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Got it MADE?; Nintendo 64 controller origins
Topic Started: Jan 30 2016, 04:29 PM (6,845 Views)
No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
nintendo143
Jan 3 2017, 12:44 PM
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:

Yes, but what are the chances out of all the thumbsticks examined, that your controller has that particular one?
The fact that the box is also just as rare cannot be a coincidence.
Right?

Edited by No64DD, Jan 3 2017, 10:44 PM.
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nintendo143
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No64DD
 
Yes, but what are the chances out of all the thumbsticks examined, that your controller has that particular one?


I know, trust me. I'm extremely lucky. After my first post I realized I hadn't refurbished that controller yet and wanted to see if it had a playtronics sticker on the board. So I decided to kill two birds with one stone. It wasn't until after I wrapped everything up and uploaded the pictures of the board that I vaguely remembered glancing over Linus' post about the one-off stick he had and I was like, "holy :pottymouth: - I swear the MIJ controller I just got done refurbishing had that exact stick on it." Sure enough. It did. If Linus didn't chime in on this thread I would have never in a million years noticed that about the joystick.

No64DD
 
The fact that the box is also just as rare cannot be a coincidence. Right?

I'm not trying to downplay my box. If it's an unknown variant to variant collectors then I imagine it's rare. "Keep forgetting to look at that thread you referenced." I don't think you're giving Nintendo enough credit. Surely they didn't put the wrong controller in the wrong box. It's not like I got this controller brand new in the store and opened it to find it like that. It's been floating around for 20+ years now and the box has seen better days so I'm certain it didn't come in that box. I, at least, wouldn't put any money on it anyways.



I'm sure you guys remember the odd ball prototype pictures of the n64 controller that were printed with the big stick prior to it's release.

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Maybe, these dips were to allow that stick to move all the way up to the NW and NE corners and they just forgot to remove them from the final design? We all know even the regular ones can touch when pressed to the NW and NE corners with even mild pressure. This "day one" is no different though as I checked to see if it was worse or not. It's exactly the same. So maybe it has a shorter stick? Maybe, like Linus mentioned, the 2 of the 8 corners are slightly deeper? It's a lot to look into. That's for sure.
Edited by nintendo143, Jan 4 2017, 04:36 AM.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Have a look at this:

Assembler

Could it be that what we are seeing with the "dimpled" thumbsticks, really is remnants of the 'beta' version mold?
Edited by No64DD, Jan 4 2017, 08:03 PM.
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danilochka
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Hey nintendo143, firstly I want to say congrats on your great purchase. I want to give my 2 cents on the matter but first let me explain a bit about the boxes.

I've touched on this in a previous post but I thought that I'd update you guys with what I know on the subject. If you look at my old post I outlined the 3 main type of boxes for the original 6 solid colour controllers in Japan.

Now I believe the 1st wave of these controllers were the "Made in Japan / Printed in Japan" variants. These are what I consider to be the rarest boxes. So far I've only been able to confirm that Black and Red exist but I don't see why the other 4 won't exist in this variant too. If we assume that they were soon replaced with the MIC versions, it would help to explain their scarcity.

The "Made in China / Printed in Japan" variants are what I believe came next. These are pretty common and it is easy to find all six colours in this set.

I would count the "Made in China / Printed in Hong Kong" box in this category as the above, as were probably released around the same time. I was aware of this box before but I've only ever seen it used for the Grey controller. In that case I would say it's uncommon as they do crop up on eBay every now and again. Note: this is not to be confused with the box released in Hong Kong, which has English text and is stated to be Made in China.

Finally came the "1996" only boxes. Although no country is stated on the back, I believe these are also Made in China controllers, but don't hold me to that. The "Black & Gray" controller uses this box design and its supposed to be Made in Japan. Anyhow, because of this match I assume this set of 6 came into use around about the time of Mario Kart 64's release in December 1996. From here they were used for the rest of the console's life. Good evidence for this is that you'll often find listings for these boxes which include revised instruction leaflets (JPN-1 / JPN-2) with them. In addition to that its design (i.e. with the phone number now removed) was carried on with the much later released Clear Blue and Red controller boxes.

For a few years now I've been trying to document all the different controller box variants across the world by looking at eBay listings, however it's a lot harder than it seems. This is because the most important piece of information is usually on the inner box tab and sadly people rarely show this, so thanks for showing yours as it was a great help mate :yeah:

In North America there was also a 1st wave of MIJ contollers, again these were short lived and replaced by the MIC controllers. If you look at the box tab codes for say the Black controller it looks like this: MIJ = NUS-A-CK-USA and MIC = C/NUS-A-CK-USA. So naturally I've come to assume that the C/ prefix denotes Made In China, as it clearly has some purpose otherwise it wouldn't be used.

It could also stand for Controller, however there's a U/ prefix used for some of the later North American controllers, like the blister sealed funtastics. Also there's a J/ that's used for the Japanese "Made in China / Printed in Japan" of all things, so I'm not sure what to make of that. Given how common they are I've surprisngly not been able to confirm what any "1996" tab codes are, I have suspicion they may be J/NUS-...-JPN-1 however. If anyone here can provide me with any photos of these, be sure to PM me!

Anyway the only Japanese "Made in Japan / Printed in Japan" box code I have is NUS-A-CK-JPN, so that starts as expected, without a prefix. Then there's your "Made in China / Printed in Hong Kong" which is C/NUS-A-CG-JPN, implying that it too should state Made In China on the controller itself.

Your theory of it getting swapped with the console's original controller is a good one, and it's what I'm tending to lean towards myself. If someone had 2 Grey controllers, then they would have both been hooked up to the system at some point, and it would be easy to confuse which one should go in the individual box.

So with all that said, I've no doubt that your controller is an authentic MIJ controller from Japan, I just have some doubts that it originally came in that box. However, I'm not ruling anything out, as last year I saw one of the previous listings I've seen for the Grey "Made in China / Printed in Hong Kong" box, also had a controller which was Made In Japan.

TLDR; Japan is confusing!
Edited by danilochka, Jan 4 2017, 06:31 PM.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Amazing analysis as always danilochka!! As confusing as Nintendo Japan is, it does not outweigh the brilliant minds at work here!

I hope someone out there soon would add their Black/Grey (non MK64 version) japanese N64 controller to this thread. :yeah:


Edited by No64DD, Jan 4 2017, 06:20 PM.
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nintendo143
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Dani, wow, that's all I can say. Whenever you start collecting and think you know a thing or two you realize you don't know :pottymouth: at all, haha. Well, I guess that's with all things though. I guess I'll hold on to the box but I really think it'd be appropriate to give it to someone who collects box variants. I just know it would be appreciated more.

My gray JP box is complete with the "leaflet" if you will and the controller cardboard. The leaflet had never been opened but I opened it just enough to peek inside and see what English there was and it says (c) 1996 Nintendo PRINTED IN JAPAN

On the front of the leaflet it says "NUS-A-CG-JPN G976335"

And NO64DD thanks for that assembler link. You're like the google of the N64 collecting world :lol:

Edit: My box says C/NUS-A-CG-JPN G784119 and my leaflet says NUS-A-CG-JPN G976335, are the G#'s serials?

Edit: No64DD, what's the difference between the two MK controllers? Don't they both say MIJ?
Edited by nintendo143, Jan 6 2017, 02:53 PM.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
nintendo143
Jan 6 2017, 02:24 PM

Edit: No64DD, what's the difference between the two MK controllers? Don't they both say MIJ?
I believe so, but one is an uncommon version and it would still be nice to see and document. Honestly, this goes for any controller. It is good for the sake of discussion. :smokin:

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danilochka
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So the 'G' numbers appear to be some kind of internal coding on Nintendo's products for the NTSC-J region, I believe they are similar to the 'Article Numbers' we had in Europe.

This was probably because everything was printed in Japan so they used unique numbers to identify everything. The numbers are in groups, so for example all the game front labels are sequential (if you ingore the end number), but there doesn't really seem to be a pattern to how they are grouped. After a couple of years Nintendo stopped displaying them, though they may have continued using them internally.

Let's take for example the Japanese release for Star Fox 64, you'll get these Article Numbers:
  • G508328 - controls [NUS-NFXJ-JPN]
  • G508344 - registration card [NUS-NFXJ-JPN]
  • G744816 - cartridge back label [NUS-JPN]
  • G751712 - cartridge front label [NUS-NFXJ-JPN]
  • G797715 - standard game box [NUS-P-NFXJ-JPN]
  • G797723 - outer box [NUS-P-NFXJ-JPN]
  • G985971 - instructions booklet [NUS-NFXJ-JPN]

Maybe one day I'll get round to documenting all of these.

As for the individually boxed Black & Grey controller, I have seen the box code for a revised edition which starts NUS, so for me that's strong evidence it will say MIJ on the controller itself. (note this box was obviously made sometime after they stopped including the G numbers).

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Edited by danilochka, Jan 6 2017, 04:46 PM.
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nintendo143
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So dani, in your experience do you think the leaflet I have belongs to the controller? Would the leaflet have the same number if it belonged to box? And DD, what's the rare Mario Kart controller look like? I have two brand new MK controllers in box "the one bundled with the game" and I have 2 or 3 loose ones in mint condition laying around. Tell me what to look for.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Danilochka's pic above is of that controller. Aside from seeing where the controller is made, there is no easy way to tell it apart from the others, making the box such an important piece to the equation.
Ironic, isn't it!? ;)
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danilochka
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Yeah you have the correct instructions buddy :yeah:

In Japan, no matter what colour the controller is, the code will always match the grey controller, for some reason.
NUS-A-CG-JPN (G976335)

These were later replaced with an updated leaflet:
NUS-A-CG-JPN-1 (No G number)

And updated once more for the later releases:
NUS-A-CG-JPN-2 (No G number)
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nintendo143
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Dani, so do you think my the controller belongs to the box?
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nintendo143
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Dani, you still alive? Also, I found one on eBay if anyone wants to get their hands on one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/292002481341
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gaavoid
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LinusHofmann
May 11 2016, 09:43 PM
No64DD
May 11 2016, 04:45 PM
I'm following what you're saying.
Is this what you mean by diagonal notches ?
Yep. Notice how the dust accumulates in there more than normal. It's like the notches/corners are slightly deeper so the stick doesn't bottom out as much. Even though this one is quite heavily worn.

And where the top two diagonal corners meet the smooth surrounding of the case that's where the dent in the molding is.
Hi, I have two controllers with this style joystick. Both are made in China Japanese greys that I imported from Japan last year. However I moved one over to a black PAL controller (I harvested one for parts).
The actual bezel is a different shape from what I can tell, not just the top left and right indents, so I believe these earlier controllers are just from a different mould rather than it being a production error. I've taken photos comparing the shapes of them to the sticks on an Ice blue controller. Will upload tomorrow.
Edited by gaavoid, Feb 8 2017, 06:37 PM.
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gaavoid
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Difficult to tell by photos but you should be able to see some differences between most controllers (I've used a Japanese Ice blue for comparison because it was nearby). I've tried to get the angles the same. You should be able to tell that these (presumably) earlier joystick modules have a slightly differently shaped bezel. Raised in some parts and deeper in others. The longer you look at the photos the differences become a little clearer than at first glance.

Stick 1 - Grey Japanese - Made in China:
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Stick 2 - From grey Japanese - Made in China (now in black PAL MIC):
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Stick 1+2 in comparison (profile) to Japanese Ice blue (MIC):
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Stick 1 + Ice blue with flash to try to pick up better detail:
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Close ups of stick 1 + Ice blue from bottom:
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Close ups of stick 1 + Ice blue from top:
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again with flash:
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Excellent work Gaavoid!!

I can see the differences, but it's almost as hard to explain as well.
These "dimpled" thumbsticks are the result of a quick change to the mold.
If you look at the examples of the "pre release" thumbstick on Assembler, it would be easy to modify.
It only affects the top corners of the thumbstick.

For whatever reason, the 'new' mold obviously wasn't perfect at first!

This is only my opinion, but it is my best opinion.
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gaavoid
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There's an aspect I haven't captured too well but looking at it now from the bottom (centre prong/handle); the left and right parts of the bezel (between the bottom left and bottom right indents and the left and right indents) are either raised slightly higher or the bottom left and right indents are also deeper like the top left and right indents.
Whatever the reason for this change these 2 particular sticks have held up well. Both still feel fairly decent and not much wobble even though both of the controllers look pretty well used.
Edited by gaavoid, Feb 9 2017, 04:41 PM.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
I understand what you are saying.

First, i'd like to better illustrate my point:

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Can we agree that this is the reason for the dimpled thumbsticks in the very early releases?
If you look above the red arrow, that area also looks higher than usual, which also lends itself to the point that Gaavoid is making.

There was a lot of area to work with when it came to reshaping whatever mold they used to make the early thumbstick housings, that was most likely the same mold used for the thumbstick above, just modified.

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gaavoid
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Yeah, I would think that these dimpled sticks would be early production (probably all first batch Japan releases), and the next design after those proto sticks.
The "newer" shaped ones would be more mass produced after the initial run.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Thanks to DarkLink, we have another addition to the MADE IN JAPAN story.

The japanese Mario Kart 64 competition Gold Nintendo 64 controller.

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Along with the Kick Asphault 500 competition here, they are the only gold controllers that are MADE IN JAPAN. Fantastic!

The naked box is just as cool too!
Thanks dude. :yeah:
Edited by No64DD, Jun 10 2017, 01:30 PM.
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Cabanon
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hey dan, can you updates those pictures ? I can also confirm that my MK64 Nintendo power Gold controller is also Made In Japan.
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