Hardware & Tech Reviews

RetroLink Nintendo 64 USB Controller Review

Recently, I have been taking a break from the sleuth of games that we have in the modern era. I didn’t have my physical Nintendo 64 with me so I decided to pick up an emulator and all the games that I own for it. I set it all up, rigged an Xbox 360 controller as my controller, and began playing. However, after a little bit of time I noticed that playing these old classics with an Xbox controller didn’t feel quite the same. I felt that this controller was taking away from the experience (especially since there were no C buttons). So I did some research about connecting an original controller to the PC and came across the Retrolink Nintendo 64 USB Controller. Ecstatic to see such a thing existed, I immediately placed my order and got it 3 days later.

Design & Features

For those of you who had a Nintendo 64 as a kid, using this controller should make you feel right at home. The casing of the controller is exactly the same as an official Nintendo one so no need to adjust your grip (if you have one). The buttons have the same placements, look and feel as the original too making it blissfully familiar. The buttons function well but can be a little on the tight side to push, something a bit of use will sort out. The joystick is (again) exactly the same as a standard controller with similar resistance however  there seems to be no “dead zone” where the joystick can move around without triggering anything, a nice improvement from the original. It even has a small plastic ring right under the joystick so if you are eating while gaming food scraps will not get caught in the sockets. The best aspect about this controller though, is that it’s a simple ‘plug in and play’ accessory. It did come supplied with a small disc (I would assume it’s the drivers for certain systems) but I didn’t need it in the end.

nintendo 64 usb controller

The functionality of the controller is superb. I felt no lag time between my actions on the controller and the subsequent action in the game itself. The buttons and joystick seem very durable and able to take much abuse over time. After about a few days of use, it is still holding up just as it was when I took it out of the package.

Cons/Flaws

One “flaw” I could say about the controller is no ability to connect any controller expansion packs to the back. The flap to lock in an expansion is still there, so you could potentially put a memory card or rumble pack in the back if you felt like it but there’s no clarification as to whether they’re compatible.

Now the only problem I did come across while playing with this controller was the plastic ring under the joystick to catch food scraps and such. The ring is just small enough that when using it during normal play, it got caught on a part inside the controller and bent the ring a little bit. That little bend prevents the joystick from sliding anywhere easily and can become frustrating, especially in the middle of a party game. Lucky for me, I’ve done a lot of DIY work on controllers and gaming equipment in the past so I have managed to cut a Post-it note to a size just slightly bigger than the original plastic piece and put it in. Now my controller works perfectly fine again and I haven’t had any issues ever since.

Summary

The Retrolink Nintendo 64 USB Controller is a must buy for anyone who is trying to emulate the Nintendo 64 properly. The design and functionality of the controller match almost perfectly with the controller we used to play with. This controller will help to bring back the nostalgia that you were looking for and making it feel like you are playing the real thing (almost). I personally have already thought of some interesting projects that I could do with these and plan on buying more when the time comes, keep and eye out for these on BagoGames.com in the future!

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