Jump to content
IntelliMission

Dreamcast controller: Was it any good?

What do you think about the Dreamcast controller?  

64 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think about the Dreamcast controller?

    • It was a good controller
      41
    • It was a bad controller
      23


Recommended Posts

6 hours ago, derFunkenstein said:

the removal of two face buttons

I still have no idea how the hell this became the industry standard. There is no way that 4 buttons is better than 6 buttons. The Saturn controller is the best controller ever made for 2D games, and yet it's the slightly inferior Nintendo/Sony controller design that everyone copied. Sad that Sega regressed to only 4 face buttons for their final console.

 

What they should have done is take the Saturn controller and do what Sony did with the SFC/SNES controller: add a second set of shoulder buttons and glue some analog sticks to it (although it took them a while to add the analog sticks). Interestingly, this is exactly what Retro-Bit is doing with the analog Saturn controller.

 

Speaking of Retro-Bit, their new official Dreamcast controller, which I believe they are not just licensing from Sega but also working with them to develop, will have 6 face buttons and what looks like the Saturn d-pad instead of the Dreamcast d-pad.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hated the rather sharp SQUARE handholds. The buttons were to far apart, one option button, only triggers, which were nice. To few buttons over all, and only one stick. Also, the cable comes out the bottom, wtf?

 

over all, it's just a terrible controller, especially considering it came out in 99. Yes the 64 sucked as well, but four years earlier gives it a pseudo pass, not that it doesn't still suck.

 

only real good about it is, the triggers are nice, and the like three total games that made use of it, the vmu was a handy "second screen" before that was a thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/19/2020 at 6:19 AM, Cafeman said:

I owned several VMUs.  2 stock white ones, the 4X one, then I got blue, green and red ones.  Now I must search through them to find which one had the save file I need.  It is pretty cool that you can plug in 2 into one controller. If only they held more data. 

There were bank-switched third party memory cards (without screens) that came out later in the system's short life. I honestly don't remember how much these held but I have two of them and I remember feeling like they held a *lot*. The idea was you'd put that memory card in the back slot and the VMU in the front slot.

 

There were a few memory cards like this that were known to have the basically unforgiveable problem of losing all your data if you used them wrong, but I think that's because some of them were doing on-board memory compression to advertise higher capacities at lower cost. That memory compression could corrupt your saves if you took the card out or turned the system off at the wrong time. I'm pretty sure not all of them did this, though, and I remember knowing about it at the time and factoring that in to my decisions, so I don't think the ones I have had that problem and I know they still work (or did, when I last checked them about a year ago).

 

But anyway, yes this is the one thing I liked about the DC controller. Of course memory cards no longer really exist on new machines so you can't really give Sega credit for innovating here; it was kind of just a one-off thing before the industry moved in a completely different direction with handling saves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always like the DC controller and voted good, though of course there was room for improvement.  My main complaint would be the long throw of the analog triggers.  If you want to compare it to the most popular previous system, the N64, the controller was a marked improvement by simply having the D-pad and left analog stick both workable from one standard hand position.  Keep in mind that when the DC came out, the only real home console controller creators were Nintendo, Sega and Sony.  Sega couldn't exactly straight up copy the PS1 DualShock, and everyone nowadays seems *aghast* that they didn't, but the DC controller was just fine for the majority of games coming out for the system.  Yes, we all love the DualShock layout now, but hindsight in 2020 is 20/20 and it just wasn't a standard in 1999.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, glazball said:

Sega couldn't exactly straight up copy the PS1 DualShock, and everyone nowadays seems *aghast* that they didn't, 

I think this is an unfair characterization of criticisms of the controller. Sega could easily have copied the Saturn 3D pad and fixed the weird orb analog stick and had the best controller on the market. That's what I'm frustrated about. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't get a Dreamcast until 2011 and one of my initial concerns was that the controller appeared bulky and difficult to handle (I actually posted on a couple of forums to enquire about the controller and a couple of other things before buying).  In the end, I felt the controller was a comfortable fit for my hands and I've spent many a happy hour playing Dreamcast games.  I think the XBox 360 pad edges it for comfort and design but I'm a happy camper with the Dreamcast controller.

 

But then, I'm happy with most of them.  I just work with what I've got.  People slam the N64 controller but two things I love about it are the four-way C-button and the middle Z trigger; they both feel so intuitive to me.

 

One thing I don't get is the demand for everything to be wireless these days.  A while back, someone was selling bluetooth adapted Dreamcast controllers at £100 a time.  Nuts.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, English Invader said:

But then, I'm happy with most of them.  I just work with what I've got.  People slam the N64 controller but two things I love about it are the four-way C-button and the middle Z trigger; they both feel so intuitive to me.

 

I agree on the N64 controller. Those C buttons and the Z are great for FPS games.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That was the thing with 64, while it was an over all terrible design, it could still pull off fps the right way, dreamcast controller was between clumsy to unusable for this (at the time) exploding genre. Nothing at That time beat the ps controller, till Xbox came out. It's huge, but I love the duke.

 

Ditto on wireless controllers. WTF man. I know, "but cords suxors" yeah, but you know what? So does dead batteries, and guess which one can actively stop you from playing a game? At least Xbox one is a simple pop in replacement instead of built in like everybody else.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't understand why people hate the N64 controller so much. Sure, it's huge compared to most other controllers (still smaller than XE-1AP!) and maybe a bit ugly, but it's very comfortable and has more than enough buttons, generally good build quality (stick is fragile and can wear out, though), decent button placement, and a very accurate analog stick/wand/whatever you want to call it, even if it is kind of fragile.

 

My sister and I did also discover that they make wonderful weapons, though... my sister hit me in a nerve just above my left elbow with one of those 3 handle things so hard once that my entire forearm and hand went numb for like 30 minutes.

 

Still, I only ever borrowed my neighbour's N64 for many years and never had one of my own until 2004/2005 and never used it after I bought it, so perhaps I'm not qualified.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/27/2020 at 8:13 AM, English Invader said:

One thing I don't get is the demand for everything to be wireless these days.  A while back, someone was selling bluetooth adapted Dreamcast controllers at £100 a time.  Nuts.

I *love* wireless controllers because my consoles are in my living room and I sit around 12 feet from a 65" screen. Most wired controllers can't even reach from a console to the couch. I have had bad luck in the past with extension cables. Either they fail because they're cheaply made or the controller connection comes loose because the cable is cheaply made.

 

OTOH I don't love them enough to spend that kind of bank. I'm aware of the controllers you're talking about. They're hand-modded and I know it's labor intensive, but it's not for me. I got a Brook adapter instead, and pair a DS4 that I also use with Brook PS1/PS2 adapter. 

 

Batteries for me are a non-issue for me because I'm a responsible adult fully capable of plugging stuff in when I'm not using it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah the 64 controller worked fine, but the three handle design artificially limited it's actual button count. Unless you have three hands, and I certainly dont, you either lack access to the dpad and left shoulder (most common) the joystick and z button, or the c buttons a/b buttons, and r shoulder (least common) as far as I'm aware, it's the only controller ever to limit your access to all of its features.  Personally, I never had problems with its stick, I'd personally get years of use out of a new one. Most people have some weird grip of death on controllers though and it often lasted a month or less, getting it a bad rap. It was comfortable though, and had decent button placement. Nintendo controllers always have a great d pad, and button feel imo too.

 

On batteries, yeah, you can charge them. If your a responsible enough adult, it probably lasts plenty of time, but some of us get weekends off and have gaming marathons then rather than short daily jaunts. Also, charging a battery to often shortens it's life, to say nothing of when it dies outright and won't charge anymore. It's why I prefer cords, or if I must use batteries, replaceable ones. Never understood the idea that it you use AA batteries, you couldn't possibly use rechargeables, but to this day, that myth still persists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it was/is a terrible controller. Ergonomically it was a disaster IMHO. For instance, the hand grips point straight down, which is not actually a natural fit for your wrists. I believe this affects the triggers as well, because I always feel like I'm straining my hand to hold the controller while putting a finger on the trigger.

 

The cord coming out of the bottom, another terrible decision. This must have been a design decision caused by the VMU slots. This is almost always noted, so it goes without saying really. Yeah, they put a clip in the back so you could hold it close to the controller like you do with the cord on some upright vacuum sweepers, or how a squirrel curls its tail up its backside. But, you lose a good 6 inches of length doing  this, which can make the difference between buying an extension cable or not.

 

I don't find the analog stick to be very durable either, and it doesn't have good grip. Then there was the VMU, egads, talk about the gimmick apparatus device of all time. Built to annoy everyone with a couple weeks of battery life, and they chose a non-rechargeable battery type in the CR2032, which themselves haven't traditionally been as easy to acquire as AAA, nor as cheap.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I kinda hate the original PS controller, and it only recently made a significant improvement. DC controller was decent, inoffensive, serviceable. On paper, it was jank beginnings of what is now become the Xbox controller, which has always been superior design to the PS controller.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/30/2020 at 1:44 AM, Video said:

Yeah the 64 controller worked fine, but the three handle design artificially limited it's actual button count. Unless you have three hands, and I certainly dont, you either lack access to the dpad and left shoulder (most common) the joystick and z button, or the c buttons a/b buttons, and r shoulder (least common) as far as I'm aware, it's the only controller ever to limit your access to all of its features.  

Yeah, I think when people criticize the N64 controller, this is usually the main issue, and it's a huge one as far as I'm concerned. I think in terms of comfort, it's fine, but people just do not have three hands. It looks, feels and works like some weird third party experiment that failed and everybody forgot about because it was so stupid. I mean if it wasn't Nintendo, that's how we'd be talking about it now. "Remember when that one company made a controller for people with THREE HANDS?? What a bunch of dumbasses!"

 

Obviously we all know they did not do that literally, but making you have to switch grips to use certain features is *at best* a total kludge in terms of design. It's what you do when you can't figure out how else to lay out a controller, so you throw up your hands and say "welp, I guess we just make another grip!"

On 5/30/2020 at 1:44 AM, Video said:

On batteries, yeah, you can charge them. If your a responsible enough adult, it probably lasts plenty of time, but some of us get weekends off and have gaming marathons then rather than short daily jaunts. Also, charging a battery to often shortens it's life, to say nothing of when it dies outright and won't charge anymore. It's why I prefer cords, or if I must use batteries, replaceable ones. 

Yeah, longevity is one thing I worry about with my rechargeable controllers. I'm pretty sure one or two of my PS3 controllers will no longer really hold a charge.

 

This is one thing I think MS got sort of right with the Xbox One, although not totally, because the batteries are removable and you can use regular AA's, rechargeable AA's or the "play and charge" pack that basically turns it into a regular wireless controller, but with a battery you can still remove. The one thing I think they got *wrong* was only including AA's in the box, so you get home all excited to play your new console and instantly realize that probably right in the middle of your first gaming session, you're going to need to run out and buy more batteries. Then if you do want a semi-permanent solution (the play and charge battery/cable), you have to pay another $20 for it. I just think that should have been the default included in the box, and if you wanted to just use AA's, you could always buy some later.

 

On balance, though, I'd take a wireless controller over a wired one any day. My PS4, and of course the Switch, have docks that both store and charge the controllers and there's no reason I wouldn't just put them there after playing. I never run out of juice, and I have more than one controller anyway if I ever did. PS4 controllers, IIRC, can act as wired controllers when connected via USB anyway, so even if they stop charging, you're not losing anything vs. a wired controller. I believe the same is true of the PS3 controllers, for that matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It does remind me of that 3D Saturn controller. Overall it was fine, not the best, but fine. I would've liked bumpers to go with the triggers or 2 more buttons on the face. The best thing was the VMU. I made a Buckethead animation for it, and I might still have it on the old HDD.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wired an Atari Compatible 9-pin connector into a clone DC controller so I could plug in my CX-40. It works for the games I play.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I didn't mind the stock Dreamcast controller, but my hands did get cramped after long sessions. I prefer aftermarket solutions nowadays.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I got a Dreamcast 2 days ago, so I held the Dreamcast controller for the first time in about 20 years and can finally comment on it. It's okay. It could be better. This controller is the first controller that I am aware of that has the confusing backwards ABXY buttons in what is now the modern configuration. I have no problems finding the ABCXYZ buttons on earlier controllers without looking, but I can never remember what the Dreamcast/Xbox layout is.

 

I did notice something interesting about this controller, though:

 

Pic_0629_349.thumb.jpg.666f0bf64f6daeabf38b3cbf4ab57ff5.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Steven Pendleton said:

 I have no problems finding the ABCXYZ buttons on earlier controllers without looking, but I can never remember what the Dreamcast/Xbox layout is.

 

Pic_0629_349.thumb.jpg.666f0bf64f6daeabf38b3cbf4ab57ff5.jpg

 

I hear you on that. I use a PS4 controller for Steam and Im always hitting the wrong button because everything is set up for the Xbox controller.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought the Dreamcast controller was just meh.  Definitely not bad, but not particularly good.  It was workable and that's about all the praise I'll give it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have big fingers so the size wasn't an issue, but the analog stick was easily the worst since the 5200.  Without any kind of padding, that thing kills your left thumb after a while.  Even worse, the dead zone on it is a complete mess, making most racing games nearly impossible to play well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Punisher5.0 said:

 

I hear you on that. I use a PS4 controller for Steam and Im always hitting the wrong button because everything is set up for the Xbox controller.

Yeah, for the few games that I use a controller for on PC, I usually use mods to display the PS4 controller's buttons. Almost everything is mouse + keyboard, but for things like MGS V, where I want analog movement, I use PS4 controller + mods to fix the button prompts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Greg2600 said:

I have big fingers so the size wasn't an issue, but the analog stick was easily the worst since the 5200.  Without any kind of padding, that thing kills your left thumb after a while.  Even worse, the dead zone on it is a complete mess, making most racing games nearly impossible to play well. 

I think the dead zone issue is more game-specific. It feels excellent with Crazy Taxi, F355 Challenge and the Tokyo Xtreme Racer games. Vanishing Point on the other hand, I can't control it worth a damn. Way too twitchy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Probably because the steering wheel is just as bad on the games I know of.  Either way it takes the system way down for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...