Koopzilla wrote:N64 brought analog controls, something every console since has had, essentially ushering in the era of 3D games.
Actually, N64 wasn't the first console with an analog joystick in the controller, not by a long shot*. The first to feature this was an obscure console called the "1292 Advanced Programmable Video System", and was released in 1976(!). The Atari 5200 had one in 1982 (though, unfortunately, it wasn't self-centering), and the Vectrex, also released in 1982, had an analog joystick and could even display some primitive 3D-like vector graphics. Sony introduced a dual-analog flightstick accessory for the Playstation in early 1996, (a few months before N64 was even released), and the Sega Saturn had an analog controller which released only about two weeks after N64 did. It's pretty clear that Nintendo did not invent the small analog joystick, though they did provide compelling software that helped show its capabilities, thereby helping to popularize it.
Also, don't forget that while N64's controller did have a forward-thinking analog thumbstick, it also showed a lot of poor design choices that were later abandoned by Nintendo and never copied by anyone else, including the tri-handled design, strange face button design with 2 large A & B buttons and 4 small c-buttons, and accessories that stuck out the bottom of the controller and made it quite heavy and unwieldy. I would actually argue that after the introduction of the SNES controller, Sony has actually done more to advance the standard controller than Nintendo. Think about it:
Analog stick (not new, but had been ignored for a while) - superceded by dual analogs
Add-on rumble capability - Sony introduced integrated rumble the same month
Optional wireless controller - not new by any means, but they made it finally work well enough
Dual analog sticks - now industry standard
(also, these sticks used the now industry-standard potentiometer-based design, instead of the rickety and poorly-wearing spring and gear design of the N64 stick)
Clickable analog sticks - now industry standard
Integrated rumble tech - now industry standard
Two sets of shoulder buttons - now industry standard
Two large ergonomic handles - now industry standard
Integrated rumble - now industry standard
Bottom center face button as main button - now standard with everybody but Nintendo (?)