Nintendo 64 controller prototype reveals many slight differences

Nintendo 64 prototype controller Ultra 64

Before Nintendo 64 got its final name, it was called Ultra 64, because the ’90s were a very ultra time. Video game preservationist Shane Battye has gotten his hands on a prototype Ultra 64 controller and taken a multitude of photos of the device and its inner workings. He has also described in detail how the technical workings between the prototype and the final product differ.

Honestly, Battye’s technical explanations mostly go over my head, but there are some highlights even a technical know-nothing like me can point out. Notably, the Z trigger isn’t much of a trigger — it’s just another button, and it looks a bit impotent. However, the control stick looks broader and more comfortable, and it has a fully circular range of movement.

Depending on whom you ask, the Nintendo 64 controller is either one of the best controllers ever or just a weird little product that bridged the gap between two different generations of game design. I’m firmly in the latter camp, but I appreciate it for being a fun and exciting device to hold in my hands as a kid.

For more in the world of the N64, check out the literally metal Nintendo 64 that shoots fire, or check out the (expensive) adapter for playing your N64 games on modern TVs.


John Friscia
Head Copy Editor for Enthusiast Gaming, Managing Editor at The Escapist. I'm a writer who loves Super Nintendo and Japanese role-playing games to an impractical degree. I really miss living in South Korea. And I'm developing the game Boss Saga!