The top 10 weirdest game controllers of all time

From a chainsaw to a bowling ball, here are the weirdest controllers used for games.

Image via PlayStation

Game controllers are crucial to any video game experience. They serve as the link between the player and the game, as well as define how we interact with the game itself. There have been many controllers that have come out over the years, such as the Wii Remote for the Wii, or the wireless controllers for Guitar Hero 3.

New iterations of controllers have introduced features such as ergonomic designs, motion controls, and touchpads. But there have been some controllers which didn’t quite hit the mark, and were more quirky than they were practical. Here are 10 of the weirdest game controllers that have ever been released, from least to most weird.

10) The Resident Evil 4 Chainsaw Controller

Image via Nintendo Wiki

NubyTech released a special chainsaw controller for Resident Evil 4, with a red chainsaw for PlayStation 2 players, and a yellow chainsaw for GameCube players. It is similar to the chainsaws used by the Chainsaw Ganado enemies.

While the controller looked great, and had the same rumble vibrations as a chainsaw, the button placement was less than optimal. The L and R buttons would be mapped on both chainsaw handles, while the rest of the buttons were mapped on the face of the actual controller. Moving the chainsaw itself didn’t add any value to the game, and it ended up being more trouble than using a regular controller.

9) Sega Dreamcast Fishing Rod Controller

Image via Double Jump Video Games

The Sega Dreamcast fishing rod controller was made with one game in mind, which was Sega Bass Fishing. It has a reel for pulling the fish in, and it was also capable of motion controls to move with the fish, and avoid breaking the line.

The controller was also compatible with other Dreamcast games, such as Soul Calibur, but it isn’t always the first option people think of when they want to play anything but a fishing game.

8) NES Power Glove

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The NES Power Glove controller was created for Super Glove Ball and Bad Street Brawler. While both of those games could be played with the regular NES controller at the time, there were certain moves in both games that could only be used if you had the NES Power Glove while playing.

While there were plans for more games to use the Power Glove, they were never released. Coupled with the lack of software support, it didn’t catch on despite selling a million units.

7) NES R.O.B.

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While not strictly a controller per se, R.O.B. was designed to be a second player for the NES system. It was compatible with the Gyromite and Stack-Up games. The idea was that optical flashes on the screen would be picked up by R.O.B., and it would respond through a series of presses to play the game.

Unfortunately, playing with R.O.B. turned out to be difficult as R.O.B.’s button inputs would be slow, and inputs could be incorrect if it misread the signals, which happened more often than not. Given the difficulty in playing with R.O.B., interest dwindled, and production was discontinued.

Despite the physical controller accessory not succeeding., R.O.B. continued to make appearances in other video games such as Super Smash Bros.

6) Steel Battalion

Image via Phoenix Games

In 2002, the Steel Battalion game was released on the Xbox and it gave players the actual experience of operating a mecha known as a “Vertical Tank.” Players had to use the special controller to do everything from avoiding turns, firing at enemies, and activating the mecha itself.

The game could not be played without the special controller, and there was a lot to do just to get the mecha moving in-game. It didn’t help that the controller wasn’t compatible with other games, meaning that only dedicated players were going to buy this controller.

5) Onimusha 3 Katana/Katana The Soul Controller

Image via Bonanza

The demon-slaying Onimusha 3 gained its own unique controller similar to the Resident Evil 4 chainsaw. This time, it’s the katana of the main character, Samanosuke Akechi. You were able to pull the sheath away to reveal a gray plastic blade, while the controls would be on the handle of the katana.

Unfortunately, the button layout on the handle wasn’t the most intuitive, and playing with the katana controller didn’t offer any additional benefits. It was more of a fancy collector’s item than it was a practical controller.

4) ASCII Keyboard Gamecube Controller

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While having keyboards when playing games isn’t unusual, having a keyboard on a controller is another matter. ASCII Corporation created a controller for Phantasy Star Online I & II, which was a regular controller with a keyboard in the middle, splitting the button layout in half.

Typing messages with the keyboard controller was easier, but actually holding and playing with the controller turned out to be more difficult. It also only worked with the two Phantasy Star Online games, and it couldn’t be used for other Gamecube games — it didn’t help that the controller was only released in Japan.

3) Wii Bowling Ball Controller

Image via New Atlas

When Wii Sports first came out, it was fun to use your Wii Remote for all of the different sports. Playing games like Wii Tennis or Wii Golf were enjoyable, and it was good at making you feel like you were holding a tennis racket or a golf club.

But if you want a more realistic bowling experience, you could get a Wii Bowling Ball controller. You can open the bowling ball to put your Wii Remote inside, then secure it with the strap to simulate an actual bowling experience. Unfortunately, outside of Wii Bowling, the controller wouldn’t be good for any other game.

2) Konami Laserscope

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When the Laser Invasion game came out, Konami released the Laserscope headset that could be used for the game. It also had the advantage of being used with any game that used the NES Zapper. It worked like a light gun; you would put it on your head, aim with the laser using the eyepiece, listen with headphones that connected to the console, and use a microphone for you to fire a laser with a voice command — which was just “Fire!”

The microphone would also accept any other noise as a signal to fire, which meant even external background noise could cause you to fire unintentionally. It also couldn’t be used to play other games that didn’t need the NES Zapper, meaning it could only be used for shooters.

1) Tony Hawk Ride Skateboard Controller

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Being able to skate like any of the skaters in a Tony Hawk game would be amazing, and the Tony Hawk Ride Skateboard controller tried to bring that experience to consoles. You would stand on the board and use it to perform tricks.

The appeal of being able to perform skateboard tricks without the normal risk of injury was great, but unfortunately, the controller would not always work properly and recognize the proper commands, making it almost useless compared to using an actual controller.