The 2021 Controller Collection Update

Last August, as I was preparing to move, it dawned on me just how many controllers I owned and managed to keep around in the apartment. While I’m not moving this year, I have definitely noticed an increase in swath of controllers I have lying around; all ready at a moments notice.

I had counted a total of 30 controllers last year. 2021 has brought an 90% increase of controllers into my home. The launch of new consoles and the looming threat of one shutting down sort of sparked this increase. I can’t really imagine this sort of bump being an annual thing, but that’s why we track my controller obsession, right? Right?

Here is the 2021 break down:

Current break down = 57

Nintendo Total = 33

  • NES Joy-Con = 2
  • SNES / SNES-Styled = 6
  • N64 / N64-Styled = 6
  • GameCube = 8
  • Wii = 4
  • Wii U = 1
  • Switch = 7 (Zelda and Ring Fit ring, not pictured)

PlayStation Total = 14

  • PS1 / PS1-Styled = 3
  • PS2 = 2
  • PS3 = 3
  • PS4 / PS VR = 5
  • PS5 = 1

Xbox Total = 2

  • Xbox Series X = 2

Miscellaneous Total = 7

  • 2 Oculus Quest 2 controller
  • Guitar Hero Live controllers (no dongles)
  • 1 Arcade Stick
  • 1 Six-Button Controller
  • 1 Stadia controller

First, let’s address those we lost this year. I ended up trading in both a secondary PS4 Pro and my original Xbox One to help buy my new Oculus Quest and a Nintendo Switch as a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, that required also parting with a controller. I parted with my beloved translucent red DualShock 4, since I couldn’t sell my Death Stranding or The Last of Us Part II controllers. The Xbox One was easy, since all I had was a controller with a busted left stick. I was reminded how glossy the D-Pad and face buttons were on those original Xbox controllers. I much prefer the matte finish on the modern Xbox controllers.

I also sold my steering wheel for the Xbox. It continued to take up space and I wanted to buy that Switch as a gift, so it seemed like a logical sale.

We gained a lot more though.

Under the Nintendo umbrella, I bought one of the Nintendo Switch Online N64 controllers. The last time I used a brand-new N64 controller was probably when I was 5-years-old in 1999, if not a younger age. It feels wonderful and familiar in my hands. I promise to never use my palm to spin the joystick around.

The GameCube also got a bump this year, but not in the traditional sense. I nabbed myself some DK Bongos with Christmas money last year. They were just something I felt I needed to own.

The Switch also had some new additions, but they unfortunately did not make the “family photo” this year. I bought the Skyward Sword Joy-Con when that game launched in the summer. They are also in a special stand from Rose Colored Gaming and I really did not want to remove them.

Then I just snagged a copy of Ring Fit Adventure during the holiday sales. While it could fall under the accessory category, I think the Ring Fit ring counts as a controller since it measures unique movement and input for the specific game.

Moving into the domain of PlayStation, the obvious new controller is the DualSense for the PS5. This controller is sensational. The heft, fit, and finish are remarkable. The haptics are truly immersive. Frankly, the Joy-Con are the only thing that come close with their “HD rumble.” If the Switch’s rumble is “HD” then the DualSense is 8K HDR rumble: It is a truly next-gen feature.

The other Sony bump comes in the form of two PS Move additions. I bought a PS Move Navigation controller for any PS Move games on my PS3. Alongside that, I bought the official gun accessory for PS Move so I could play Killzone 3 and Resistance 3 in 3D with the PS Move gun. Going for that true immersion feel back in the late PS3 era.

With the sale of the steering wheel and the busted Xbox One controller, my Xbox collection only gained a new Xbox Series X controller. Turns out I did not count the broken controller last year, which is why the total remains the same at a lowly two controllers.

PS5 and XSX weren’t the only new consoles I bought within the past year though. As I mentioned earlier, I recently purchased an Oculus Quest 2, which comes with two controllers. These are currently my favorite VR controllers. They are light, track incredibly well, and are powered with AA batteries. The touch sensitivity is slick and I enjoy them quite a bit more than the Vive or PS Move. I still have not had the chance to use the Index’s controllers and I am eagerly awaiting PS VR 2 sometime next year. 

I was also given a Google Staida kit(?) It was a new set up with a controller, Chromecast 4K, and the necessary cables. The controller has mostly sat in a drawer this year. Hard to imagine it making an appearance in the foreseeable future, unless Red Dead Redemption 2 magically goes on sale on Stadia and I try that out.

The last console I acquired this year was a MiSTer, which I totally love. It sits on my desk is a beautiful, black aluminum case and is connected to my CRT and a HD monitor. When I was originally building the MiSTer, I knew I wanted to play Ski Crazed from Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, Naughty Dog’s co-founders. It runs on the Apple II and requires a joystick controller. Combined with the MiSTer’s inherent support for arcade cabinet games, I decided to buy an 8BitDo Arcade Stick. I’m no arcade stick aficionado. I like the weight of this stick and the options for 2.4Ghz, Bluetooth, and wired play. It is also customizable, if I ever decide to venture down the path of arcade stick customization.

Another 8BitDo controller joined the collection as well. I bought a six-button Sega-styled controller for both my Switch and the MiSTer. I never had a Sega console growing up and never used one before. I enjoy the feel of the six-button and it makes my brain happy to have the controller for Sonic and Castlevania: Bloodlines.

When I wrote my little controller collection post last year, I truly did not expect a follow-up a year later, especially with such an increase. Maybe I’m being foolish, but I don’t expect another bump like this again next year. I think this past year I’ve really upped the ante with unique controllers. Between the Quest 2, an arcade stick, and the DualSense, I’ve got a bunch of fun ways to play new games. I boot up arcade games on my MiSTer and CRT every now and then and it feels transportive back to when I was a kid with arcade cabinets. Like I said last year, I think the controller is the way fully experience a game. I am really fortunate to have so many unique ways to play my games. I can enter a virtual world and play ping pong or feel the graininess of a sandy beach or blast away enemies in 3D. I love having options. We’ll see what kind of options I end up with next year.