I’ve been on a kick lately of buying a variety of controller adapters. Usually I buy them with one purpose in mind, for example an SNES to GameCube adapter to use SNES controllers with Game Boy Player, and end up with a bunch more ideas on some interesting ways you can make use of them.
Since I’ve come up with a fair few I thought I’d dump them out here and ask if anyone else has good ideas to share for using controller adapters.
Some major themes:
I’m chaining adapters, especially with bluetooth, so I’m probably adding some lag. But the adapters listed here are higher quality adapters to begin with and have very low latency: I don’t really notice the any problematic lag. That may be more noticeable if your chain already has some lag and the cumulative lag just gets to be too much.
Another thing I keep finding is that bluetooth is like glue. If you can get any wired controller to bluetooth you can likely connect it to anything else. I spent a long time not wanting to deal with bluetooth for lag + pairing reasons but if you can get past that it’s really kinda magical.
8bitdo bluetooth adapters
NES retro receiver
This I got originally to use with an 8bitdo dogbone NES pad conversion kit.
Since then have gotten hold of an official Switch Famicom Joycon set, and it makes a really great pair, aside from the charging being a bit awkard. There’s something really cool about an official wireless FC controller for real NES games.
I’m not quite ready to pull the trigger yet but I’m really considering converting my Famicom ASCII Stick to be fully wireless using a brook wireless board, which would make a great pairing with this adapter
SNES retro receiver
Another case of the original plan being official SuFami pad + conversion kit.
Then I got ahold of a SuFami mini classic controller, which when connected to a Wii Remote makes for a nice semi-wireless option with a fully new OEM pad.
I was so into the above that I pulled the trigger on a US SNES style Switch Online controller. This very quickly became my main SNES controller.
I have a dirty secret that I don’t much like the SNES d-pad for Zelda, so for playing Link to the Past I’m rather fond of using a Wii Classic Controller attached to a Wii Remote and connecting over bluetooth. The dpad there just is easier to use diagonals with.
Genesis retro receiver
Surprisingly I never once used this on my Genesis. I have a 2.4ghz controller for my actual Genesis, which in retrospect I wish I had just got the bluetooth one for the added flexibility.
I got this to use with my MSX! I leave it connected to an MSX JoyMega adapter, and then connected up my Famicom ASCII Stick via a Famicom to NES adpater chained to an NES to Classic Controller adapter connected to a Wii remote (more on this later). This is a really great pair because there is an official similar ASCII Stick for MSX but it’s very expensive, and the 2 button layout is perfect for MSX.
Another good MSX use: the “Player 2” Switch Famicom Joycon, which completely lacks start+select, but since MSX really only uses a dpad and 2 buttons it makes a rather nice wireless MSX pad.
NES Classic Edition retro receiver
I originally bought this to pair with the raphnet Classic Controller to GameCube adapter mentioned below. Unfortunately these two adapters together make it so the analog stick is perma-mapped to dpad, so this won’t be an effective combo to use a Switch Pro Controller on GameCube. However it does make for a nice way to connect my wireless-modded Astro City Stick to play Soul Calibur 2 with.
This adapter seems to have a mode like above when it thinks it’s connected to an NES/SNES Classic Edition to map the analog to dpad. But when it’s connected to a Wii Remote, it acts fully like a Classic Controller Pro! First thing I tried was using an Xbox One controller like this, bluetooth to Wii Remote back to bluetooth to Wii. This was something to experience once and never again.
However I very quickly discovered it’s great and very appropriate to connect a Wii U Pro Controller for a fully wireless but very similar look&feel Classic Controller, as dumb as it may seem to leave a battery powered wii remote connected to a dongle just left somewhere.
GBros adapter (GC / CC to Switch Bluetooth)
File this one under acting like glue. Bluetooth is the glue of adapters.
So ostensibly, I use this for GameCube controllers on Switch. That became somewhat redundant when I got ahold of the HORI Battle Pad for Switch.
Then it got a good life as a NES/SNES CC -> Switch option, and now as a more flexible option than the offical Switch pads as you can turn on a mode to force dpad to work as analog for games like Link’s Awakening.
Recently I got ahold of some Brook adapters for Genesis / PCE / Saturn / DC / PS. I’ll go into how this thing is useful with those in a later section.
Awkwardly this thing just does not work at all with 8bitdo’s retro receiver line.
SNES to GameCube
This one’s obvious right? I mentioned above but it’s great to use with a Game Boy Player.
When I first got a Switch it also became a useful way to use SNES controllers with Switch, as you can chain it into the official Smash Bros GameCube to USB adapter for Switch, and sure enough any game that lets you use only a dpad and basic inputs works.
Howabout chaining it to an 8bitdo SNES bluetooth adapter? All of a sudden the Switch Online SNES pad works on GameCube, and really any bluetooth controller should work just fine as long as you’re OK being limited to dpad.
GameCube to N64
When I bought this adapter I hadn’t developed the appreciation for the N64 pad I now have. So while I haven’t used it as much as I expected, it does still make a nice option for some games or perhaps someday a N64 allergic 3rd/4th player can make better use of it.
You can also chain this adapter with the SNES to GameCube adapter above to get an SNES pad for the few games that really makes sense in, such as Puyo Puyo SUN.
Classic Controller to GameCube
I had high hopes for this one but alas as mentioned above paired with the 8bitdo CC retro receiver it doesn’t operate to what you’d expect.
However, it does make a really nice way to bring the Classic Controller family into use on GameCube. The original Classic Controller is a good fit, with the analog triggers it is usable in any GC game but has a much better dpad. The CC Pro of course, preferably with the adapter mode set to change ZL/ZR to L/R.
Howabout the NES&SNES Classic Edition pads? Sure enough it’s useful here, actually the first chance I have to use an NES pad directly on my GC.
It gets a bit more interesting when you remember HORI developed a Wii branded GameCube styled Classic Controller for Wii U, right around the release of Smash 4. The lack of analog triggers means some games aren’t workable, Mario Sunshine & Luigi’s Mansion for example, but non-analog triggers are preferable IMO for games like Zelda where you’re pressing L & R a lot. I could see this combo getting some good use in the future.
Then I remembered that Switch Famicom Joycon had teeny tiny L & R buttons, and hey paired with the 8bitdo CC Bluetooth adapter that might make a good Game Boy Player controller, as long as the GBA game makes non-frequent use of L & R.
Famicom Expansion to NES
Barely an adapter, really just connects pins. But the expansion port on the AV Famicom is awkwardly located on the side, and downright inconviniently located on the back of the Analogue NT Mini. So for Famicom accessories, like my ASCII Stick, it’s a nice-to-have.
But then, get creative and you can take the NES output into a HyperKin NES to Classic Controller adapter (mentioned below), and all of a sudden it’s usable on my Wii, GameCube, MSX, and even via a Brook adapter on PC Engine.
NES to Classic Controller
A nice way to use a Dogbone controller with a Wii, or paired with a GBros adapter on a Switch.
But this also acts as a great middleman for getting any NES controller out to bluetooth via a Wii Remote. Once you get to bluetooth you can then pair to any other bluetooth adapter. Got an SNES game that would play well with an NES pad? This can be an interesting option. Yeah there’s the option of getting a passive NES to SNES pad for that one but you can kinda let your mind run at the possibilities.
SNES to Classic Controller
Similar to the above I like this for letting me use my battle-worn SuFami pad on Switch via GBros adapter, or as a middleman in a bluetooth-is-glue chain. It’s good for use with other SNES accessories, or in my case a BX Foundries BX-110 stick as well, to get them usable on Wii/Switch/Other.
Since most of these are pretty similar, I thought it made sense to write out some common things here.
I’ll say right off the bat I bought all of these with the intention to make it easier to use a modern stick with old consoles. This is a common use case and a large variety of sticks are supported. I was disappointed to see that the stock Astro City Mini stick doesn’t work, as it doesn’t conform to a PS3/PS4/Switch-style USB HID, but it may in the future as they all get frequent firmware updates.
I have a common complaint to the USB/Bluetooth to X adapters: they do not have a button to initiate a “pairing mode.” You need to connect over USB to get things paired. This means right off the bat connecting the ideas I’ve mentioned before about connecting things via Wii Remote don’t work, you can’t connect a Switch Famicom Joycon at all, 8bitdo kit-modded controllers can’t sync, and there’s certainly more I’m not thinking of.
Super Converter USB/Bluetooth to Genesis/PCE
Intended to use this with a stick, and certainly a wireless modded Astro City stick connected to Genesis is a joy I didn’t know I needed in my life but now it’s hard to imagine living without it.
It gets more interesting when I wanted to hook my ASCII Stick up to the PC Engine, for some nice 2 button action of course. In this case the adapt-it-to-a-Wii-Remote trick doesn’t work. But you can pair an 8bitdo GBros adapter to the Super Converter via its USB connection, and then connect any Classic Controller up to that.
So that let me do ASCII Stick -> Raphnet Famicom to NES -> Hyperkin NES to CC -> GBros -> Brook Super Converter to PCE and have a wired or semi-wireless connection for that. It sounds convoluted but once connected it just works and it doesn’t feel laggy.
Getting a bit less convoluted howabout just connecting an NES Classic Edition controller up to the GBros for use with PCE+Super Converter? Feels really appropriate, and a lot better than any PCE Controller I own including the HORI Fighting Commander PC especially for games that only use 2 buttons. Or if the hard angles on the NES pad get to me, a dogbone controller -> Hyperkin NES to CC adapter -> GBros -> Brook Super Converter PCE.
Super Converter USB/Bluetooth to PS
These are really intended to use a PS3 or PS4 controller on PS2. That’s a nice use case, as it gives you a good wireless controller option. I’ve gotten very used to a DualShock 3 for PS1 games on PSPgo so that’s certainly something to think about.
But again using a wireless stick on PS was the reason I got this. Much as I love my Namco PS Stick, playing SEGA AGES games on PS2 with an Astro City Stick? Yes please.
However the USB functionality opens up a lot more doors. Ever heard of the SEGA PS2 controller that’s nearly identical to a Saturn controller? Hard to come by these days. But you can fairly easily get RetroBit Sega Saturn controllers – here USB and bluetooth controllers obviously work, but I bought a 2.4ghz Saturn controller and it… oh it came with a USB adapter as well for 2.4GHz and yep can just connect that to the Super Converter and it works. Wireless Saturn Controller connected to my PS2; I’m not into fighting games but it’s a nice option to have, especially for the SEGA AGES titles.
Wingman SD (USB/Bluetooth to Saturn/Dreamcast)
Obviously using a stick on Saturn is great. It’s a lot less great, IMO, on Dreamcast where outside of fighting games most stuff really used that analog stick.
But it got me thinking, I don’t really like the Dreamcast controller. In fact I think it’s downright terrible. What other controller could I use on it that would feel appropriate? It turns out connecting a white Xbox One controller, which looks the part and has ABXY in the right places, feels absolutely fantastic for use on Dreamcast, it even has appropriate feeling triggers, and the adapter has memory for a fake VMU built-in. I haven’t played too much on DC since I got this adapter but this option is kinda transformative for me – it would really make using a Dreamcast a lot more interesting.
This thing has also been recently updated to allow use of any USB keyboard on DC. Really need to try that with Typing of the Dead.
PS to USB
This I very straightforwardly got to connect a PS1 DualShock 1 up for use on PS3/PS4. I’ve also used it with my Namco PS Stick on PS3, but not had any creative ideas here. But who knows, there certainly are a lot of X to PS adapters out there, maybe I’ll come up with something else to use it with.