Sometimes, bigger isn’t always better.
Third party console accessories take a lot of flak, and for the most part, that’s pretty justified Just ask anyone who has had a third party PlayStation memory card corrupt on them, losing years of saves. Whether it’s controllers with dodgy buttons, or add-ons that defy all logic, there are a whole lot of bad peripherals out there.
Which is why I wanted to focus on a third party controller that is not only good, but arguably better than the original first-party pad. Hori are a company known for the high quality peripherals and accessories, from arcade pads to screen protectors for your handheld system; but their biggest triumph in my opinion, is their significant improvement to the infamous three-pronged Nintendo 64 control pad.
From the very start, it was clear that Nintendo had designed a pad specifically with Super Mario 64 in mind – Infact, they had even admitted this on multiple occasions. It was supposed to be a jack of all trades, allowing multiple hand positions to suit almost any genre of game. You could use the left and right prongs for easy access to the D-Pad and face buttons, perfect for fighters or classic 2D platformers. Meanwhile, the middle and right prongs were perfectly suited for the 3D games that the Nintendo 64 excelled at, from the aforementioned Super Mario 64, to Rare’s GoldenEye 007. As for using the left and centre prongs together, I have no idea why on Earth you would do that, although I have heard that there are a handful of games that give you that option.
Yes, it was an innovative design, but it wasn’t always the most comfortable to use, with some users experiencing hand cramps. The centre control stick itself was also quite subpar, becoming less responsive with frequent use as plastic grinded on plastic and the internal springs loosened.
Enter the Hori Mini Pad. Compare it to the standard Nintendo 64 pad and it’s absolutely tiny, and quite frankly looks like it was made for babies. But looks can be deceiving, for this is the ultimate Nintendo 64 controller. Don’t let it’s miniature size put you off, because this is a comfortable pad, doing away with the centre prong and moving the analog stick on the left where it should be. The Dpad has now been moved to the centre of the pad, and is easily reachable with your left thumb, in the rare instances you’d need to use it. The shoulder pads and Z trigger as smaller and easily found and pressed, while the face buttons are just the right size.
But the best bit about the Hori Mini Pad, is the analog stick itself. It’s incredibly similar to the analog stick found on the GameCube controller, and works just as well, feeling far smoother than the original. It also doesn’t appear to leave that weird white powdery residue that the N64 stick is known for.
The only negative point I can possible think of, is that you can’t hold a Hori Mini Pad in each hand like you can with the first-party pad, and play GoldenEye with two analog sticks. Still, who actually did that?
Now, these pads are surprisingly easy to find all over the web, in a variety of colours. However, because of their quality and an ever increasing demand, their price is steadily rising from the price I paid for mine a few years ago and it doesn’t help that these unique controllers were only released in Japan. You can expect a premium price of around £40 upwards, but if you’re looking for an excuse to crack out the Nintendo 64, then this is probably one of the best accessories you can buy for your system.
Thanks for taking the time to watch this little hardware review. As always, I’d appreciate it if you could click that Subscribe button, but I’d love you even more if you shared this video on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, wherever.
Until next time, keep gaming positive.