After the Intellivision came out, Atari may have started getting worried and set out to create a system to counter it. The controller was basically designed to have everything except the kitchen sink in it - A joystick, a numeric keypad, 4 action buttons and it was the first controller to feature start, pause and reset buttons.
The trouble is, as good as the ideas were, nobody actually liked the controller. The joystick, although similar looking to the Atari 2600 stick is analog, but is not self-centering. Also, in an effort to keep the controller compact, the internal mechanism for the analog joystick was designed with sliding "guides" that turn the analog potentiometers. This worked well enough for horizontal or vertical movement, but caused uneven resistance when moving diagonally. Essentially, if you meant to move diagonally, there was a good chance that the stick first moved horizontally or vertically instead. The controller was also prone to breaking.
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