Consoles and Controllers

I have a fair number of game consoles. Not too many, I'm pretty happy with my collection at the moment. And unless prices in the retro games market drop significantly, I'm probably not getting back into collecting consoles any time soon.

However, I absolutely LOVE getting my hands on and trying out all sorts of different controllers. I would say that one of the main reasons I play video games in the first place is to give me an excuse to use a controller. I'm not sure I can even properly explain why. There's just something so satisfying about holding a physical object in your hands, that you can interact with and feel physical feedback from, and for that real life physical interaction to be reflected as in-game actions. It's just a feeling I'll never get tired of, whether it's pressing buttons to the music in a rhythm game, or doing a motion input for a special move in a fighting game, all the different ways to use it feel so satisfying to me.

I know some people have their one go-to controller, usually an Xbox 360/One or Dualshock controller, that they use for everything, whether it's 2D or 3D and regardless of genre. But for me, I'm borderline obsessed with finding the dedicated controller for different types of games, which has led me to accumulating a fairly sizeable collection.

Here is every single console and game controller I own at the moment. I will update this page as I add more to my collection.

Sega Saturn

Release Date: November 22, 1994

Model: HST-3220 White, Japanese

Favourite Games: Fantasy Zone, Dynamite Cop

My Thoughts
Sega Saturn: I actually started collecting Sega Saturn games LONG before I ever got the console. I was always planning to get it eventually, but I really liked collecting Japanese Saturn games because they're relatively affordable, and are sold in a CD jewel case, which looks great on the shelf, and makes it easier to find complete in box compared to other retro consoles at the time (mostly Nintendo, who sold their games in cardboard boxes which were often thrown away.) To be honest, there's not much in the Saturn library, at least that I've played, that I would really call a favourite. However, the Saturn has always had a weird place in my heart, and I find it hard to describe why. Firstly, I adore the design of the actual console. That might sound kind of strange - basically every console is just a box that plays games, and the Saturn is pretty much exactly that and not much more. But that minimalism is kind of like what drew me to it. It's simple, yet slick design, is to me the platonic ideal of what a game console should look like. It is the most "game console" game console of all time. I've probably gotten more out of my Saturn by looking at it than I have playing it. I know that sounds really strange, but I'm just really into the designs of consoles!! And the Saturn is easily my favourite. Another thing that makes me love the Saturn is....
I had wanted a Gameboy Color for a very long time, ever since I played a Donkey Kong Land game on my cousin's console when I was very very young. I think the idea of being able to play games anywhere I wanted, to be able to carry an entire games console in my pocket, was fascinating to my tiny young mind. Also, I just think the design of it was simple, but really cool. I liked that it was available in so many different colours, but purple is still definitely my favourite, and was the model my cousin had. Years later, when I got my first job, I finally tracked down a Gameboy Color. I had also bought a bunch of bulk Gameboy games a few days before getting the console.

I really love the design of the GBC. While I like the design of the original Gameboy, it very much looks like a relic of its time, like an Apple II computer in handheld form. The Color on the other hand, is much sleeker, with a smaller, ergonomic shape. All the different colours (which technically started with the Gameboy Pocket) made it feel like not just a console, but a fashion accessory that you could express yourself with, and the advertising really leaned into that.

The Gameboy Color wasn't perfect though, and when I finally started playing, I was pretty disappointed. First of all, THE SCREEN!! Maybe I just got filtered, but the screen on the Color is so ass!! Maybe people back in the day could put with it, but being used to backlit screens for so long, I just cannot deal with the shitty screen. I tried replacing the original screen with a backlit one, but I somehow fucked it up and the colours won't display correctly, so my Gameboy Color is pretty much broken...
Also, the face buttons and D-pad are super mushy and don't feel very good. But ehhh it's such an old, tiny system, what can you really expect?

My favourite games for it are probably Donkey Kong Land 2, Yoshi (the puzzle game), and Mario Tennis, which is actually one of my favourite games ever. I'll definitely play it more if I ever get around to fixing the screen.

I got an original Gameboy Advance too. I know that the SP is pretty much objectively better than the original GBA, since it has a lights on the screen, and the clampshell design protects the screen from scratches and dust, but I just thought the original had such a coooooool design. And it's super ergonomic too, it feels great in the hands, and the shoulder buttons are so nice to press. The d-pad and buttons are tiny, and still a bit mushy but definitely an improvement from the Color. What brings the GBA down though is once again, the unlit screen... it's just so fucking bad...

In hindsight, I probably should have just bought an SP, I would have definitely gotten more use out of it with the better screen. I'll eventually install a backlit screen on my GBA, eventually...

DS and 3DS Family

I'm putting the DS family of consoles in order of when I got them, not order of release.

My first DS console was the DSi XL, which is an absolutely fantastic handheld. I got this is in Singapore along with an R4 cartridge that was absolutely packed with games (an R4 cartridge let you download ROMs on your computer and play them on your DS). Unfortunately, the R4 stopped working after a system update, and when I tried to update the firmware on my PC, I ended up formatting the SD card. That was really disappointing, but I still have a small collection of DS games, most of which are Pokemon games that I occasionally play on this.

Design-wise, this is pretty much the perfect handheld in my opinion? Small enough to be portable, but big enough to fit comfortably in my adult hands. The screens are also both fantastic, and the definitive way to play DS games in my opinion.

Quick tangent, a lot of people play DS games on one of the 3DS family of handhelds, which is like..... FINE but the 3DS screens looks completely different from the original DS, and it makes DS games look super fuzzy unless you play in a pixel perfect resolution, which makes the games tiny. If you can, play DS games on a DS system! Not 3DS! Or do whatever you want i dont care

Anyway sorry back to the design. The buttons on the XL are perfect. Feel so nice to press with a silent, satisfying click. And this goes for every button, even including the power button, shoulder buttons, start and select, and the volume buttons.

The only complaint I really have for this is that in the DS lite you could adjust the brightness right from the home screen, while on the XL you had to go into the settings each time. I adjust brightness constantly on every screen I use, so this was pretty annoying. That's pretty much it though. The DSi included a lot of new features from the Lite that I'm sure a lot of people found superfluous: the sound and photo editors, Flipnote to make animations, and the web browser - me and my sister actually got a bunch of use out of these. I don't touch these features at all nowadays, but before we got smartphones or tablets, this was the closest thing we had and were really fun to mess around with.

I was sooooooo excited for Pokemon X and Y, I BEGGED my dad for a 2DS