A love letter to your thumbs
8BitDo, the purveyor of fine third-party controllers, has revealed the design for their next controller. This one is more than just a slight nod to the Neo Geo CD’s legendary mash-up between arcade stick and joypad.
By “more than just a slight nod,” I mean it’s pretty much exact. In fact, the company themselves say it is “a perfect recreation of the original SNK NEOGEO controller.” That’s sort of inaccurate since they added shoulder and extra function buttons, but I think they’re referring more to the design of the stick. NEOGEO gamepads had a special digital stick that had a unique “click” to it as you hit all the directional inputs. This was first used with the NEOGEO CD console, but the click wheel would also make its way to the NEOGEO pocket.
If you’ve ever felt a click stick, it’s easy to see the appeal. The tactile feedback is something else. The downside is that they were reportedly rather fragile. It’s important to note that 8bitdo is trying to recreate the stick right down to being digital, which will be a big relief to anyone who used the analog recreations that came included with the NEOGEO console reproductions and the NEOGEO Mini arcade units.
The world is a tire fire
To add to this, I kind of love 8BitDo as far as controller manufacturers go. My most used gamepad is an 8BitDo SF30 Pro, which is modeled after a Super Famicom controller. I also own their arcade stick, and in terms of compatibility, quality, and price, it’s hard to beat them. They’re also built rather traditionally, so I’ve modified most of my 8BitDo controllers to fit my preferences more. They’re really neat.
On the other hand, SNK gives me pause. Since 2022, it has been almost entirely owned by a company controlled by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman. Just thinking about it makes the blood run from my face, so if you want to know why this is a problem, just Google it, I guess.
Anyway, the 8BitDo NEOGEO controller should be hitting retailers very soon. It’s compatible with Bluetooth (apparently Android only) and a 2.4GHz USB adapter. The listing states it works with Android, Windows, and the NEOGEO Mini.