Old games that are only fun with specialty peripheral or controllers

What are some games that aren’t very fun when played with whatever is the stock controller for the system it’s on, but are much better with an optional peripheral or controller? Inspiration of this thread is that I got a bunch of racing games for the saturn that have bad or mediocre d-pad controls but actually play very well with the wheel.

Virtua Racing
F1 Challenge
Hang-On GP '95 (pretty much unplayable with the d-pad, but with a wheel this is easily one of the funnest racer on the saturn imo)


Densha de GO!

I only have the N64 version because most of the other controllers are expensive.

Do lightgun games count? I know a few you can play with the controller but I never find it as fun.

Samba de Amigo. Though does it even play without the maracas?

Arkanoid I and II, of course.

Aren’t the maracas just Wii remote shells?

On that note, House of the Dead: Overkill on Wii is soooo much better with the magnums!

Donkey konga!

I could never be decent at Tempest with a regular controller. I never tried it with a spinner, so maybe this one?

Anything with a rotary controller, like Heavy Barrel or one of the Ikari Warriors.

Then there’s spinner games likes Arkanoid which are much better with the proper controls.

And of course Centipede, Millipede and Missile Command with the rolling ball. I guess you could count any golf and bowling bar games on that list too.

Cool thread idea. Dance Dance Revolution, Rock Band, Guitar Hero, etc. seem like obvious choices.

I’d also include Virtual On on Saturn and Dreamcast - it really needs the proper dual stick setup.

Steel Battalion for Xbox. Would not be nearly as fun on a regular controller:


One day I’ll get to try that game

I need to pull it out again, but I think I wired Hang-On GP '95 with the pad and was pretty dang boss with it. I adore that game. I think it has some excellent track design, a great sense of speed, especially when you use the first-person style on bike view, and a superb soundtrack.

I’m interested in F1 Challenge now that you’re saying it’s better with the wheel! Virtua Racing is at it’s best on the 32X IMO for a home port.

A lot of people mentioned lots of good stuff up above. Some things that come to mind for me include…
Gunblade NY - Super fun on the Wii, but you haven’t lived til you’ve had that vibrating machine gun in your hands on the arcade machine.
Super Hang On - No home port can compare to even the stand up machines with the handlebars on them. I love it on 3DS, but it’s not the same. Same goes for all of SEGA’s motorcycle games like Enduro Racer.
Ridge Racer - NeGCon or get out.

PINBALL - Pretty much any machine. I love video game pinball. I love Pinball Arcade because I can play the arcade machines in my home. None of it compares to standing in front of even a crappy real table somewhere. I’m fortunate because there are still some arcades near me with reasonable selections to play. Nothing in video game form compares.

Have you ever played on one of those custom made electronic pinball emulator tables? Where the field is just one big monitor?

I’ve always wondered how those felt to play. I want to say that I’ve seen some on the internet that have built in motion feedback, to kind of give you the feel that the flippers and bumpers are actually being impacted.

Edit: they call it Visual Pinball

yeah, hang-on gp is rad.

Original Wipeout on PS1 is pretty unplayable without a NeGcon.

Virtual On is one of my favorite games ever if I play it with a Virtual On Stick. If not, thpppt!

I should have because a friend of mine owns one, but I have not because I haven’t ever been able to get over there to play it. He claims it’s as close as you’ll get without owning the machines, and obviously we’re not all going to own the machines, but I have another friend who bought a Ghostbusters Pro in the last year and that thing is phenomenal. It totally ruins any hope of playing the digital versions and have it feel the same no matter the layout.

I suppose someday all that will be left is the digital for the most part? We can only hope the collectors keep up the old machines no matter where they are. There are always little quirks of each machine that make them so unique in person.

Real pinball simply cannot be emulated in my opinion. There’s nothing like playing at a real machine. I do love me some videogame pinball, don’t get me wrong.

But it’s not the same.

While not exactly the same, I found out a dualshock controller was a fair way to replicate the dual joystick setup. Not quite the same experience, but fairly close nonetheless. I love playing the SEGA Ages port on the PS2.

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That’s one area I will not step into. I’m already over doing maintenance on arcade monitors and wood work. I can’t imagine having to fix up an old pinball machine. It looks like a massive chore.