Gaming controllers are an essential part of any gaming setup, but not all controllers are created equal.
In fact, some gaming controllers are so bad that they make you question why they were ever created in the first place.
From awkward button placements to nonsensical designs, these controllers are the stuff of nightmares for gamers everywhere.
So, whether you’re looking for a laugh or want to revel in the shared misery of terrible gaming experiences, join us to explore the worst gaming controllers to avoid at all times.
The worst gaming controllers to avoid based on responsiveness, durability, and ease of use are Nintendo N64, Philips CDi, U-Force, Boomerang 64, and Power Glove.
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Table of Contents
Worst Gaming Controllers to Avoid
Now let’s discuss each of these bad controllers in detail and explain why you should avoid them.
|Controller||Description||Reasons to Avoid|
|Nintendo N64 Controller||A 3-pronged controller known for its poor design and confusing layout.||1. Awkward 3-pronged design. 2. Poorly placed analog stick. 3. Unintuitive button layout.|
|Philips CDi Controllers||The controller resembles a DVD remote, known for its awkward button layout.||1. Awkward button placement. 2. Difficult to use. 3. Absurdly-sized joystick.|
|Intel Wireless Series Gamepad||Controller resembles a DVD remote, known for its awkward button layout.||1. Unresponsive buttons. 2. Loose and imprecise joystick. 3. Poor battery life.|
|U-Force Controller||A “hands-free” controller that used infrared technology, leading to inaccuracies.||1. Inaccurate infrared sensors. 2. Lack of tactile feedback. 3. Exhausting to use.|
|Boomerang 64 Controller||Known for its uncomfortable shape and poor button layout.||1. Uncomfortable shape. 2. Poor button layout. 3. Lack of responsive feedback.|
|Duke (Original Xbox Controller)||A large and unwieldy controller with poor ergonomic design.||1. Oversized and uncomfortable design. 2. Poor button placement. 3. Lack of ergonomic design.|
|Power Glove||A wearable controller with impractical design and unresponsive buttons.||1. Difficult to use. 2. Limited game support. 3. Uncomfortable to wear.|
|Kinect||A motion-sensing peripheral known for its poor performance and lack of support.||1. Poor performance in low-light. 2. Limited developer support. 3. Inaccurate motion tracking.|
1. Nintendo N64 Controller
I remember the first time I held a Nintendo N64 controller in my hands.
I was excited to play one of my favorite games, Super Mario 64. However, as soon as I started playing, I realized how awkward and uncomfortable the controller was.
The 3-pronged design made it difficult to hold, and placing the analog stick in the center could have been a better choice.
My thumb would slip off the stick frequently, which made it frustrating to play games that relied on precise movements.
Moreover, the controller’s button layout was confusing and unintuitive. The A and B buttons were placed in a way that made it hard to reach both at the same time.
To make matters worse, the controller’s durability was subpar. The joystick would often become loose, causing it to drift or not respond properly, making games unplayable.
Additionally, the plastic casing of the controller would wear out quickly, making it look old and worn after only a few months of use.
While the Nintendo N64 was an innovative console for its time, the controller design left much to be desired.
It’s no wonder gamers criticized it for its awkward design and poor durability.
Reasons to Avoid
- Awkward and uncomfortable 3-pronged design
- Poor placement of the analog stick
- The confusing and unintuitive button layout
- Frustrating to use for extended periods
2. Philips CDi Controllers
The next on our list of bad gaming controllers to avoid is The Philips CDi console.
This controller had a lot going against it, and one of the major factors was its terrible controller.
The standard CDi joystick looked like a DVD remote, but the controls were oddly positioned on either side of the d-pad.
This made playing games with the controller a frustrating and uncomfortable experience. You had one hand free to rip out your hair in frustration. But that wasn’t even the worst of it.
The CDi Touchpad controller was another abomination entirely.
The size of its joystick was simply absurd. Many players could not reach the top while simultaneously operating the buttons with their other hand.
It’s hard to fathom who thought this was a good idea, and it only adds to the list of things that went wrong with the CDi.
Reasons to Avoid
- Awkward button placement
- Not easy to use
- Absurdly-sized joystick
3. Intel Wireless Series Gamepad
The Intel Wireless Series Gamepad is one controller I will never forget – and not for good reasons.
This controller was supposed to answer all our wireless gaming needs, but it ended up being one of the worst controllers for gaming I’ve ever used.
The first problem with the controller was its unresponsive buttons. No matter how hard I pressed, it always felt like I had to exert twice as much force to get it to register a command.
And when I did manage to get a button to work, it often registered multiple times, leading to frustrating gameplay.
But even worse than the unresponsive buttons was the terrible joystick.
It was so loose and imprecise that it made controlling my character feel like trying to drive a car with a broken steering wheel.
I often overcompensated for the loose joystick, leading to unnecessary deaths and failed missions.
On top of all this, the controller tended to lose its wireless connection, which led to even more frustrating moments in the middle of gameplay.
And to make matters worse, the battery life was terrible, often dying mid-game.
Reasons to Avoid
- Unresponsive buttons
- Bad Design
- Frequent wireless connection issues
- Poor battery life
4. U-Force Controller
The U-Force was a “hands-free” controller that used infrared technology to detect a player’s movements.
It promised to give gamers complete control over their games without the need for buttons or joysticks. Unfortunately, the reality was far from the dream.
The controller’s infrared sensors were incredibly finicky, making it difficult to get the controller to register your movements accurately.
This led to countless frustrating moments where your character would move in the wrong direction, or your attacks would miss their mark entirely.
But even when the controller did work correctly, it was far from an enjoyable experience.
The lack of tactile feedback made it difficult to know whether or not you were even pressing the right button. In addition, the need to wave your hands around wildly just to move your character quickly became exhausting.
Reasons to Avoid
- Inaccurate infrared sensors
- No tactile feedback
- Exhausting hand gestures
5. Boomerang 64 Controller
At first glance, the controller’s design looked like it had the potential to be comfortable and ergonomic.
However, as soon as I picked it up, I realized that the controller’s shape could have been more comfortable. It was like trying to hold a boomerang designed to be held upside down.
But even worse than the strange shape was the layout of the buttons. The joystick design was so bad that it made precise movements almost impossible.
To make matters worse, the controller lacked any rumble feedback, making games feel even more disconnected and unsatisfying.
And if you thought it couldn’t get any worse, the controller’s cord was absurdly short, which made it nearly impossible to play from a comfortable distance.
Overall, the Boomerang 64 Controller was a complete disaster. It’s no wonder it’s often considered one of the worst gaming controllers by many gamers worldwide.
Reasons to Avoid
- Awkward and uncomfortable shape
- Poor button layout
- Lack of responsive feedback
6. Duke (Original Xbox Controller)
While some people may have fond memories of this behemoth of a controller, it was a complete nightmare for me.
The sheer size of the thing was a major issue, requiring hands that were practically as big as basketballs to handle it comfortably.
And even if you did have giant hands, the lack of any ergonomic design made the controller incredibly uncomfortable to use for extended periods. It was clunky, awkward, and just plain unwieldy.
Looking back on it now, it’s hard to believe that anyone thought this was a good design for a gaming controller.
But thankfully, over the years, we’ve seen massive improvements in controller design, with more ergonomic shapes and intuitive button layouts becoming the norm.
While “The Duke” may hold a special place in the hearts of some gamers, for me, it will always be remembered as one of the worst gaming controllers of all time.
Reasons to Avoid
- Oversized and uncomfortable design
- Button placement not optimized for gameplay
- Lack of ergonomic design
7. Power Glove
The wearable device attempted to revolutionize gaming by placing the controller’s buttons on the forearm and allowing players to control the screen using hand gestures.
However, the execution of this idea fell short, resulting in a bulky and cumbersome controller that ultimately failed to deliver on its promise.
In addition to its impractical design, the Power Glove also had numbered buttons that were difficult to use and often unresponsive.
This controller serves as a cautionary tale for the gaming industry, a reminder that innovation is not always the key to success.
Sometimes, focusing on creating a functional and user-friendly gaming experience is more important.
Reasons to Avoid
- Difficult to use accurately and consistently
- Limited range of games supported
- Required specific calibration for each game
- Uncomfortable to wear for extended periods
The Kinect was marketed as a revolutionary gaming peripheral that would completely change the way we interact with our games. However, it was one of the worst video game controllers ever released.
Poor performance in dim light and a dearth of developer support ultimately doomed the gadget.
Microsoft’s decision to include the Kinect 2.0 with the release of the Xbox One only served to justify the console’s price increase and cost the company millions of dollars in sales.
As a result, the PlayStation 4 was able to leapfrog the Xbox One as the best-selling console of its generation.
The difference in sales numbers between the 2 consoles clearly indicates the Kinect’s failure as a gaming peripheral.
Reasons to Avoid:
- Poor performance in low-lighting conditions
- Lack of support from developers
- Limited game library
- Unresponsive and inaccurate motion tracking
A bad controller can make or break a gaming experience.
From the awkward and uncomfortable Nintendo N64 controller to the frustrating and unresponsive Intel Wireless Series Gamepad, these are the worst gaming controllers to avoid.
While these controllers may have seemed like a good idea at the time, their poor design, inaccurate sensors, and frequent connection issues make them a terrible choice for any gaming setup.
So, if you want to avoid bad gaming experiences, steer clear of these controllers.
Crystal Hafley is a dedicated writer and content creator for WorstBrands, where she specializes in writing insightful reviews about kitchen appliances and fashion products.
With her expertise, Crystal provides readers with accurate and reliable information to help them make informed decisions about the brands and products they use every day. When she's not researching or writing, Crystal enjoys cooking and exploring the latest fashion trends.