Before the success of Sony’s DualShock series, there was another controller that looked slightly similar by the name of the Dual Analog. The Dual Analog was released in Japan in 1997, alongside a pair of compatible games, Bushido Blade and Tobal 2. The controller was advertised as giving more precise controls, with a rumble feature for a more realistic experience. When considering its release outside of Japan, Sony decided that the rumble function would be removed from both the European and American versions of the controller.
Hands on with the Dual Analog will yield immediate differences between it and it’s brother, the DualShock. The first thing I noticed was the handles are significantly longer as well as one of the screw holes on each side sits right where my fingers need to grip. The controller is also significantly lighter than the DualShock, since there are no rumble feature motors inside. The analog stick caps are hard plastic that are concave, where as the DualShock analog sticks have convex rubber tops and the L2 and R2 buttons have an odd rim.
The Dual Analog has three modes including digital, analog as well as a flight mode. Digital mode is just like the original Playstation controller and disables the analog sticks entirely. During digital mode the LED will remain unlit. Pressing the analog button will turn the LED red and engage Analog mode, which functions exactly like the DualShock. Pressing the analog button again will change the LED to green, which is flight mode. Flight mode is said to emulate Sony’s bigger and more expensive Playstation Analog Joystick set, but I couldn’t get any of the games I have that are compatible with the Analog Joystick to work. When engaging Flight Mode I always received an error message telling me the controller currently plugged in was incompatible, even though on the back of the case is shows a joystick and says Analog Joystick Compatible.
To compare the Dual analog and the DualShock, there really isn’t much difference other than cosmetics and the added feature of the Flight Mode. The Dual Analog is comfortable to hold, despite the aforementioned screw holes being right where my fingers need to go, and since none of my games seem compatible with the Flight Mode, it’s basically the same thing to me. The Dual Analog is an interesting piece of video gaming history as I feel its creation gave birth to the DualShock, which has become a staple for the Playstation consoles to this day. The Dual Analog wasn’t around very long so they are a little harder to find than the digital or DualShock controllers. If you already own an Analog Joystick and DualShock, I would say the Dual Analog might not be worth hunting down unless you just absolutely have to have one. If you don’t own, or don’t have room for the Analog Joystick and can find a Dual Analog fairly cheap and easily then maybe it’s a good alternative. That is if Flight mode is actually emulating the Analog Joystick controller.
About the author
Samuel Floyd first fell into video gaming with the Atari 2600...in the mid-90s! Always late into the system wars, Samuel enjoys that as he acquires them when they're cheap and the hot titles of yesteryear are bountiful. Samuel loves RPGs, his favorite being Crystalis for the NES.