Imagine how cool it would be to have a NES controller you could plug into your computer, your Android, iPad or even your Wii, to play those classic emulated games. Well thanks to a company called 8Bitdo such a desire has become a reality with the recently released NES30 Gamepad, which captures both the look and feel of the original North American NES controller. It feels long overdue for a such an awesome peripheral to exist, but regardless it’s nice to finally have such a thing available, with emulation and retro gaming being such a large part of gaming culture since, well, ever!
The NES30 works like most traditional PC game pads, allowing you to simply plug-in and play with its included USB cable. Although the controller has Bluetooth technology as well if you prefer to play wirelessly. It’s compatible with a vast number of devices too aside from the PC including Smart phones, Mac operating systems, iPads, and Androids. It’s just a matter of setting the mode of the controller to connect to the corresponding device, which requires holding down a specific combination of buttons. If things seem a little convoluted, the included instructions are fortunately easy and simple to understand, with helpful diagrams explaining how to quickly set it to the mode desired.
It genuinely feels authentic, and it will be hard not to get nostalgic when holding it in your hands. Of course, for the sake of versatility the controller doesn’t completely emulate the design of the original controller, opting to include two additional face buttons, and left and right shoulder buttons, which in a way also incorporates elements from the just as powerfully nostalgic SNES controller. The added buttons are definitely nice, allowing more functionality for more ambitious games without compromising the intended archaic design.
It is pretty responsive as well, to such an extent that it can be a little disorienting when being compared to the real thing, which are subjectively expected to function a little more stiffly. For veteran gamers that still play their old systems, it may take a little getting used to at first to adjust to the gamepad’s unexpected precision. As mentioned before the buttons are nice, and everything feels comfortably laid out, although it also does feel relatively small compared to many other modern game-controllers. It’s also important to note that for a controller that is square in shape the edges are appropriately rounded, so there is no worry of having your fingers or your palms being stabbed during the course of gameplay.
There are a few nifty extras that come included, the first being an accessory that detaches from the controller, which is designed to be used as a handy stand for touch screen devices, a nice added bonus for those that like their gaming on the go. The second is a built-in CPU, which will allow it to automatically update for new available firmware.
So far the only technical quirk that was experienced with the controller was when it was being used for the Wii U console. Linking it to the system worked just fine, but the controls at first appeared to be incorrectly set, until it was later discovered that the layout was based on a Wii remote, meaning that to function properly it actually had to be held vertically as opposed to horizontally, but however functioned as normal once a game was loaded. It’s really nothing major to gripe about, but it should be important to note for anyone intending to use it on the aforementioned system.
Despite its small size, the controller seems pretty sturdy, and even after a considerable amount of use has yet to suffer any functionality problems, and the battery lasts quite a while too before needing recharged. It seems quite apparent 8Bitdo took many considerations when it came to its design, like genuine gaming enthusiasts.
The NES30 Gamepad is advertised as a powerful gaming device and a homage to Nintendo’s cherished 8-bit system, which celebrates it’s 30th anniversary this year, and truly what a remarkable homage it is. This is an impressive controller, and not just because of it’s powerfully nostalgic qualities either. This is the definitive controller retro gamers have been looking for outside of traditional gaming. So grab one while you still can!