appeared in 1977 with the release of Atari 2600. Most people will know this controller as soon as they see it, even though they might never have used one themselves. This controller was called the joystick, which became a catchall term for videogame controllers for many years.
There were other innovations added to the controller through the various Atari iterations, but the next change that most people remember was when the Nintendo Entertainment System released in 1983. It features a four-way directional pad along with two different buttons. These additional buttons meant that the games could start to evolve, as well.
Controllers Continue to Change and Improve
Every few years after that, controllers for various systems such as the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, the Sony PlayStation controllers, and the Xbox continued to push things forward, and that momentum continues today.