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Got it MADE?; Nintendo 64 controller origins
Topic Started: Jan 30 2016, 04:29 PM (6,839 Views)
No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
danilochka
 
I figured I could help chip in from a PAL perspective.

I also have a made in JAPAN grey controller, which I got with my near launch console in the UK - ~June 1997.

On the side of the console box it states that the 5 coloured controllers will be made separately available in the second-half of 1997. This implies that the grey controller was available to buy individually from launch (1stMarch 1997) and my assumuption is that the others were released the same day as Mario Kart 64 (13th June 1997) tho I've yet to find confirmation of that.

As you know, the key difference with the European controllers is the ferrite bead, or kludge as we like to call it here. Initally they were sold coated in rubber, before a second version was released with just the plastic housing, before finally removing it all together.

My launch grey controller has the rubber coating, and I have seen examples of all 5 solid coloured controllers with the rubber coating too. Sadly I don't own any of these versions, so it is possible that they were also made in Japan, but I have extensively researched the back of their boxes and they always state that they were made in China.

I got a red controller for Christmas 1997 (box code C/NUS-A-CR-UKV-1) and it was just the plastic housing, meaning that the change happened early on. Both the controller itself and the back of the box state that it was made in CHINA. As a side note, just above this the controller is referred to as Model No. : NUS-005A (box only), however this only seems to apply to the plastic kludge version as the other 2 are both referred to as Model No. : NUS-005 in my experince.
And it is an interesting perspective mate!

I'd have to believe that a seperate grey controller was available at U.K. launch, and following this launch.
We can still consider the rubber ferrite MIJ Grey controller part of the "1st Wave"- which i anticipated would happen. If and when a seperate Grey U.K. controller shows up from this time frame, it should have all the signs of our MIJ example above. :yeah:

This would only leave a very small window for other subsequent controller colors to have the rubber Kludge... :mellow:


danilochka
Feb 10 2016, 08:19 AM
As a side note, just above this the controller is referred to as Model No. : NUS-005A (box only), however this only seems to apply to the plastic kludge version as the other 2 are both referred to as Model No. : NUS-005 in my experince.

Are you referring to the other 2 as the PAL N64 controllers with the "plastic" Kludge, and the ones without one?

I didn't even know PAL controllers stopped using them at some point!
Awesome stuff!
Edited by No64DD, Feb 10 2016, 12:01 PM.
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cell
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I purchased two new and boxed, spare grey PAL controllers around launch. One shortly after launch day, the other later, around the release of Mario Kart 64.
Both, for certain, had the rubber type Kludge. Both were made in China.
(sadly, no photos, as they were both "de-Kludged" by my dog :D. Though, other than that, one of them is still in perfect condition)
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No64DD
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:eh: !!

Sometimes i'm glad to be a cat person:-8

Then it looks like the U.K. console launch N64 controller is the only one MADE IN JAPAN!
HOW STRANGE!

Thanks for clearing this up cell. I hope the rest of Europe will go as smoothly.
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danilochka
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Yeah I can confirm that not all rubber kludges = made in Japan. I've checked another console I have from later in 1997, and its controller is also grey with a rubber kludge but this time is says made in China.

Since cell can confirm the individual grey controllers were made in China from launch, it's likely that the only the launch consoles contained made in Japan controllers, for the UK & Ireland at least.

Nevertheless here's a table of all the individual controller releases as well as any console bundles (denoted in brackets) for the European* PAL controllers variants in a rough timeline by their first appearance:
*note: the Australian controllers are all kludge-less.

ControllerKludgeDateMade in...
Grey (w/ launch console)rubber01-mar-1997Japan
Greyrubber01-mar-1997China

Grey (w/ console)rubber~ may-1997China
Blackrubber13-jun-1997-
Bluerubber13-jun-1997-
Greenrubber13-jun-1997-
Redrubber13-jun-1997-
Yellowrubber13-jun-1997-

Grey (w/ console)plastic< dec-1997China
Blackplastic< dec-1997China
Blueplastic< dec-1997-
Greenplastic< dec-1997-
Greyplastic< dec-1997-
Redplastic< dec-1997China
Yellowplastic< dec-1997-

Gold (w/ Limited Edition console)plasticmar-1998China

Grey (w/ console)none???-
Blacknone???China
Bluenone???-
Greennone???-
Greynone???-
Rednone???-
Yellownone???-
Clear Purplenone???-1999-

Color Edition: Black (w/ console)none15-oct-1999-
Color Edition: Blue (w/ console)none15-oct-1999-
Color Edition: Green (w/ console)none15-oct-1999-
Color Edition: Purple (w/ console)none15-oct-1999-
Color Edition: Orange (w/ console)none15-oct-1999-
Color Edition: Red (w/ console)none15-oct-1999-

Pokémon (w/ UK Battle Set)none07-apr-2000-
Pokémon (w/ Pikachu Nintendo 64)none15-sep-2000-

Clear Blue (w/ console)none02-may-2001-
Clear Bluenone02-may-2001-

Edited by danilochka, Feb 10 2016, 12:21 PM.
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No64DD
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:o

I swear i've seen the EUR Blue/Clear controller with a plastic Kludge. Am i wrong?
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cell
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Thats an interesting table, danilochka.
I would not have guessed that the plastic replacement Kludge was in place as early as December 97.

So, No64DD, if only launch day consoles contained a MIJ grey controller in box (at least, for the UK & Ireland, as pointed out by danilochka) we could be looking at a more clear time frame as to when production of the MIJ controllers ended?

Still, wasnt the MIJ Daiei Hawks N64 controller released in 1999? So the MIJ were being made up till this point, at least? Just not in mass production?

This is good stuff :yeah:
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Thanks to Danilochka's grid, there is a clear pattern forming. It looks like U.K. PAL MIJ didn't even make it to the colored controllers!

As for the Daiei Hawks controller...

Let's start by explaining that this controller's name is paraphrased.
The Fukuoka Daiei Hawks (currently Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks)- is a japanese baseball team that was owned by the DAIEI Supermarket chain. This team ended up winning the Pacific League Pennant, and then the 1999 Japan Series (equivelant to the World Series) in late October 1999. To celebrate and honor this win, Nintendo released the specially colored console/controller to be sold at their Daiei store locations.
With that said, i want to say- early 2000 ;)
Edited by No64DD, Feb 19 2016, 03:24 PM.
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danilochka
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If it helps the Daiei Hawks console was released 26-sep-1999.

I've never seen a Clear Blue controller with a plastic kludge before, it's my understanding that they were only added due to European health & safety laws, but they weren't really necessary so were gradually phased out.
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No64DD
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@danilochka, it does help.
I have a tendency to speak off the cuff, and i was mistaken. My apologies.
As much as i try to encompass the Yang, you are the Yin of :n64: 64

@Vinyl, thanks for the pics! I'm not sure what to make of your third pic, but nevertheless, post #1 is updated. :)
Edited by No64DD, Feb 19 2016, 09:00 PM.
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cell
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@No64DD, you may well have seen such a controller, "EUR Blue/Clear controller with a plastic Kludge".
If so, it would probably have been the result of an N64 controller chop shop alteration (some-ones non-kludge, clear blue gets cable damage and is repaired with a kludged cable)

I hope were all on the same page when I say that the only MIJ controllers that should be included as examples here, are models that we can personally vouch for and by that I mean controllers who's provenance is in no doubt.

Besides the MIJ imprint on the front of the MIJ model, there is also other physical differences. But perhaps I say too much.
No64DD is playing his cards close to his chest on this one ;) , I feel, so I leave it up to him to dictate the speed of this threads progress.
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No64DD
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Thanks cell,
It's another one of those instances where in i know what i saw... but what i saw was just an image. Most likely ebay. I'm only from NTSC land, but i know what i saw.
At the time when i saw the Kludge on the EUR PAL Blue/Clear controller, i said to myself- So that's the way of distinguishing them from the JPN version!

Again, i have to say as of now , it does not fit our formula represented on this thread. I will honor that fact.

Let it ride. :lol:
Edited by No64DD, Feb 20 2016, 08:53 PM.
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Vinyl
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No64DD
Feb 19 2016, 03:29 PM
@Vinyl, thanks for the pics! I'm not sure what to make of your third pic, but nevertheless, post #1 is updated. :)
You are right. This should be way better, I used a mirror to reflect the logo of Mac and Geoffrey.

Hello Mac Controller:
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Geoffrey Controller:
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https://www.consolevariations.com/
The Ultimate Console Database

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No64DD
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Thanks for the revision Vinyl! It definately gives the Black/Grey controllers some provenance.

I'm on it.
Edited by No64DD, Feb 22 2016, 06:24 PM.
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LinusHofmann
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Quote:
 

Upon closer look, the board inside is also made by HORI, and a standard N64 joystick housing, with the exception of having a black base.
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This is interesting, in my garbage man adventures of collecting worn out joystick modules to refurbish I've come across a whole bunch with black cases/bottoms. Didn't think much of it or check the board to verify anything before tearing them apart. Didn't notice anything different with them generally so I just assumed that some controllers were released with those.

Are they definitely from Lodgenet controllers if they are black or were some genuine Nintendo modules also released with black cases?

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No64DD
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Hello there,

I can't really recall either, but if you say you've seen them- you seen them...

I assumed it's what set my N64 style Lodgenet controller apart from normal thumbstick housings.
I cannot confirm the Hori Lodgnet version.

I suppose we can eliminate all transparent controllers of a black housing base?

I'm not certain, but you got me thinking- the real kicker here could be that you'll find examples of this in only the controllers that were MADE IN CHINA.
where's my screwdriver? :eh: X_D

@Linus, thanks for the input!
You must tell us how us how you turned a thumbstick into a chromed-out GO-BOTS™ wheel! :w00t:
Edited by No64DD, Feb 22 2016, 08:30 PM.
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LinusHofmann
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Here's some photographic evidence of the black cases I've collected.

I can't really see anything different apart from the colour of the case and serial numbers on the board. They could well have come from lodgenet controllers (I didn't extract them from controllers myself, just bought a big lot of worn thumbsticks that included them) Maybe I could ask the person I bought them from where they came from.


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and here side by side with a grey standard case.

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Note: I've also come across 2 different shades of grey material for the case (apart from black). There's a darker grey and a lighter more tan colour. So there was definitely some variation over the years or maybe between different batches / factories. Also the white cup material changed at least once, from a chalkier white to a more translucent white material. I assumed that was done at some point to try and slow down the degradation problem. Or perhaps to exacerbate it? who knows hehe :phear:

Fascinating stuff I know (where is my sarcasm emote?) :)

The "chrome-ing" and "Go-Bot-ting" is happening over here! :) Linky





Edited by LinusHofmann, Feb 22 2016, 09:47 PM.
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TofuJunky87
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Thought I would try to make a contribution on this thread, since I didn't see this controller listed.

My newly acquired NTSC "Atomic Purple" controller. I believe this is not categorized as a funtastic. You can see it is Made in China. This either came with an NTSC N64 console bundle, or was purchased separately.

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Current 64 Collection: Grey, Jungle, Fire, Ice, Smoke, Watermelon, Grape, Gold, JP Blue/Clear, Daiei Hawks
Current Game Count: 324
Current Controller Count: 32

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sanni
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The black thumbstick cases are regulary found in standard Nintendo N64 controllers. And the dark grey cases are from the last batch of controllers and also feature a shorter thumbstick cable.
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LinusHofmann
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sanni
Feb 23 2016, 07:01 AM
The black thumbstick cases are regulary found in standard Nintendo N64 controllers. And the dark grey cases are from the last batch of controllers and also feature a shorter thumbstick cable.
Ah, good to know. Strange that I've never come across one in the 30 or so controllers I've disassembled in my time. Just got another batch of worn joystick modules today and sure enough about 10% of them were black again. :unsure:

Also interesting to know about the case colour and manufacture time, I noticed the shorter wires on some, thanks Sanni.

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No64DD
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@Tofu, you're right. Atomic Purple isn't a Funtastic! color. I will add this distinction to the list. Thanks. :yeah:

I like where everyone's head is at! You took the thread in a different tangent. I appreciate that. It is interesting.
@Linus, you have yourself a LOT of parts! I think it's great what you did with the thumbstick. It would be nice to try one on Mario Kart 64.

With all of the internal discussion going on, i took the liberty to carefully open the NMI Red controller, and wouldn't ya know... Black base/case!
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I know sanni is an internals expert and i thank him for his input.
Once again i wasn't expecting to find this in a MIJ controller.

Does anything else look different to anyone?

With the amount of pieces Linus has, it's entirely possible that some could also be from normal Lodgenet controllers. I've seen boxes and boxes of used/unused LN controllers from hotels. Some are still being used today!

Anyway, if the placement of the black case is random, it's funny that they still had the wherewithal to leave them out of transparent controllers.
Interesting indeed.
Not to worry, i'll run the e3 97 controller through an X-Ray machine before ever opening it.
:)
Edited by No64DD, Feb 23 2016, 12:44 PM.
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sanni
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The internals are quite interesting.

Here is a picture of the dark grey case with shorter thumbstick cable. There is also a legend claiming those thumbsticks wouldn't wear out as quickly.

Also there were at least two revisions of the controller pcb.

And several color variations of the rubber pads like the R button was made in both an orange and grey variant, and the Z button in light and dark blue and probably some other variations too.

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LinusHofmann
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Feb 23 2016, 12:29 PM
There is also a legend claiming those thumbsticks wouldn't wear out as quickly.
I can believe there may be some truth to that legend, at least in terms of how it relates to the two different cup materials I mentioned earlier.

I just picked two random modules, one dark gray and the other tan. What do you know, they have different cup materials!
Could be chance but I'll keep an eye out for it while I disassemble more in the future.

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The dark gray module has the cup material that's slightly denser (~0.2g heavier), less translucent (darker and slightly yellower) and more rigid. The other one feels like it is made of a different plastic and is lighter and more slippery to the touch (less chalky feeling).

Seems they did do something to try and affect the durability of the joystick at some point. It didn't really work but I can believe that one or the other might be slightly more durable when compared side by side.



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cell
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LinusHofmann beat me to it :D

Sorry for the late response here, since my last post, No64DD but my phone (a therefore camera) is on the blink and I can not upload the pictures that I want.

So, basically, all MIJ controllers that I have seen over the years (and I speak here only of those that I can personally verify as authentic), have a black back to the analogue stick case.
Without exception.
Conversely, I have never seen a MIC controller, (again, that I could personally vouch for), that had this black backing.

The different shades of grey/dark grey, I have not seen, so I can not speak on that. Very interesting.


(p.s. If the photos are still of use, I will upload them as soon as I can)
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No64DD
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@cell, i have the same problems.
Any content is welcome. Knowing you're from the U.K. makes a difference. :yeah:
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Nillew
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Hi No64DD
Nice work :yeah:

Well, I can talk about the brazilian N64 controllers.

6 Traditional = Made in Japan
6 Multi Sabores = Made in Japan
Atomic Purple = Made in Japan
Golden (ISS64 Edition '98) = I can not confirm yet :-/ But it is very likely to be Made in Japan too
Just another admirer of the best videogame of all time =D
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No64DD
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Hey pal. Long time! Good to see you.

Amazing!
There have only been a few members from Brazil on this site, and you are one of them. Thanks for the news. :yeah:

There is some unique items down there! Not much has been known, but i hear that even the internal components of these controllers are different as well.

Looks like i have editing to do. :)

Any pics by chance?
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Nillew
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haha Thanks!

I have "dozens" of images. I would like to send to you by email.
Just another admirer of the best videogame of all time =D
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TofuJunky87
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Does anyone know about Extreme Green's place of birth?
Current 64 Collection: Grey, Jungle, Fire, Ice, Smoke, Watermelon, Grape, Gold, JP Blue/Clear, Daiei Hawks
Current Game Count: 324
Current Controller Count: 32

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No64DD
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The Extreme Green is MADE IN CHINA. Only available at Toys R Us, there was also a console bundle that came after the initial NTSC release, so most likely MIC in both versions.
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No64DD
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Sorry for the delay. My fault. :-8

Our brazillian native Nillew has informed this thread, and sent pics of a distant relative to the MIJ family!
I give you Vermelho- the Nintendo/Playtronic Red Brazilian N64 controller.

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Since we were on the topic of internals, check this out...

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This is certainly a first! From the box to the chipboard, it seems Nintendo and PLAYTRONIC covered every corner. There is no mistaking this controller in any aspect. This should have been the benchmark. It is the epitome of detail.
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You are keeping it real in Rio! :yeah:

I see some similar labels when compared to the NMI controller... not sure at the moment what it means, but it's awesome!!

Saúde!

more to come!






Edited by No64DD, Feb 24 2016, 06:40 PM.
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