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The Evolution of the Nintendo Controller

1. Wii U Pro Controller

Year: 2012

System: Nintendo Wii U

The Legacy: The final word in Nintendo controllers, for now, stands in stark contrast to the Wii U GamePad (their most daring moment since the Nintendo 64 controller) as Nintendo's most conservative controller yet: The dual-analog setup with four shoulder buttons is, for lack of a better way to put it, a mash-up of the current PS3 controller and the Xbox 360 controller, with smoother lines.

That said, like the Xbox and PS3 controllers, it carries so much of the DNA that Nintendo put into innovating the controller game to begin with: The four-button diamond pattern, the shoulder buttons, the analog sticks, the offset buttons. Whether or not this is the final word for the next few years in controllers or just a temporary stopgap between innovations? We'll have to wait until the next one to really know. But just remember, lest you think this is a revolution of some kind: The more things change, the more they stay the same. The first Nintendo controller to have a microphone in it isn't the Wii U. Far from it. That'd be the Famicom, which turned 26 this year. 

And for all that's not going to be said about this controller, the devil's in the details, here: That right-aligned analog stick is offset towards the top of the controller, instead of the bottom, where Nintendo (and everyone else) has been putting right-side analog sticks for years. Whether or not the higher analog works might be this controller—and maybe even, the Wii U's—legacy to come.

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