BC 6

If you only started playing video games in the last 10 years, you may not know how good you’ve got it. These days, every system includes a hard drive to save your progress, and with most games offering frequent opportunities to do so or doing it on your behalf, even the worst screw-up isn’t going to lose you more than 15 minutes or so of progress. With dozens of online FAQs and YouTube demonstrations for the most popular titles, there’s no need to waste time getting killed by the same boss over and over again.

But back in the day, things were different. Before every home had multiple Internet-capable devices, gamers were completely on their own whenever they entered a new stage, and death usually meant going all the way back to the beginning of the level, if not the entire game. How did old school gamers deal with this kind of frustration?

In the case of one of our Japanese correspondents by biting the controller.

This was honestly the first time the rest of us had heard of someone who isn’t currently teething gnawing on a controller. Don’t most gamers throwing a rage fit just toss it into the nearest wall?

But then we thought a little more about it. Older video game consoles didn’t come with wireless controllers. You can only chuck one as far as the cord will stretch, and if you put too much force behind it, the controller might drag the whole system along with it.

In retrospect, biting almost seems like the sensible choice. Not only does our reporter swear by this method of stress-release, he’s accumulated enough first-hand experience to share his teeth-on impressions, broken down by system, with us.

Sega Mega Drive / Genesis

DCF 1.0

The Mega Drive controller occupies the bottom of the list. “The plastic is incredibly hard, and since the face of the controller is rounded, it’s really difficult to wrap your teeth around it. If you’re not careful, you could bust a tooth on this,” our man warns.

The pads for the same company’s Saturn system are likewise molded from particularly hard plastic. Must be a Sega thing.

Nintendo Famicom / Nintendo Entertainment System


Moving up the list, we come to Nintendo’s 8-bit marvel that started the modern gaming era. Here again, the plastic on the original version’s controllers is hard and uncomfortable, although those that came with the version released years later had more give to them. Our reporter had no comment as to whether the Japanese-spec player two controller, with its built-in microphone, yielded any different mouth-feel.

NEC PC Engine / Turbografx-16

BC 3

A modest success at best overseas, the PC Engine had a number of huge hits at home, giving our tester ample chances to work up the anger to try its controllers. They aren’t unpleasantly hard, and they get extra points for coming with the fabled PC Engine aroma.

Sony PlayStation

BC 4

A revolutionary design at the time of its release, Sony’s original PlayStation controllers that established the twin-grip design as the industry standard also were crafted from a softer plastic than any of the preceding entries on our list.

Nintendo Super Famicom / Super Nintendo Entertainment System

BC 5

Some hardcore Sega fanboys used to make fun of Nintendo’s 16-bit controller by saying it looked like a Milk Bone. The description was more apt than they may have realized, as our reporter’s hands-down, teeth-on favorite was the Super Famicom. “The plastic is just soft enough for you to leave teeth marks, which really helps you get rid of the negative emotions you feel after your character dies.”

So remember kids, when the game you’re playing bites so hard you have to bite back, and hard, choose Nintendo’s 16-bit pads.

Top image: Wikipedia
Insert images: Retro Game Base, Wikipedia
[ Read in Japanese ]