As gamers, we all have our specific preferences on what’s a good controller and what’s lacking. Over the years, Nintendo, like its competitors has come out with a great many controllers for its evolving consoles and handheld systems. From the original Nintendo Entertainment System to the Wii U and Switch Pro Controllers, innovation has never been a stranger.

With that being said, not all controllers are made equal. Playing the original Legend of Zelda on the NES pad was… simple, but really cramped up my hands after a couple hours of play. On the flip side, the new Switch and old N64 gamepads were a study in both traditional and awkward iteration. I never felt that there were too many buttons on the N64 pad, and it always sat comfortably in my grip. Conversely, while the Switch Pro controller is much more traditional, it’s leaps and bounds more comfortable and responsive than the Joy Cons. This made it a much more enjoyable experience for me while playing Breath of the Wild.

What about you though? Which of Nintendo’s wide variety of gaming implements were your favorites for playing a Zelda title with? What made it the best? Let us know in the comments below!

Taylor Wells is an Original Content Writer at Zelda Informer. Want to ridicule his use of an N64 controller as a whip or share in his obsession with pushing buttons? Feel free to hit him up on TwitterTwitch, or in the comments below!

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  • Jebradiah Drake

    Swinging around the Wii remote like a sword was fun

  • Isaix

    The Wii U gamepad was perfect for Zelda,having two screens for WWHD and TPHD works so well

  • Lifeoflink

    The same goes with the 3DS for the Zelda games on it.

  • The only Nintendo controller I don’t like is the N64. I hate that thing.
    I love the Super Nintendo and Gamecube controllers and the Wii U Gamepad is great.

  • Darkstar

    The Wii U pro controller was made for BOTW; 80 hours of battery life, good rumble, and very comfortable. The Wii U gamepad is decent too with the touch screen (lighter rumble, but ok) but crappy battery life. It works perfectly for XCX with the map activities. The Wii remote was awesome for motion controls (Mario kart, Skyward Sword, Goldeneye, etc) and had decent battery life. The GameCube controller was excellent for TP and WW, and was quite responsive (it was also great for SNES VC games on Wii). N64 controllers were good too, and a shout out to SNES for its cool design.

  • Isaix

    Yeah that’s what I assumed,but since I never played any of the 3DS Zelda games 🙁 I didn’t want to comment on those

  • burchdude65

    Switch Pro Controller (BotW). Great battery life and more comfortable than any other controller I’ve used. The quality of BotW itself certainly helped make that experience as amazing as it was!

  • Christian Beach

    The Wii U gamepad was amazing for the HD remakes of WW and TP, and served its purpose for some of the Virtual Console Zeldas I have like ALttP and MC. It was pretty useless for BotW without the dual screen use though, so I’d say the JoyCons are better for that game. And I think most – if not all – of us can agree that the motion controls for SS were atrocious.

    I can’t say I have an opinion on Pro Controllers though, since I haven’t used one since the Wii era. I’m thinking of eventually investing in a Pro Controller for my Switch for the sole reason that I’m tired of taking my JoyCons off the Switch to play anything and then putting them away when I’m done.

  • Sentinel

    GCN by far. It’s still my favorite controller to this day.

  • Qun Mang

    I can’t really answer this one, but the DS Link-dragging was probably my least favorite. And my missing more than hitting with Skyward Sword’s motion controls made that, while not bad, not one of my favorites. Beyond that though? Except for the above I don’t think I’ve ever wished to be using a different controller when I played any of the games.

  • Vados

    The 3DS. Majora’s Mask and OoT3D, as well as ALBW where perfect in terms of controls. OoT and MM especially, since you effectively have 5 item buttons in those games. I rarely ever had to go into a menu. I also like how you can finally aim effectively with your bow in those games, due to the gyrosensor.

    I also loved playing BotW with the Switch ProController. It feels very nice and like the 3DS, you can aim with motion controls.

  • Isaix

    I actually like the SS motion controls,it wasn’t perfect of course and it’s definitly not my favorite,but it was unique and fun

  • Dragonmaster 150

    This will probably be a little un-popular, but I think that the Wii U Gamepad is the best controller for playing games like Zelda, both the WW and TP remasters (though I still haven’t played TP HD, I’ve just heard that the dual screens function similarly to the way they did in WW HD), and more recently in BotW.

    I’ve noticed that a lot of people tend to complain about the Gamepad because of how large it is in comparison to more traditional controllers. I disagree, in my opinion those traditional controllers are way too small. I love the Wii U gamepad because it feels like it fits in my hands a way that more traditional controllers do not.

    Not to mention the precision among that comes as a bonus of the built in gyroscope controls, I’ve noticed that a lot of you tubers, when they LP BotW, turned off the gyroscope aiming, sure it can be annoying with the camera shaking when your hands shake, but the ability to aim precisely where you are looking instead of having to fight with the joystick sensitivity when trying to place pins or headshot an enemy with your bow.

  • I wholeheartedly agree!

  • Eric Aguiar

    Wii U PRO Controller. I’m a huge GameCube controller fan, but I choose this one because it has more buttons (and bigger directionals), plus it’s wireless and the battery is good. Right size, anatomical – perfect choice. Switch Pro Controller would be equally good, I believe.
    3DS is just too small for adult human fingers, and swinging the controller as a sword is just a big mistake.

  • While GameCube is my favorite controller of all time, playing the ocarina in OoT and MM never felt the same without the C-buttons.

  • Joakim

    Completely agree with the gamepad.
    Feels like it was made for Zelda.
    Gyroscope+control stick combo works great for aiming… Almost as good as pc aiming imo.

    Sort of what the wii remote was for pikmin.

  • Dragonmaster 150

    I know right?

  • JasonBall

    Switch Pro Controller definitely

    That and the Skyward Sword control scheme. Oh and Phantom Hourglass.

  • Adrian Brown

    that controller was literally made with Zelda in mind.

  • Sean Michael-Patrick Thompson

    Agreed that the Gamepad is among the best. I love the 2 screen element even if it’s nothing more than seeing my minimap in my hands. Plus there’s so much that it can do that didn’t get utilized enough.

  • Sean Michael-Patrick Thompson

    I feel that the controls have all evolved over the years and ultimately every one progressed to eventually become the Switch Pro Controller. With what I think is the most comfortable controller ever combined with supplementary motion controls, you really have the best of everything any controller has done previously wrapped up in one package.

  • Sean Michael-Patrick Thompson

    I felt the same way until Switch came along. I think they took the concepts first used on 3DS and perfected them for BotW.

  • Sean Michael-Patrick Thompson

    I think overall they were pretty good, but in some places like flying the loftwing it was unnecessary, clunky, and annoying. I think they did it right in BotW; motion controls are supplementary to traditional controls situationally, and optional for people who just don’t want them. SS was an important stepping stone in arriving at this, but ultimately suffered from too much motion.

  • Shaun Hall

    I have bigger hands so the WiiU GamePad was perfect! I tried to play on the Switch in undocked mode but it was incredibly small by comparison and attempting to switch weapons was a real pain.

  • Overlord

    I can’t believe no one has commented. I for one loved the n64 controllers. As well as the gamecube controllers. I also really like the Nintendo Wii and Wii U wiimotes. I agree the joycons are not so great. I actually don’t like how you need pro controller to play most games on Wii u. I wish you could still plug in a gamecube controller that would work.