As part of my ongoing storage dig / eventual sale, I've been finding some
real gems from old caches of game hardware I put away.
There are several versions of the Ultra 64 controller, starting with
prototypes, working samples, and then transition to the N64 controller we
all know. There are some major differences between the two. Let's start
with some nice clear pictures, as never seen before.
Please respect my wishes and not steal / post these pictures on any other
site without my permission.
What we have above is an Ultra 64 controller, using a hand assembled PCB
that doesn't even have the memory card components. It features many
interesting changes you'll see in the diagrams below. It took a minor act of
God to get this item, so please don't ask.
Here's a bottom view.
The handles are a tad bit longer. There's many button differences, as well
as to the the analog stick.
Next we have the beta hardware.
As you can see, the shoulder buttons were changed, as well as adding a
new logo to the top of the controller. The thumb access for the memory
unit / rumble is wider, to accomodate fat western fingers. Notice the
"C" cluster button profile as well.
If there's such a thing as controller porn, this is it. It makes some of the
changes much easier to see. The beta pad almost looks like a retail stick.
The thumb stick shrinks a bit, and gains more sensitivity and less travel
The bottom view. Once again, bigger trigger for fat hands ^_^.
The total comparison:
1. The "C" cluster.
Alpha: Contoured non rounded buttons. No "C" marking or rounding.
Beta: Colored, raised, and rounded buttons. Still no "C" designation.
Final: Now called "C"
2. The Analog stick (see picture below)
Alpha: Wide travel, huge top stick with full movement.
Beta: Smaller travel, smaller top, square shape guides movement.
Final: Even smaller top, 8-way guide.
3. The Ultra 64 logo.
Alpha: Nice big logo
Beta and Final: Nintendo logo. Boo.
4. The shoulder buttons.
Alpha: Small, shallow travel.
Beta-Final: Wider for western hands. Less contoured. Deeper travel.
5. The Digital pad "D" pad.
Alpha: Flat, contoured, non rounded, slightly recessed.
Beta, Final: Deeply recessed in a concave impression.
This show how much nintendo really thinks about the controllers they use.
The many slight changes make the controller much more usable and in the
end it was fondly remembered as one of the best system controllers of
all time. Eventually I will find my Ultra 64, but it's not as exciting as the
pad as all they did was change the fron dome sticker for the N64.
I hope you enjoyed this little walk back in time to 1994.
- CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO -