3D Control Pad

From Sega Retro

Saturn MK-80314.jpg
3D Control Pad
Made for: Sega Saturn
Manufacturer: Sega
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Saturn
¥3,800 (3,914)3,800e[2] HSS-0137
Sega Saturn
$39.9939.99[3] 80117
Sega Saturn
Sega Saturn
Sega Saturn
Sega Saturn
Sega Saturn

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3D Control Pad, called the Sega Multi Controller (セガマルチコントローラー) in Japan, Samsung Multi Pad (삼성 멀티패드) in South Korea, and the Joystick 3D in Brazil, is a control pad developed for use with the Sega Saturn. Debuting with NiGHTS into Dreams, it featured an analogue thumbstick as opposed to relying solely on D-pads. Its design is similar to the XE-1AP, a 1989 analogue thumbstick controller released for the Sega Mega Drive exclusively in Japan.

Analogue sticks generally allow for greater precision in a 3D environment, which in 1996 were becoming more common in the console video game market.


The 3D Control Pad builds on the features already seen in the standard Saturn Control Pad, containing an eight-direcional D-Pad, and A, B, C, X, Y, Z and  START  face buttons. New to the controller is an analogue thumbstick (or "3D Directional Pad" as Sega called it), positioned on the left hand side of the controller above the D-Pad. Also inlcuded are analogue L and R shoulder triggers, a first for mainstream video game controllers.

To avoid compatibility issues, the analog controller has a switch under the start button to swap between "Digital" and "Analogue" modes. Switching to "Digital" mode disables all analogue settings, essentially turning the controller back into a standard control pad. This switch was vital, because earlier games were not built to understand the analogue technology and will not function correctly if the wrong mode is chosen. The original PlayStation and its latter dual-analogue controllers also required this feature.

The lead can also be removed from the controller for storage purposes.

The 3D Control Pad did not see widespread adoption for the same reason the Sega Saturn failed to capture a large share of the market in the west. The Saturn's 3D output was low, and as the controllers were never bundled with the console, consumers were more familiar with the standard Saturn control pads. It also has some design issues, namely the fact it is quite a lot bigger than most other controllers and arguably less comfortable than the standard pads for certain genres. Even in Japan, where the Saturn was successful, the controller was not used by many games (many of them coming from Sega, though some developers, such as KID, supported it quite a bit (in their case, even after Sega introduced the Dreamcast)).

The 3D Control Pad also works with games compatible with the steering wheel controllers, and the Mission Stick.


North American games which support the 3D Control Pad have this icon indicating compatibility on the back of the box.



Development of the 3D Control Pad was led by Kenji Tosaki, who had previously been in charge of the Virtua Gun.[4] It was created specifically to accompany NiGHTS into Dreams.[4] Many design cues appear to have been taken from the XE-1AP, an analogue thumbstick controller previously released for the Sega Mega Drive console in 1989, exclusively in Japan.

During development, Tosaki created and filed patents for numerous add-on concepts covering a number of possible extensions to the design[5], achieved through the port at the top of the controller. Covered ideas included wireless connections to the console (and light gun-style support)[6], extra joysticks[7] and trackballs[8], memory cards[9], a second display[10] (which may have later inspired the VMU), clocks[11], a rotatable stand[12] and motion control[13].

Potentially pre-dating attempts by Nintendo, feedback was also considered;[14] this and gyroscopic motion control would make it as far as physical prototypes.[4] However, commercialization of these and the filed concepts ultimately did not occur, due to concerns over the marketability and viability of add-on peripherals sold separately for what was a peripheral itself.[4]


Notably the 3D Control Pad beat the Nintendo 64 to market by a month in the US and several months in Europe, so the Sega Saturn stands as the first video game console to support modern analogue stick support.


The 3D Control Pad can be credited for many common features seen in controllers today, with its design greatly influencing that of the Sega Dreamcast Controller. Analogue shoulder buttons have since been adopted by Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony in the Nintendo GameCube, Xbox and PlayStation 3 (and their successors) and the placement of the analogue stick has also been copied by several firms, including Microsoft and Nintendo. Microsoft's Xbox and Xbox 360 controllers in particular borrow a number of design elements from the Dreamcast Controller and Saturn 3D Control Pad.

Localised names

Also known as
Language Localised Name English Translation
English 3D Control Pad 3D Control Pad
Japanese セガ マルチ コントローラー Sega Multi Controller
Portuguese (Brazil) Joystick 3D Joystick 3D
Korean 삼성 멀티패드 Samsung Multi Pad

Magazine articles

Main article: 3D Control Pad/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Saturn Something for GR advert.png
Saturn GR advert
Saturn Something for GR advert.png
Print advert in (RU) #7: "Oktyabr 1996" (1996-xx-xx)
Print advert in (PL) #43: "Luty 1997" (1997-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • (PL) #44: "Marzec 1997" (1997-xx-xx)[15]
Sega TR advert 1997.03.jpg
Print advert in Blue Jean (TR) #03/97: "Mart 1997" (1997-xx-xx)
Sega TR advert 1997.03.jpg


Photo gallery

Physical scans

Saturn, JP
Saturn HSS-0137 box-3.jpgNospine-small.pngSaturn HSS-0137 box-1.jpg
Saturn, JP (NiGHTS into Dreams)
MultiController Saturn JP Box Back NiGHTS.jpgNospine-small.pngSaturn HSS-0137 box-2.jpg
Saturn, JP (Magic Carpet)
MultiController Saturn JP Box Front MagicCarpet.jpg
Saturn, US
3DControlPad Saturn US Box Top.jpg
3DControlPad Saturn US Box Back.jpg3DControlPad Saturn US Box Spine.jpgSaturn 80117 box.jpg3DControlPad Saturn US Box Spine2.jpg
3DControlPad Saturn US Box Bottom.jpg
Saturn, US (NiGHTS into Dreams)
3DAnalogGamePad NiGHTS US Box Back.jpgNospine.pngSaturn 80117 box-2.jpg
Nights Saturn US Disc.jpg
NiGHTS Saturn US Box Back CD.jpgNiGHTS Saturn US Box Front CD.jpg
Jewel Case
Saturn, EU
Saturn MK-80314 box.jpg
Saturn, EU (NiGHTS into Dreams)
3DControlPad EU Box Back NiGHTS.jpgNospine-small.pngSaturn MK-80314 box-2.jpg
NiGHTsIntoDreams saturn eu backcover.jpgNightsBoxEU.jpg
Jewel Case
Saturn, BR
Joystick3D Saturn BR Box Back.jpgNospine-small.pngJoystick3D Saturn BR Box Front.jpg
Saturn, KR (NiGHTS into Dreams)
3DControlPad Saturn KR Box Back NiGHTS.jpg3DControlPad Saturn KR Box Front NiGHTS.jpg
Saturn, CA

Saturn, TR
3D Control Pad TR Box Front.jpg
Saturn, TR (NiGHTS into Dreams)
Nospine-small.png3D Control Pad Nights TR Box Front.jpg
NiGHTsIntoDreams saturn eu backcover.jpgNightsBoxEU.jpg
Jewel Case

External links

  • Sega of America webpage: Saturn
  • Sega of Japan catalogue pages (Japanese): Saturn


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