5. Intel Wireless Gamepad
No, this isn’t a travel pillow that also turns into a video game controller in some sort of James Bond-style transformation. This is just a silly, confusing game controller that probably should have been taken out back and shot instead of being released to the gaming public.
Admittedly, the controller technically works and is a functional product, but it’s just the ridiculous design of it that makes it uncomfortable and a real struggle to use. Usually, weird designs for controllers have some sort of logic behind them, but this one feels like it’s being different simply to be different. Like if Intel made a perfectly fine controller and then said, “well, let’s make it a horseshoe because nobody’s done that before…”
I wonder why?
4. Novint Falcon
PC gamers have perhaps seen the largest influx of nonsense peripherals and bizarre controllers. It’d take several articles to explore all of the weird experimental devices that PC gamers have gotten to experience, but easily one of the stranger efforts comes in the form of the Novint Falcon. The Falcon’s purpose was to simulate realistic gunplay and firing, with the device having a motor inside of it and sending you full-force feedback as you powered your weapon. Basically, it’s a Rumble Pak on several experimental steroids.
Even if you were behind the unnecessary idea of the Novint Falcon, you also had to get past the product’s cumbersome size, the requirement of having a sturdy game area so that this portable motor didn’t scurry all over the place, and the principle that the few games that did support the Falcon worked infinitely better with the classic keyboard-and-mouse set-up.
3. Intellivision Disk Controller
Intellivision at least deserves points for thinking outside of the box here. No, I’m not referring to the weird disc that you use instead of a conventional direction pad or joystick, or even the number pad on the controller that makes it look more like a telephone than a gaming device.
What’s way more original is the fact that each Intellivision game would come with a specific insert pad that you’d put over the number pad, displaying the game’s controls. That’s actually a pretty creative idea and a neat way to mix up gameplay between titles, but what if you lost the insert? Well, I guess you’re never going to remember the controls for your favorite Intellivision game again. But hey, the number pad was already a squishy, unresponsive mess in the first place, so no big loss.
2. Phillips CD-I 400 Controller
A lot of gamers out there probably got never got their hands on a Phillips CD-I, and honestly, you’re kind of lucky if that’s the case because it means you never met this controller. While bearing a striking resemblance to a TV remote, the controllers were beyond ugly, hard to hold, and were especially prone to breaking.
Despite having minimal buttons on them, they still felt wasteful, and in the end, like a faulty piece of plastic you’d point at your screen, increasingly unsure if it even was working.
1. eDimensional Access Controller
The eDimensional Access Controller functions on the principle of “why don’t you build your own controller?”
After all, if you’re the one who gets to design the button set and layout, then shouldn’t it be the almost accommodating control ever? It’s a solid premise, but a strong reminder that not every person is a game or product designer, and sometimes you need to leave things to the professionals.
That being said, the professionals responsible for this device have a lot of questions to answer here. For instance, the customizable layout often led to keys and buttons being spread out far apart, almost like a keyboard, and while you had options here, they usually weren’t ideal ones, leaving you with a broken product that made you feel responsible.
These are truly some of the most baffling, unpleasant products that somehow made their way to the market, but there are still a wealth of other misfires out there, whether they be other controllers, or just peripheral disasters in general. Next time you find yourself frustrated at the game you’re working through, try taking a moment to think about how much angrier you’d be if you had to play them using any of these pieces of junk.