PlayThings: Nintendo 64 Gold Controller
How did you hold yours?
Bringing you the latest instalment in our Playthings news series, examining the fascinating stories behind the objects from our Playthings exhibition.
Nothing encapsulates the term ‘PlayThing’ more than a controller. They are integral to how we interact with videogames; thousands of hours of gaming are made possible through holding these pieces of plastic and electronics.
From the horizontal and vertical dials of the venerable Magnavox Odyssey, to the motion controls of a Nintendo Wii remote (seriously, please wear the wrist strap), there is a diverse family of videogame controllers that translate our button presses or over-enthusiastic tennis swings into on-screen action.
Special or limited edition controllers are also an important member of this family. These unique controllers often commemorate significant anniversaries. In 2014, PlayStation celebrated its 20th birthday by releasing a limited edition PS4 console and controller which took aesthetic cues from the iconic grey of the PS1.
Away from limited edition consoles which require a remortgage, limited edition controllers provide an accessible way to express your gaming tastes. Take, for example, this limited edition Nintendo 64 gold controller. It’s an absolute classic 1990s statement piece, perfect for showing off to friends during a multiplayer match of GoldenEye. This particular gold controller was part of a limited edition console package exclusive to the UK around 1997. Strangely, the console included in this bundle was a charcoal grey colour. Only the gold controller – and the console’s packaging – would indicate that this console bundle was highly rare.
Far from a garish piece of gold plastic, this gold controller has historical value. The release of the Nintendo 64 was a watershed moment for limited edition controllers: they were no longer simply functional, they were also personal. Throughout the lifespan of the console, a wide range of unique controllers were produced. Different variants of the gold controller were released in small batches across the world and alternative controllers were styled after specific games; for example, the special edition Donkey Kong 64 controller was designed as a bunch of bananas!
The Nintendo 64 controllers have an important legacy. They were an origin point of videogame hardware as personal expression. Limited edition controllers have become commonplace, but the Gold Nintendo 64 is where controller variants were truly born.
Want to learn more about the videogame objects in our collection?
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