Pe­riph­eral Vi­sion: Neg­con

Retro Gamer - - CONTENTS -

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.

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