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Before the Nintendo 64 released back in 1996, the console was known as the Ultra 64. The system’s controller is infamous for its analogue stick and the discomfort that came from long play sessions in addition to a select number of Mario Party mini-games.

Well as most consoles try out various controller prototype designs, so too did the Nintendo 64’s and it’s been shown off on video game preservationist Shane Battye’s Twitter account. Here are some details and some photos:

  • It houses a thumbstick significantly different to the final retail version
  • First appeared in a black and white press release photo alongside the Ultra 64 back in 1995
  • Connector isn’t a normal N64 plug; it’s an RJ-11 connector
  • This ‘prototype’ controller is also a ‘development’ controller intended to be used with SGI Indy workstations with u64 development boards
  • Small Z-trigger button
  • The board is close to retail but shape and mount points slightly different
  • A/B positions are reversed (although aren’t externally)
  • The cable has the familiar three wire layout to a blue 4p header
  • The thumbstick is broad, shallow cup-shaped and has a circular range of motion with directional indicator markers on the shroud
  • The mechanism is familiar but it doesn’t come apart like a retail stick
  • The stick itself is anchored by cross positioned shafts, unlike the retail it doesn’t just pop out on opening
That Z button is so tiny!
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Posted by Alex Harding

Lover of chocolate and admirer of video games, Alex is the chief writer/editor of Switchaboo.