The PlayStation Controller You Never Got To Use

Yesterday, we looked at the PlayStation controllers that Sony has released (or in the Boomerang's case seriously intended to release) to the public. Today, we're looking at one that never made it.

Before the PlayStation was released in 1994, development kits had to be sent to studios to ensure games would be ready for the console's launch. The first of these kits, codenamed MW.3, was so raw and incomplete that it lacked either sound hardware or a working CD drive (instead having to make do with a CD emulator).

It also shipped with this prototype control pad.

Looks a lot like a Super Nintendo control pad, doesn't it? That shouldn't be so surprising, given the fact Sony was once planning on partnering with Nintendo to release the PlayStation (if you don't know this story, we'll be covering it soon on Total Recall), but what is surprising is story of how this controller, and not Teiyu Goto's iconic design, nearly became standard issue for all PlayStation consoles.

David from the amazing PlayStation Museum was kind enough to contact us today to share these images of the "beta" controller, which rather than Gotu's forward-thinking design was instead rooted deeply in the past. Looking for all the world like an upside-down SNES controller, it also differs from the final design in that the L2 and R2 buttons are not triggers.

Instead, they appear as face buttons, the thinking clearly being that the games popular at the time - like Street Fighter - were what the pad should be based around, and not the 3D games the PlayStation would be capable of in the future.

Apparently, PlayStation boss Ken Kutaragi preferred this "beta" design to Gotu's effort, which he turned down, and it was only a direct order from Sony president Norio Ohga that saw the controller we know (and sometimes even love) today given the green light to be included with the PlayStation.

For more pics of early hardware like this, head over to the PlayStation Museum.

Total Recall is a look back at the history of video games through their characters, franchises, developers and trends.


    The + & - buttons are useless as they are located in a weird position.
    The best 6 button joypads are Sega Genesis/Megadrive & Saturn's 6 button joypad

    Nintendo copied the + and - buttons from this controller!

    Sony: 1
    Nintendo: 8

    Having a "+" as well as an "X" button would have been pretty confusing for some people I would think...

    and the "+ & -" buttons are just as 'useless' as the 'White' and 'Black' buttons were on the original X-box... Though I think everyone prefers the shoulder-bumpers to the White/Black business, and with good reason :-P

    Notice the diamond arrangement of the buttons? It made it easy to press 2 or 3 buttons at the same time in SNES games. On the PS controller it's next to impossible to press 3 buttons at once--even 2 is a challenge because of the distance between them.

    The PS controller has always been a flawed design and despite all the revisions, none corrected the basic flaws of the first.

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