I have seen a lot of hate towards the original inverted-trident N64 controller which has always surprised me. I always found it to be one of the best controllers that I have ever used. Most of the dislike appears to be directed towards the analog stick which makes me think about the fact that I have always held the controller differently from how Nintendo recommends it be held and how basically all of my friends held it when I was growing up.
Have you ever tried the three finger approach to grasping the joystick of the N64 controller? Use your thumb, index finger and middle finger of your left hand is used to clasp on to the joy-stick of the N64 controller. Then use the thumb of your right hand to access the A, B, and C buttons, the index finger of your right hand to access the R button and the middle finger of your right hand to hit the Z-trigger. It looks a bit weird and it's best if you rest the controller on your chest or lap while holding it this way as it doesn't provide for much upward support to hold the controller in the air. That said, dedicating three whole fingers gives you amazing dexterity over the analog stick compared to just using a thumb. Honestly, I started holding the controller this way when I first got the console as a kid back in 1996 and never went back. I am not pretending to be an amazing gamer by any stretch, but I have never once felt that it was the N64 controller that was holding me back. I find that analog stick to be great and amazingly responsive when it is held this way and it feels completely natural to use the middle finger of my right hand to access the Z trigger.
Nintendo Recommended Holding Configuration for N64 Controller
Alternate (three finger on analog stick) method to grip N64 controller:
Back side for alternate grip: