N64 Analog Stick Replacement – GameCube Style on the Nintendo 64 / MY LIFE IN GAMING


[ TRY ]The N64 controller has an unfortunate
reputation. People seem to hate the button layout, the
3-prong design, or maybe they think it’s just too big. And then of course, there’s the analog stick. But no matter what anyone thinks, nothing
can take away that magical feeling I had when I first held this controller that allowed
me to go in all directions in a way that I never before imagined was possible. To be honest, I still love the N64 controller. But can we make it better? Well, I’m not sure yet – let’s find out. [ MUSIC: “Principle” by Matt McCheskey
] Come on, this thing is great. The A and B buttons are at just the right
angle, the C-buttons work fine as action buttons when needed, and the idea of a trigger under
the controller seemed so novel at the time. Now look, I don’t know what you kids were
doing that caused your analog sticks to get all crummy because I probably played my N64
way more than you did, and mine are still fine. Hey, I had the Mario Party blister too! All I did was clean out the pivot points now
and then with a Q-tip, though I dunno if that’s really what helped preserve them. [ COURY ] C’mon, this thing is NOT awesome. Absolutely, without a doubt my least favorite
controller out there. Granted, I don’t have a lot of special memories
of the N64 in the first place, so that probably has a lot to do with it. It’s just such a let down after how much
I loved the SNES controller. But that said, I do understand what they were
trying to do with it. Even though I just hate the layout of the
thing, I can appreciate the innovation that Nintendo was aiming for. My biggest gripe has always been that the
analog stick always felt like it could break off at any time… like it was a toy. Now the Gamecube controller on the other hand,
while not exactly my favorite controller either, has a heck of an analog stick. A great size and the slight rubber grip is
pretty great. [ TRY ] OK OK, I’ll admit – much as I love
the layout of the N64 controller, analog sticks have come a long way, and the N64’s is hardly
in the top tier. The Gamecube’s ball-style pivot cap is definitely
the right idea, especially for durability. And there actually are a few N64 controllers
built this way. Japanese accessory maker Hori is well-known
for products like the essential SNES-style Hori Pad for Gamecube, and they actually made
a very unique N64 controller with only two prongs and a Gamecube-style analog stick. But unfortunately, it’s rare and has become
quite expensive. If you ever stayed in a hotel in the early
2000s, you may have found another strange N64 controller in the TV cabinet. This operated a service called LodgeNet, which
allowed you to play N64 games on demand for exorbitant prices, but far more interestingly,
this controller features what is essentially a Gamecube style analog stick. It’s a little smaller and lacks the rubber
tip, but even I remember thinking that this would be amazing to have in my own N64 controllers. Unfortunately, the LodgeNet controller ends
with what looks like a telephone jack, and is not compatible with a real N64 system. But that’s OK because I recently learned
during one of our livestreams that you can actually buy a different Gamecube-style analog
stick for self installation on eBay for like $10. I grabbed one from a seller called Ice & Fire
Games, and it came in a little box that actually says, “Gamecube Style Joystick for N64.” Now I’m not one for performing difficult
mods, but there’s no way this is hard. Let’s see how it turns out. [ MUSIC ] Alright, a little scary regarding the Z button
there, but I have to admit it does feel pretty nice. So, I’m gonna go ahead and put it through
its paces and see if it works out OK. But in the meantime, Coury installed one too,
so I’m wondering if it’s done anything to change his opinion. [ COURY ] For the most part I like it a bit. It feels more robust despite being a lot looser
than the original analog stick. There’s very little resistance, so it’s
more up to you to adjust and use restraint when trying to say, move slowly in a game. Another big difference is that there seems
to be a much greater deadzone. What I mean is that you have to push the stick
further for it to activate. It’s possible that this was done on purpose
because of the stick having less resistance. While Try will be able to feel a more nuanced
difference due to the sheer amount of time he’s spent on his N64, I’m more than happy
to enjoy this new stick and get to know it. A definite improvement for me. [ TRY ] So I’ve spent some time with the
new analog stick over the past few days, and… I really wish I didn’t have to say this,
but in addition to minor quibbles with how the build quality feels, I’m kinda disappointed
for a much more significant reason. See, Coury is right in saying that the dead
zone is smaller, but every extra degree of tilt is also quite a bit smaller, making it
difficult to move carefully. But perhaps even worse, this new stick is
missing a number of degrees of movement in every direction. When I noticed that Mario was turning kind
of strangely, almost like he was snapping to a new direction too quickly, I soon realized
exactly what was wrong. By tilting the stick straight forward, I was
able to see that characters won’t turn at all until the stick has moved quite a bit. With the original stick, even the slightest
directional adjustment registers, and I as I was swapping controllers and testing many
different games, I realized just how much this matters. I thought for a moment that maybe it would
be OK for racing games, where stick movement is mostly left and right, but I soon found
that those minor adjustments from the center are just as critical here too. As I switched back and forth between the two
controllers, I felt a surprising sense of comfort when I held the original controller
again. Sure, it lacks the rubber tip, but I immediately
felt much more in control, and it’s not just because I’m so used to it. Maybe you hate the N64 controller so much,
or your analog stick is in such dire shape that a replacement stick will be an excellent
option for you. But for me… if nothing else, this experience
really gave me a newfound appreciation for just what a responsive device this really
is, and how well developers designed their games around it. So if you’ve got your hands on a good N64
controller… well, be thankful and treat it right.

63 Comments

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *