Peripheral Vision: Negcon
We take a brief look at Namco’s super twisty Playstation controller
Namco’s home conversion of Ridge Racer on the Playstation was pretty incredible, but it did have one notable disadvantage compared to the arcade experience – the standard Playstation controller. Before Sony embraced analogue thumbsticks and rumble to create the Dualshock, you were stuck with digital steering. Though the handling model had been adjusted well to compensate, Namco still felt that greater precision was needed.
To remedy this, Namco made the negcon. The controller offers most of the same buttons that would be found on a regular Playstation controller (the exceptions are the select button and two shoulder buttons), but one shoulder button and two face buttons are now analogue inputs. But the big change comes with the twist functionality, which allows for analogue steering in racing games. This unusual method of control takes some getting used to, but some players swear by it.
The negcon standard was adopted by a number of developers including Sony itself, and early Playstation steering wheels adopted the negcon protocol to provide analogue control. The controller was popular enough that Namco later released a smaller revised version, which is distinguished by its black casing, but ultimately became somewhat redundant when Sony introduced its own analogue controllers as standard pack-ins with the Playstation.