Gaming Controls Have Come A Long Way

Two Nintendo action classics that feel like mud have returned

Alex Rowe
6 min readJun 18, 2024
Daniel Carrington welcomes Joanna Dark to his institute while standing in a hallway.
Perfect Dark screenshot taken by the author.

There was a time long ago when “console” and “first person shooter” rarely belonged together in a sentence. The genre was birthed on the PC, and to this day it still thrives there. Early games like Doom didn’t need the aiming precision that a mouse or modern gyroscope controllers provide, but as the genre evolved, the speed required to play the games demanded good three dimensional input.

Consoles didn’t really have that back in the nineties. They started out strictly as 2D machines, and as time went on and they adopted polygonal graphics, they slowly brought in better input options like analog sticks. But the full transition took a decade to play out, and developers had to experiment all along the way. Early first person shooters on consoles are often ungainly affairs with sluggish controls, slow action, and generous auto aim.

The first game to really nail the balance was probably Halo on the original Xbox in 2001, though it wasn’t the first hit in the genre on a console. When you think of the Nintendo 64 and FPS, you probably have fond memories of Goldeneye. It is typically the canonical choice for the “best” first person game on the platform. But I’d argue that several others were important — and Nintendo re-released two of…

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Alex Rowe

I write about gaming, tech, music, and their industries. I have a background in video production, and I used to review games for a computer magazine.