In control

My first long-term experience with a console controller was with the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which was a Christmas present in 1987 or so. Looking back, it’s almost hard to imagine interacting with a video game based on nothing more than a direction pad and two buttons (three if you count the Start button’s almost universal “pause” function). In fact, Super Mario Brothers is nearly a one-button game, the B button only having a function when Mario has consumed a fire flower.

While I never owned a Super Nintendo (SNES), I remember being in awe of its controller. Even more than the Mode 7 almost-3D graphics, the X and Y buttons seemed to open new worlds of possibility. I shuddered to imagine the wonderous games that could make use of the additional possible functions. (The L and R shoulder buttons didn’t even register for me at the time.)

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