8Bitdo’s SNES30 Retro Game Controller – Better Than The Original

8Bitdo's SNES30 Game Controller with box.

8Bitdo’s SNES30 Game Controller with box.

Building on Project Home Arcade v2, I wanted to add a couple of wireless, authentic-feeling, controllers for use with classic game console emulation, like Atari 2600, NES, Genesis, SNES, etc.  After a bit of research, I decided to try out the SNES30 bluetooth game controller from 8Bitdo1, and I’m very glad that I did.  Connecting via Bluetooth, the SNES30 is compatible with a wide-range of devices, including; Windows, Mac OS, iOS, Android, Linux, RaspberryPi/RetroPie, Nintendo Switch, and more.

The SNES30 bluetooth game controller by 8Bitdo.

The SNES30 bluetooth game controller by 8Bitdo.

8Bitdo’s SNES30 has a nice heft and feel that indicates its quality built.  The controller is made with thick, injection-molded plastic, and the feel and play on the buttons and D-Pad feel as if they came out of Nintendo’s own factory.  Playing games with the SNES30 is a delight, as they really add a sense of authenticity when playing your old Mario games.  Even the buttons have that old-school ‘click’ sound when you press them.  From a hardware-perspective, the SNES30 is a very well crafted product.

The front-buttons and USB charging port on the SNES30.

The front-buttons and USB charging port on the SNES30.

Alas, on the software front, not all was roses-and-sunshine.  In order to get the SNES30 to pair with my RetroPie system, I had to upgrade the firmware on each controller.  Making things a bit more frustrating, 8Bitdo has discontinued the SNES30, and essentially scrubbed it from their website.  I suspect a letter or two from Nintendo’s legal department may have had something to do with that.  The SNES30 has been re-branded on 8Bitdo’s support page as the SN302, and the firmware is here – http://support.8bitdo.com.  After upgrading to the v4.xx firmware, the RetroPie system instantly recognized the controllers, and I was happily gaming in no time.

While you can use other game controllers for retro console gaming with your RetroPie, or other system, few will feel as authentically retro as the SNES30/SN30 family of controllers.

SNES30 Game Controller3

Pros:

  • High build quality.
  • Authentic SNES controller look-and-feel.
  • No wires.

Cons:

  • May require firmware upgrade to use with RetroPie/Linux.
  • Rebranded as SN30, so, technically the SNES30 is a discontinued product.

Verdict = Recommended!


References   [ + ]

1, 2, 3.Amazon Referral Link

Mike Knotts

Mike Knotts was born in 1968 in a small town in southern Indiana. Even when very young, Mike showed a love for all-things technical and sci-fi. Moving with his family to California in the early 80's, he eventually graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in History. Rather than put that to good use, Mike continued to pursue his passion for technology by working for early, regional ISP's in the mid 1990's. He currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where he works as a project manager for an Internet startup. Mike is a co-founder of Geekometry.

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