When Nintendo announced that they would be bringing classic Nintendo 64 games to Switch Online, I was pleasantly surprised. Then it announced that the original controllers were also coming back – and my joy shot up even higher. Sure, I tried to recreate my childhood Super Smash Bros. bout in modern Super Smash Bros. and begged my MacBook not to catch fire when trying to simulate The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but no experience is the same without that one-of-a-kind N64 controller.
So I have no words to express my disappointment when I ran to Nintendo’s website, only to find the plain, boring original gray controller. Sorry? Nintendo, the company that first brought matte hardware to the table with the Game Boy over 20 years ago, is bringing our favorite bad console back into the spotlight with a controller…just gray? In my opinion, it is a waste.
Nintendo’s matte N64 controller is cool. I thought so when I was 7 years old and I still think so to this day. Nintendo calls these controllers its Funtastic line, while I call these “see-through” or simply “purple sets”. This controller is king in our family – you have a better chance of calling if you want a chance to use it. Even after many years of operation, it is our most used controller – the joystick fades, the buttons get stuck and all. This is a “player one” controller, never held by anyone in the last place in Mario Party or take too long to decide whether to switch Pokémon Stadium.
In my eyes, if you’re not playing with the atomic purple controller, what’s the point?
Wired staff writer Cecilia D’Anastasio beautifully describes the allure of fuzzy hardware in a story earlier this year, which led to this description of the Game Boy Color, the first console to be handled in 1998:
“Behind its translucent, lilac-colored plastic shell, all of the panel’s guts are laid out to be seen – button actuators, conductive membranes, needle-dotted green daughter panels kind, a bunch of colorful strings. Holding that Game Boy Color is like holding an X-ray: A set of straight and curved lines, phalanges and vertebrae – not all, but enough to make you consider the gap between knowable and unknowable, touchable and prohibited. When the screen lights up with Pikachu gliding, you can observe all that undetectable powering it. The shell has a permeable, almost porous feel; it seems to be an invitation to interaction. “
I like to imagine that’s what I used to be try spoke like a child as I raced to get this remote.
I only have purple, but we all know that this Nintendo line is quite extensive, including green, ice blue, grape purple, fire orange, and dark smoke black. It’s undeniably amazing there is a color option for everyone.
Transparency may no longer suit the style (it seems), but there are plenty of gamers chasing that look. Modders and amateurs are participating in modding for the first time install dimming cases on their Nintendo Switch for years. We still want to take a look inside our gaming gear!
Not including color options for older N64 controllers is an omission for Nintendo, especially if they drop before the holiday season. I was sure the Funtastic line would return in the future, whether it was an announcement trailer followed by a nine-month wait or they just stopped on a random Tuesday.
I’m still releasing N64 games on Switch – running through Yoshi’s story on a plane would be fun – but I needed that atomic purple to make this latest nostalgic hit from Nintendo absolutely perfect.