The Nintendo Wavebird: The Perfect Controller.

There’s nothing better than a perfect feeling controller.

From the moment it comes into grips with your hands, until the moment you place it back after using it, it’s pure gaming bliss. It just makes games more fun to play, and not to mention comfortable. Everyone’s got the ones they loathe, the ones they just deal with and the ones that they adore. Some are timeless classics and reinvent the gaming wheel, others are just an eyesore and a monstrosity to mankind. My favourite? Well, if you hadn’t guessed by the title, it’s the Nintendo Wavebird.

The Wavebird is something created by the gaming gods. Being the first first-party wireless controller, it had a lot of problems to overcome. I’d used wireless controllers before (dodgy third party ones for the Playstation) and while they played the part, there were so many problems with them. They’d constantly drop out. They were fiddly and unreliable. So you’d understand why I was a bit hesitant about the Wavebird at first. Sure it was a Nintendo product, but there’s still that whole thing about new tech not working how it was suppose to. But when I got my hands on it, it was like opening the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, just a smile on my face and everyone else wondering what the hell was going on.

I guess I need to elaborate a bit about why I love it so much then, right? So the year was 2003, I was a fresh-faced 13 year old in my first year of high school. For my birthday I got a Nintendo Gamecube, with 3 games: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, Pikmin and Super Smash Bros Melee. All I had to begin with though was the ol’ purple default controller, which I loved for pretty much the same reasons as the Wavebird. My mate came over the weekend I got the Gamecube and we took turns passing the controller back and forth and interchanging the three games for hours. We kept trying to share time on it but it got to the point that one of us would end up hogging the controller. My mum eventually called me over with her hands behind her back. I thought I was in trouble for sure, she didn’t look happy or sad.

“Mum, I’m letting Ben play with it I swear! We’re sharing!” I proclaim in my defense. “I know, but…wouldn’t you rather play two player? It’d be more fun right?” she calmly responded. “Well yeah, but we don’t have a second controller, just the one”. “This was suppose to be given to you at Christmas, but it’s not fair seeing you two divide the fun when you could share it. So here, take this and go have fun”

Mum slowly brings her hands back around to reveal the Nintendo Wavebird and what was to begin a long love affair with the most elegantly and well rounded controller I’ve used. I hurriedly opened it, slapped in the receiver and switched over to Smash Bros. My friend and I ended up spending the next 5 hours or so playing it. It was awesome.

The Wavebird just fits in your hands so well, its button and stick placement just right. Nothing felt out of reach, there was no weird crab claw or finger extending methods to press buttons. It’s hard to explain, but it always felt great when I played any game with it, be it fighting, adventure, racing, RPG, whatever! And the best part? It had a pretty big wireless range! I could sit all the way back on the lounge and it’d still work! That’s not impressive nowadays, but when wireless controllers weren’t the standard, it was amazing. It was perfect.

I know the controller so well due to Smash Bros Melee, clocking in well over 600 hours in it. I worked in the controller so much, smashing the buttons and slamming the control sticks constantly. And even after all that time with it, 10 years later, it still works perfectly, without a hitch. When Smash Bros Brawl came out I couldn’t even play it with the Classic Controller, it felt so weird and unnatural. Even after not playing a Smash Bros game for about 2 years between Melee and Brawl, when it released, muscle memory kicked in and it was like riding a bike. Hand me one today and I’m certain the same thing would happen. It’s pretty much an extension of my body now.

The Gamecube is my favourite console for a wide variety of reasons. The games were awesome, the memories are great, but that controller…that just seals the deal for me. It’s perfect and in my eyes, it’ll never be bested.

My Wavebird. 10 years old, little dirty, but still going strong!

Wavebird or bust.

What’s your favourite controller and why? Sound off in the comments below!

One comment

  1. I’ve never used a Wavebird myself, but the Gamecube controller was amazingly comfortable. Plus, I do like a bit of weight in a controller, so I’m sure I’d dig the ‘bird even more.

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