I don’t usually like to review new products like this, but I thought I’d make an exception for this thing. I’ve been eyeballing it for some time, but the price is a bit much for both pieces of the puzzle (and you’ll probably want both.) The controller is $35 and the receiver is $25, making a total investment of $60, possibly more, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
With the new Nintendo Switch replacement JoyCons being priced at $80, and PS4 controllers costing about $60, I guess the price isn’t too terrible, but those controllers are packed full of modern technology. This, on the other hand is just a simple SNES controller.
I recently acquired some extra spending money so I finally decided to take the $60 plunge and get it. 8bitdo is a Hong Kong-based company, so you’ll see these things being sold through 3rd party re-sellers on Amazon and eBay. Apparently I’ve heard that Micro Center has also been stocking them. Don’t expect to buy directly from 8bitdo unless you’re a wholesaler.
And now to the controller itself. It works exactly as advertised. It’s Bluetooth, it has an internal battery that charges via micro-USB, and most importantly I don’t notice any input lag.
What’s really cool is all of the extra features I’ll probably never use. The SFC30 can connect to Bluetooth devices such as your smartphone, and even a Wii console. I haven’t tried it out with a Wii yet, but it supposedly behaves as the WiiMote. I don’t know if this means you can’t use it on SNES Virtual Console games or not. It would be better if it behaved as a classic controller attached to a WiiMote. I’ll have to look into this.
The Retro Receiver is a Bluetooth receiver that plugs into your SNES controller port, or a PC via its micro-USB port. In addition to being able to use it with your SFC30 controller, you can also connect WiiMotes, Wii U Pro Controllers, PS3 and PS4 controllers, and maybe even generic Bluetooth controllers. I haven’t tried controllers other than the SFC30 yet, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. So if you have another controller lying around that you would be okay using with your SNES, you don’t necessarily need to buy an SFC30 controller. Heck, you can use the thing to connect PS3 and PS4 controllers to your computer if you want to do that.
If you connect the SFC30 via its micro-USB port to your computer, it will come up as a standard Windows gamepad that is not X-input compatible. However, if you connect your SFC30 wirelessly to the Retro Receiver, it will be X-input compatible. I don’t know if PS3, PS4 and Wii controllers behave as X-input or not with this method.
And finally, the part where you may be spending more than $35 on your SFC30. The buttons feel good, but not 100% authentic to the real deal. They are a bit stiff. Fortunately the buttons and rubbers were designed with the exact same shape as the original SNES controller, meaning you can swap over original buttons and rubbers into the SFC30. Of course you’ll need a donor controller to do this. You can also place the SFC30 buttons and rubbers back into the original SNES controller so that it is not completely sacrificed. But of course now that controller will have inferior buttons.
So is it worth it? Depends on your needs. If you play a lot of Virtual Console on the Wii, this could be great. I’ll need to test out SNES VC with the controller to see if it works or not. If you have your original SNES hooked up to a big screen TV and you sit further than 6 feet away, this is a great solution to short controller cords.