The Nintendo 64 Controller was used as the primary form of input for the Nintendo 64 console. It featured two major innovations–the introduction of the analog stick and a trigger behind the controller. It was also the first Nintendo developed controller that allowed for expansion, with the memory card and rumble pak being the main attachments. It also included a red start button, four yellow "C" buttons, an A and B button, a D-Pad, and an L and R button. The N64 is the first Nintendo console that allows up to four controllers at once, whereas previous consoles only allowed two.
Unorthodox for a video game controller, there are three grips; it would be impractical to use the D-Pad, analog stick, and A, B, and C buttons at the same time. Another burden was the fact that if players were playing with the analog stick, it would be hard for them to reach the L and R buttons. The L and R buttons, however, were rarely used in games made for the console.This looks like a GameCube Controller. Only the controller is in a shape of an 'M' (similar to Virtual Boy's Controller).
On the Wii Virtual Console, Nintendo 64 games must be played with either the Classic Controller or the GameCube controller, which made it uncomfortable to play. However, a third party attachment for the Wii allows for backward compatibility with N64 controllers.
- A button - A blue button that is placed to the right of the analog stick.
- B button - A green button that is placed to the right of the analog stick. Is directly above the A button.
- Start button - A red button that is usually used to pause the game. Placed directly above the analog stick.
- C buttons - Four small yellow buttons placed to the right of the A and B buttons.
- D-pad - A directional pad that is placed on the left side of the controller. Because of the challenge to access it, it is rarely used.
- R button - A grey shoulder button placed on the right side of the controller.
- L button - A grey shoulder button placed on the left side of the controller.
- Z button - A grey trigger button placed on the back of the controller in the center.
- Analog stick - While not a button, it is the primary form of control and is placed in the center of the controller.
Behind the controller is an expansion slot in which the player can insert relatively small cartridges inside to enhance the gameplay somewhat. These expansions can be removed by pressing the grey button under the protruding slot. The expansions include:
- Rumble Pak - The Rumble Pak debuted with Star Fox 64, and made the N64 the first console controller to have a rumble feature. It would be implemented in many future games, and some titles, such as Super Mario 64, were remade in Japan just to make use of it. Virtual Console games, however, do not have the rumble feature, even though the Classic Controller and GameCube Controller both have a rumble feature. A similarly-named peripheral was released for the Nintendo DS, and goes in the Game Boy Advance slot.
- Memory Card - Some games required the use of a memory card expansion. This feature does not exist in VC editions.
It should also be noted that some expansions could only be implemented on the actual N64 console, such as the Ram Expander, which gave it 8MB of RAM instead of 4MB, which allowed the player to play games such as The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask and Donkey Kong 64.
In 1997, Nintendo made a raffle through Nintendo Power with which everyone who won it would get a golden Nintendo 64 controller. At the end of the raffle in 1998, a few of them were rewarded to those who won the raffle. The purchase of a limited-edition golden N64 at Toys R Us also included 2 golden controllers.