A while back, I took a brief look at what made the Nintendo 64 controller unique among its contemporaries in the market. What I didn’t look at, however, was the controller we didn’t get.

Recently, retrogaming “preservationist, restorer, hobby sw + hw engineer” Shane Battye got their hands on the prototype Nintendo Ultra 64 controller — the black one shown off in early images and at trade shows during that prolonged period between Nintendo revealing the console and actually getting it to market.

Right on the face of it, you can see several differences between what Nintendo would show and what we would ultimately get. Instead of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) grey of the pack-in controller, this one sported a black finish which matched well with the console itself. And while Nintendo would release a black version of their controller, it nevertheless still differed from what is shown above by way of the analog stick and its rainbow-colored face buttons, which itself are marked and placed slightly differently.

The analog stick itself features an indentation on the top, rather than the circular ribbing of the final version. Surrounding the stick are several notches, which provide a nice visual cue as to the greater degree of movement it could provide versus a Dpad, though this was not included in the final, either.

Perhaps conspicuous by its absence in these early marketing materials is the connector which plugs the controller in to the front of the console, and there is apparently a reason for that:

The long and the short of the reason why is that this version was designed to interface with workstations from Silicon Graphics, Inc.

In addition to all this, the Z button/trigger on the underside of the controller sported a smaller and rounder shape, too.

There are further technical details, for those interested in such things, and if you are, then check out the thread with a dissection on Shane’s Twitter. And for one final thought:

Source: Via GameXplain

David Oxford David Oxford (113 Posts)

Lover of fine foods and felines, as well as comics, toys, and... oh yeah, video games. David Oxford has written about the latter for years, including for Nintendo Power, Nintendo Force, Mega Visions, and he even wrote the book on Mega Man!