The Evolution of Video Game Controllers: Famicom

If you were a kid in the eighties or nineties, then you must be familiar with the infectious Famicom. For those of you who have not yet been introduced to this marvel, the Famicom is a disk system created by Nintendo that was later known as the game console of the 80’s!


Famicom had a feature that allowed users to attach various gaming paraphernalia like joysticks and other controllers to enhance the gaming experience. In this article, we will enlighten you about such controllers that were futuristic and functional!


1: The Beam Gun (1984)

When the trigger is pulled, a spot on the screen is illuminated and the muzzle sensor moves according to your movements


The Beam Gun, an electronic light gun, was one of the most popular accessories that complimented the Famicom. It’s a gun-shaped controller that was originally created by Gunpei Yokoi who is famously known as the game boy for his ideas and inventions.


The Beam Gun was used for games like “Wild Gunman”, “Duck Hunt” and “Hogan’s Alley”.


2: The Joy Ball (1985)

The Joy Ball is known for its unique ball-shaped stick. You can push the ball as well as move it around. Contrary to popular belief, it’s easy to use and one could game for hours without stressing the hand or getting stiff fingers. It was designed by HAL Laboratory, the creators of Eggerland.

It was one of the few controllers that had a switch for faster shooting


3: Power Glove (1990)

PAX’s Power Glove was an ambitious push towards a more immersive gaming experience. The Power Glove had buttons for various functions that could sense movement, among other features. Unfortunately, the Power Glove was a commercial failure, because the games that were created specifically for this device were not a hit amongst gamers.

This controller came with 14 functions. You could also use the up-down, left-right arrows for movement


4: Family Trainer (1986)

One of the most popular arcade games in the world, Dance Dance Revolution, can thank the Family Trainer for its existence. Family Trainer or the Power Pad was a mat-type controller that let users step on it for various games. It was primarily used in games that required eye-leg coordination and speed.


5: NES 3D System (1987)

Before Google Glasses and Oculus, there was a device that transcended the 2D experience: the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) 3D system. Released in 1987, it used the stereoscopic images technology to render a 3D experience. Although it was a futuristic device, it was commercially unsuccessful.

The games that could be played with the NES 3D system were “Highway Star” and “Attack Animal Gakuen”

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