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Got it MADE?; Nintendo 64 controller origins
Topic Started: Jan 30 2016, 04:29 PM (6,836 Views)
No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
I want to thank everyone that has contributed to this thread here!
It has only been 3 pages, but the amount driven from it is enough to melt your FACE!!
Edited by No64DD, May 13 2016, 05:24 PM.
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No64DD
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LinusHofmann
May 12 2016, 06:46 PM
Hmm the hori commander, those are also interesting. They use completely standard OEM joystick modules do they?


@Linus, Yes. I checked the Clear White Commander N64 controller and you can easily see that they are just normal thumbstick housings.
They really are interesting controllers. Like all HORI N64 controllers, it takes some getting used to but you can tell that real thought went into making them!
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cell
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No64DD
May 12 2016, 08:37 PM
I want to thank everyone that has contributed to this thread here!
It has only been 3 pages, but the amount driven from it is enough to melt your FACE!!
And thank you for starting this thread, No64DD :yeah:
Some fantastic information here.
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LinusHofmann
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If you think this should go somewhere else let me know.

--

I got my Hudson/Joycard controller today so I did a quick teardown.

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The joystick module case is very unique and has a special shape allowing it to rotate. There's no screw tabs, instead a large spring holds the module down and registers it against a serrated pattern. Lifting the stick up by the cap raises the whole module and allows it to rotate through about 30°.

Internally the joystick is identical to a normal one.
Made in Japan as pointed out earlier.
Interesting stuff.

##################################################################################
Many more photos here.
Joycard Teardown Album

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Edited by LinusHofmann, May 26 2016, 10:40 AM.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
@Linus, yeah it's good here. :yeah:

That is one awesome japanese MADE IN JAPAN N64 controller!
I imagine the reason they made it swivel was for comfort? For players who use the thumbstick while holding onto the left handle.
There isn't much to the left/right handles on these controllers, but i've seen people play like that. It's funny.

Now the more i think about it, could be useful for powersliding in MK64!
It will be interesting to see how you upgrade it.
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LinusHofmann
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Yeah I think that's probably why they wanted to make a swivel able stick.
The way I have my left hand oriented on the middle prong my thumb is perfectly straight so I find doing straight horizontal input arcs very natural. But if you hold the controller a bit more loosely with your hand to the left of the central prong then it might just be useful.

I'm actually quite liking the stubby arms, they're weird but give a good sense of authority over the buttons when gripped. Most suited to a control style where the controller is tilted quite far away from you.
Not too sure about the extra hump near the Zbutton though :P

The stick is basically new so I probably won't be upgrading it, I like the novelty of it so I think I'll leave this one stock.
It's also a pain to open and close this controller because of the spring and unusual z-button bracket.

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LinusHofmann
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Mystery solved?

Check out the case style of the stick in one of these competition pro controllers.

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Definitely looks like one of my mystery modules.

I've never used one of these controllers but the cap looks different (i.e not genuine) while my strange modules have a completely normal stick/cap. Could these controllers be using joystick modules designed to be clones of my modules? Or do I indeed have a very high quality clone module with this style case.



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No64DD
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I think you've found the culprit!
The cap looks normal to me. It's hard to tell from that photo but the housing looks to have those dents as well.

I guess there's one way to find out.
It sure is ugly, but has turbo camera C buttons. So strange!
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LinusHofmann
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Well I didn't buy one myself but courtesy of a guy on twitter we have teardown photos of the Competition Pro Controller.

The case looks similar to my mystery stick but it's not quite the same and internally it's clearly a knockoff of an OEM stick. Many small differences, the kind of stuff I'd expect to see from a copy.

PCB is also quite different not to mention the wires are directly soldered to the main board.

Teardown Gallery of Competition Pro Controller by Ogran

Could this competition pro be a ripoff based on my mystery OEM stick? That would explain the similar case design?
The mystery deepens :coffee:
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No64DD
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LinusHofmann
Jun 12 2016, 07:10 AM

Could this competition pro be a ripoff based on my mystery OEM stick? That would explain the similar case design?

Or maybe the other way around! But which 3rd party controller(s)?
I always enjoy a good mystery, but this one is beyond me.
Edited by No64DD, Jun 12 2016, 08:20 AM.
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No64DD
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Ladies and Gentlemen,

There has been a controller that was known of and floated around here for quite a while, but it was our member SoloJones, who shot first with the excellent exposure of the NOA Product Testing 99' N64 controller!
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With this pic, it now confirms the suspicion i had that the chances were good that this controller was also MADE IN JAPAN, making it another storied piece of the Black/Grey line of N64 controllers. Awesome!

The Black/Grey line is nearly complete and MIJ confirmed thanks to everyone's effort on this thread!

And thank you again Mr. Solo. :yeah:
Edited by No64DD, Jun 13 2016, 11:09 AM.
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No64DD
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In honor of the opening ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro, i thought it would be good to add another MIJ controller thanks to our member Nillew!

Please finally welcome the Brazillian Grey standard Playtronic/Gradiente Nintendo 64 controller. 🎉

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I love the extent Brazil went into authenticicating their own products. MADE IN JAPAN in both console and seperate scenarios.
I certainly had a great experience bringing these controllers to our forum thanks to Nillew, that took me on an awesome journey through the unique Nintendo 64 history in South America.

I've hoped that you all enjoy the work on this thread so far.
Go Rio! Um mundo novo!Posted Image
Edited by No64DD, Aug 10 2016, 06:56 PM.
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CobraMJD
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That's great! I think it is awesome this kind of registration of "our" products, since this is not well done on brazilian forums/websites, even the wikipedia is very poor in portuguese, specially in games.
Both Snes and N64 had official release with more effort, I also have GameCube but it was just imported, meanwhile Snes and N64 had translated materials and stuff.

Even I discovered recently that brazilian N64 received some exclusive games on all American Continent, including games in Portuguese. Probably most of you already know 'em all, but maybe many could find good games exclusively brought to Brazil frfom Europe or Japan because of unique market preference, and the PAL-M is just like NTSC, so probably works well, so I with to see more finds, and the spread of information! :yeah:
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:n64: Posted Image: 30/198
:n64: Posted Image: 2/???
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Nillew
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No64DD
Aug 5 2016, 08:54 PM
In honor of the opening ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro, i thought it would be good to add another MIJ controller thanks to our member Nillew!

Please finally welcome the Brazillian Grey standard Playtronic/Gradiente Nintendo 64 controller. 🎉

Posted Image

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I love the extent Brazil went into authenticicating their own products. MADE IN JAPAN in both console and seperate scenarios.
I certainly had a great experience bringing these controllers to our forum thanks to Nillew, that took me on an awesome journey through the unique Nintendo 64 history in South America.

I've hoped that you all enjoy the work on this thread so far.
Go Rio! Um mundo novo!Posted Image
Nice! It's amazing your sympathy, No64DD! ^_^
Thank you for remembering to mention the opening ceremony of the Olympics. :yeah:

This grey controller is only Gradiente, not Playtronic (if want to be perfectionist)

Hey, I will send pictures of a yellow controller (Gradiente) and another yellow controller (Playtronic) this week for you*
*Here or via e-mail.

Thanks for reply about the cams X_D
Just another admirer of the best videogame of all time =D
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No64DD
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Nillew
Aug 10 2016, 06:30 PM
Thanks for reply about the cams X_D
:-8

@Nillew, i know it has been some time, but i have compiled even more of a massive amount of info on them!
I will be in contact soon my friend. :yeah:

I had a feeling that i assumed too soon about Playtronic/Gradiente distribution with this one! Haha. ;)

I will make the proper correction. Thank you.
Saudé!

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heavyxfriends
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I don't know if this will be of interest to this thread but the FoxData controllers were customized in Meanwood, Leeds, United Kingdom.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Sure it is of interest! :yeah:
All FoxData controllers have Kludges, and chances are that all are created using MADE IN CHINA controllers, but it would be great to see some pictures anyway.

You never know! ;)
Edited by No64DD, Sep 2 2016, 04:35 PM.
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heavyxfriends
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They were made using the regular PAL controllers and as far as I'm aware they were shipped in the original boxs with a sticker on to determine customisation. I'd be interested to know if anyone out there has one of the boxs with a sticker on in their collection. I live very close to where these controllers were done and I'm always on the look out on local listing sites for one of these to show up.
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No64DD
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I have a pic of a Chrome Leopard box from an ebay auction a few years ago if that helps...
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Word in the ether, is that there have been attempts made to contact the company that now operates in that facility.
Apparently, they still have boxes of FoxData controllers.

Maybe it's a good time to knock on their doors.
Pick me up a few if you do! :D
Edited by No64DD, Sep 3 2016, 10:40 AM.
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heavyxfriends
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It would be a miracle if someone hadn't already capitalised on that and bought up their stock. I wonder if the original stencils still exist, would be cool to be able to release them public ally, would surely drive a few owners nuts but hey ho!
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No64DD
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I'm not sure i really understand the process(es) they used.
If you look at the Desert Storm versions, you'll see that each one is somewhat different.

If you look at FoxData controllers with damage, it's almost like it's a ceramic coating that was baked on.
Either way, they are very cool controllers that you rarely get to see up close.
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nintendo143
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I have a solid gray MIJ that came directly from Japan. I see, from this thread, that there were solid MIJ's from brazil but I highly doubt someone from Brazil sent one to Japan and that someone from Japan put this in a Japanese box to sell it to me for the whole $15 shipped I paid for it. Anything can happen though. It says "made in china" on the box too so there's no telling. I believe it's an authentic MIJ that's actually from Japan. It's clearly not a PAL as it doesn't have the "kludge" as it's referred to on here. I read where a few people mentioned a few being made in Japan on release date that were released with the actual console but the cord material is that of what I believe to be used on the newer/later controllers towards the end of the 64's life cycle. I'm not sure if I'm correct but I believe the original cords used a very soft rubber and this is the newer perhaps cheaper rubber that's a bit more durable but probably because it's a harder cheaper material. Not sure.

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Edited by nintendo143, Jan 1 2017, 12:35 PM.
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No64DD
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Hi nintendo143!
You are correct. It appears some early japanese N64 controllers were MADE IN JAPAN.
It's safe to say that your controller is from Japan. It has none of the Playtronic/Gradiente labeling that Brazil controllers have. :yeah:

You have however, a new japanese box variation!
MADE IN CHINA. PRINTED IN HONG KONG

Is this the original box that the controller came in? NOT SURE.
Before now, where the box says it's made always matched what the controller said.
It's possible that the box was swapped, but it's still a new box variation! :yeah:

Now, i never gave much thought about the controller cords. They are 20 years old, but it would be nice if it was as easy to explain as "some soft" and "some hard"... and on 'which controller'. You may have noticed that basically everything on this thread hasn't came with an easy answer, but just as fascinating.

If you look at the cords under a light, there are microscopic symbols and lettering. Good lord!
There needs to be more research, but it looks like it might be a way to tell the difference. :yeah:
I continue to update this thread. We have some great members here that help source and unravel these ever evolving mysteries.
Thanks for your input nintendo143. :yeah:

Edited by No64DD, Jan 1 2017, 07:16 PM.
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nintendo143
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The "playtronic" label could easily be removed. The controller is actually in near mint condition. You can tell it was played with a couple times but the matte finish on the back of the handles looks 99% perfect and the stick is 100% tight. But the fact that it says it's Made in China makes me believe that someone bought the console and an extra controller later on and stuck the original day 1 release MIJ controller in the MIC box and sold the MIC controller with the day 1 release console. My 2 cents anyways.

I'm not big on boxes. I buy a lot of stuff from Japan and I always donate my JP boxes to my local video game shop up the street because they like to display boxes on top of all the display cases and they're forever giving me a discount on something. However if it's something brand new in the box I definitely keep the box. For example I got a clear blue and a clear red JP console both in the box for $120 shipped on eBay and the boxes weren't in very good condition so I donated them. I just wanted the consoles by themselves anyways. I live in a small apartment and it's cool to be able to see my crap somewhere else without it taking up room where I live at.

Also, I feel like they source the parts from different places. I don't think the entire controller was made in JP. All the ABS injection molding I'm sure is done at the same time/place but I think they order the PCB and rolls of 3-wire cord from whoever will produce it the cheapest at the time. But I think, for all it's worth, there are a two variants of the 3 wire cord. The soft/supple easily scratched/knicked cord and the semi/shiny denser/durable cord.

A new box variant? Are you sure? Surely someone has it. I know certain people collect box variants. If I find the box doesn't belong to the controller I'd be more than happy to help get it to whoever collects box variations.

THIS CONTROLLER WIRE:
(REVERSED "RU") AWM E41447 STYLE 20276 VW-1SC HITACHI-T -F-

ONE OF MY RANDOM DAIEI HAWK CONTROLLERS IN ARMS REACH AND A RANDOM JUNGLE
(REVERSED "RU") AWM E148000 LTK STYLE 20276 80°C 30V -F-

PICKED UP AN EXTREME GREEN AND IT HAD A WHOLE DIFFERENT LINE OF TEXT ON IT.

Also, both the M2K and Gold controllers "Painted controllers" all have black backs to the joystick enclosure I think it was exclusive to those controllers only? I know all of the transparent controllers have the lighter gray shade for the back of the joystick enclosure while the standard solid colors have either the darker gray variants or whatever they had lying around because it didn't matter. I think they specifically went with the light gray rear joystick enclosures for the transparent controllers like they chose to use two gray rubber pcb pieces for the L and R instead of the gray and orange they'd usually use in solid colored controllers.

Edited by nintendo143, Jan 1 2017, 06:57 PM.
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No64DD
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nintendo143
Jan 1 2017, 05:42 PM
The "playtronic" label could easily be removed. I believe the controller does belong to the box. They seem to match up quite nicely. The controller is actually in near mint condition. You can tell it was played with a couple times but the matte finish on the back of the handles looks 99% perfect and the stick is 100% tight. But the fact that it says it's Made in China makes me believe that someone bought the console and an extra controller later on and stuck the original day 1 release MIJ controller in the MIC box and sold the MIC controller with the day 1 release console. My 2 cents anyways.

Yes, that is what i was trying to say. It's quite possible this or a similar situation occured.

I enjoyed your import collecting story. It makes a lot of sense in terms of space saving, and a nice way to give back to the gaming community.
As always, Japan gets more complicated and intriguing!
There is even a rumor that some early JPN consoles were bundled with 2 tone Black/Grey controllers instead! (also MIJ).
For arguement's sake, if you still are not convinced this controller isn't from Brazil, you could open it up for evidence of Playtronic/Gradiente labeling. ;)

Here were the known japanese box variants. Yours is now the 4th variation.
Spoiler: click to toggle



nintendo143
Jan 1 2017, 05:42 PM

Also, both the M2K and Gold controllers "Painted controllers" all have black backs to the joystick enclosure I think it was exclusive to those controllers only? I know all of the transparent controllers have the lighter gray shade for the back of the joystick enclosure while the standard solid colors have either the darker gray variants or whatever they had lying around because it didn't matter. I think they specifically went with the light gray rear joystick enclosures for the transparent controllers like they chose to use two gray rubber pcb pieces for the L and R instead of the gray and orange they'd usually use in solid colored controllers.

Yes, i also believe this theory and it seems to be holding up!
I never opened a M2K controller before. Interesting.
Someone who could better answer your question on thumbstick housings is LinusHoffman.

to be continued...
Edited by No64DD, Jan 3 2017, 07:59 AM.
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nintendo143
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Had to go back. Didn't see the label on the PCB. It does have a 620w sticker on the back which a BNIB JP clear black controller I bought had as well. I remember because I spent 30 minutes examining every detail because I have no life and because I wanted to see if there was a way to show it was a "clear black" and not a "smoke" although they're the same exact thing :)

Sort of excited now that this may be a true day 1 N64 controller. Would be cool if it turns out to be that. I personally, for nostalgic reasons, love the standard gray controller the most. But it just adds to the rarity. 4 US consoles were sold for every 1 JP console which makes it that much rarer but if it was only released with the first run that was released in JP in June of '96 that makes it even more rare. Too bad it'll still only be worth 15-20 bucks! Haha.

If anyone knows someone who collects box variants and want's the box they can have it for free if they can prove to me it's going to a good home. Just will have to pay ~$5 for shipping inside the US.

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nintendo143
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@LinusHofmann @No64DD - Turns out my controller has the rare joystick as well with the dips on NE and NW corners. It also has an earlier injection molding number on the bottom but a later one on the top compared to the one previously posted by @LinusHofmann - It also has the same board ('94?) - If this isn't a day one controller that came packaged with the N64 originally released in Japan in June of '96 then it's definitely a close contender for a day one "purchased separately".

So far it has a few things going for it.
- made in japan
- "620W" sticker that I've only seen in controllers that are Made in Japan.
- day one joystick "coining that term" <_>
- early injection molding identifiers

Oh, and it's near mint condition :shades:

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Edited by nintendo143, Jan 3 2017, 12:41 AM.
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LinusHofmann
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Ooh oooh oooh!! Amazing! :dance:

I think the mystery is solved boys! Nice one!
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No64DD
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Wow!!

All of the variables are adding up to conclude that this controller belongs to it's rare box. It has to.
Don't get rid of it! :yeah:
Edited by No64DD, Jan 3 2017, 08:13 AM.
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nintendo143
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Don't get rid of the box? I don't think it belongs to the controller. A "Made in Japan" controller inside of a box that says it's "Made in China"? I honestly, like I said before, think it came from the day 1 console and they just stuck it in the box for an extra controller they bought later on because, well let's face it, it's just a gray controller. I don't think whoever had this controller put too much thought into what box they were putting what gray controller into :lol:

Are there any reports on here of anyone else getting a controller that was made in a different country other than what was printed on the box?

I see it being quite possible after the initial consoles/controllers were made they changed the tooling to address manufacturing issues they had with the joystick enclosure or even to reduce the price 1/100th of a cent. Who knows. But if you make a million of something and turns out to be wildly successful then surely if they need to make tooling changes to reduce price, increase strength/durability/manufacturing efficiency, etc it would've been done after the first units were shipped. If it wasn't for Linus handling hundreds of Joysticks I don't think anyone would have ever noticed this incredibly slight variant.

I also think the controller itself is slightly different. I'll have to get a macro lens to take better pictures highlighting the differences. Maybe my eyes are playing tricks on me. Who knows. I'll upload pictures later on when I feel like pulling the controller out again.
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