Is this the NX controller, and if so how can we be go about being the most outraged about it? This is the question that has been burning away in some of the most enlightened minds in video games ever since last night's 'leak'. The internet, predictably, has Totally Lost It, seemingly unaware that prototype hardware – if this thing is even real – has a habit of looking much different than the released product. Like each of these monstrosities.
Remember the original Mega Drive controller? Ah, what a classic: those sleek curves, the cool lettering, a very 80s idea of futuristic cool in a world of poindexter NES pads...there's no denying that it is a classic. Yes, the lack of buttons would become a problem in a post-Street Fighter II world, and there was the fact that it's designed for people with hands smaller than those found on Action Force figures… but still. It ruled, for a time. This, on the other hand: I don't know what this is. Allegedly, it's a prototype unit, but it may as well have easily been the result of a frenzied, twenty-four day bong session over at Sega HQ which ended with someone straightening a tie and remembering it was deadline day.
Now, I bet you thought I was just going to drop a SNES pad in here, didn't you? Ho ho ho, like I would ever be so crass. Anyway, the original PlayStation had a load of different controller prototypes, and many of them looked like they'd been pilfered from a bin out the back of old Star Trek sets. This one is a particular favourite, as if Sony's engineers briefly thought ergonomics was a book about money, and so decided to make some demented Robo-Mickey Mouse ears with buttons as the primary method of input.
Say. No. More.
The final, released Gamecube controller holds the distinction of being both the most comfortable and most bafflingly laid out pad of all time, seemingly being designed to only really work with Resident Evil games. (Its big A button is also dangerously close to Nathan Barley's Wasp T12 phone, which has a big number five, because it's the most important number.)
The Gamecube pad is classic Nintendo design, but its forerunner is something else entirely. Well, not entirely entirely: the base design of the thing is the same. But there's something about the length of those prongs which is just...sinister. Creepy. Like big insectoid legs reaching down from behind you, silently, waiting for you to turn around, a silent scream but it's too late, it has you now. And all this from a console decried as being 'too kiddy.'
No list of horrible prototype missteps would be complete without this beauty, perhaps the first real indicator that Ken Kutaragi and Ko. may have gone totally sideways with their plans for PS3. Granted, this was probably never going to be an actual, released product, backlash or no. But look at it. Like the GameCube controller there's something just horrible about it, like looking directly into the face of a big, alien robo-spider. Worse than two HDMI ports, that's for sure.
Amazingly, this one did make it to market.