controller talk

I love game controllers. It’s really fun to experiment with different ones, and there’s something about the look and feel that always has me buying different ones. A great thing about primarily gaming on Linux & Steam Deck is the wide compatibility. I’m not much of a collector of consoles but I’ve been buying a bunch of different controllers lately.


I’ve seen lots of controller talk in the Switch controller thread but thought it’d be fun to have a thread dedicated to controller talk. Whenever we get new controllers it could be fun to share thoughts to let others know. As they’re quite difficult to judge the quality of when buying online.

What’s your favorite controller? What’s your dream controller if it doesn’t exist? Do you have preferred controllers for certain types of games? Do you prefer symmetrical sticks or asymmetrical?

I really preferred wired controllers. I don’t like charging/changing batteries and dealing with the annoyances of Bluetooth. 8BitDo makes a lot of controllers wired or that support a wired connection which I dig.

I love the 8BitDo M30 controller, wired. It’s my go-to for pretty much any 2D game. Feels good for shmups and comfortable on my hands. My stick too from the photo is what I use when playing shmups. And for 3D games I use my DualShock 4 a lot of the time, which just feels perfectly molded to my hands.

The RetroBit controllers (SNES and Saturn) both feel mushy in a way I don’t love. But they’re cheap and nice to have around.

My newest controller is the 8BitDo Ultimate C Wired which was USD$20. Love the color. Feels good in the hands. The shoulder buttons feel bad. Too far to press and not enough resistance. The triggers are nice tho. Dpad doesn’t have much range of motion when rocking it. So maybe a fine analog stick controller for $20 but not a new favorite.

Love the Steam Deck dpad myself… would totally take that as a separate controller. Vita feels good too!

Anyway, looking forward to controller talk and hear what y’all think across platforms and handhelds and manufacturers. This thread could also be for sharing when new controllers get released too. Okay thanks bye.

Oh yeah that Hori Fighting Commander in my photo. I had such high hopes for it. I used a gift card to buy it. I do not like it at all! It’s really awkward to hold. The bumpers feel gross. The dpad is too stiff. So disappointed because from photos I thought I’d love a little bit of a bigger fightpad controller. But it’s ultimately quite disappointing. I’ll likely give it some more time and see if I warm up to it but after a couple hours I formed those aforementioned thoughts!

It makes me long for those MadCatz fight pads from the 360 era. Those ruled… I wish I still had mine.

Nice thread! I feel like the controller is a huge part of the gaming experience that maybe doesn't get talked about unless the controller is bad.

I guess a lot of people don't like the Dreamcast controller at all, which I can get. It feels like it was the last of a time when controllers were trying to figure out what they wanted to do with a 3d game. The first Dualshock controller kinda standardized the modern controller in a way.

That Logitech controller in your pic was my go to gaming controller for a long time and I picked it because of its similarity to the Dualshock and that being "the" controller layout. For the record, I do prefer symmetrical joysticks as opposed to the Xbox or Switch asymmetrical joysticks.

I love the feel of the 8bitdo m30, I just didn't come up on 3/6 button controllers so it feels verrrrry weird on that side. Shape, dpad, everything else tho… Beautiful. Gotta spend more time with it and get used to it!

I picked up some thing while on vacation called like a switch nano controller. It's third party and its awful for general Bluetooth use (the reason I bought it, oof) but for switch its excellent. Highly recommend if you are a smaller hands user, but I am a big hands switch user and even I like the feel of it.

8bitdo sn30 is my usual mister go-to because I am an mere unevolved 4 button understander, it's okay but I wish I had bought the plus. I still may one day. I'm also considering just shelling out for one of those fancy elite controllers but really I have so many it feels weird to spend so much on just another one I'll only use 10% of the time!!

Also I‘ve been thinking about the gravis pc gamepad a lot lately. I don’t miss using it, but I miss seeing it around, yknow? It was an important lil guy for playing computer games in an era of still mostly joysticks

I am a weird defender of the N64 controller. Granted, it‘s analogue stick is pretty fragile, but I think the controller feels great despite it’s weird three grip design and I have a hard time playing games that were designed for it via emulators or rereleases. I have an even weirder take that when it comes to Smash Bros., i actually think the N64 controller feels more natural for me than the GameCube controller (Z button for shield and tapping its R button for grabs feel so much better).

@“Brett”#p119590 oh hey you mean this guy?


I dug this up lately before getting that sn30 thinking it could be my mister 6b Saturn option... I can't remember why it didn't hit the spot for me, something about getting the buttons and dpad working right wasn't quite good... Shame because that dpad was GREAT.

I haven‘t really “loved” too many of my controllers because the ones I have have mostly been stock. I have had a bunch of “fight sticks” over the years though that I’ve made between no changes and have made fully custom controllers.

When _Street Fighter 4_ came out and there was a renaissance in affordable controllers, I found a used _SF4_ branded one on Craigslist and that was my first one. Was pretty happy with it and over the years replaced the stick with a Sanwa and the buttons with silent Sanwas. I ended up also getting a second MadCatz one that was WWE branded and an entry level Hori. And I got another MadCatz Elite or something one year during a sale during PAX (that I didn't attend). I also had a pair of convertors so I could use the 360 controllers on the PS4. I don't have any of these anymore. They've all gone to good homes.

Now I have a Hori Real Arcade Pro Noir which I like quite a bit. The lever and buttons are all perfectly serviceable as a degenerate Sanwa-liker.

When I built my arcade cabinet, the "hard" and interesting part was doing the sticks and the electronics. And other than a few glitches with bad firmware, I've had good results with the Brooks Universal Fighting Board and the PS5 upgrade bits.


What's the funniest controller in my collection that I still have? I'm glad you asked! It's a 25+ year old USB Gravis PC Gamepad Pro. I do not know why I have still have it because I use Xbox controllers for connecting to PCs now, but I'm keeping it at least until I do my stream of _Jazz Jackrabbit_ for the Insert Credit discord!


@“antillese”#p119628 I found a used SF4 branded one[…] They’ve all gone to good homes.

i know one of those homes


I've used this thing almost daily since I got it to play my before bed shoot em ups. One thing I've enjoyed doing is trying to play games that aren't designed for an arcade stick with it. So far the best one I've found for this is [Vividlope]( (pictured above). It just works extremely well with the kind of movement that the game has.

I bought 4 pink replacement buttons to have a pink and white palette but I haven't gotten around to actually installing them. I was thinking about installing them at the same time as I added some custom art but then I learned this stick needs a lami-label sticker to replace the art and I also haven't gotten around to going to a printing shop.

I don't have that much experience with different controllers, I usually just play with stock controllers cause that's what I've had for the longest times. There's one I used a ton before getting the arcade stick from @"antillese"#59 though.


I found one of these PDP PS3 “versus fighting pad” in a thrift shop last year as documented in the first post of the [Thrifty garaging fleas! ]( thread. It was my go to for almost a year to play shoot em ups. It's very cheap feeling and it's loud as fuck but it has neo geo pad style microswitched that are extremely satisfying. You can get them brand new on ebay for like 10 bucks but since they are old stock the plastic gets all gross and sticky and you have to clean them with alcohol. There's also an xbox 360 version of this controller that supposidly doesn't have the gross sticky plastic problem but those ones are harder to find for some reason.

i don't know how good it is for fighting games though. I believe @"kory"#525 got one of those of my recommendation.

@“穴”#p119645 I‘ve been kinda jonesin’ for some Thunder Force IV recently!! I've gotta go fire it up!

Does anyone know if is there an adapter that I can get so when I finally freak out and just buy a [NegiCon on eBay](, I can use it on my emulation PC? I'm more or less all in an emulation environment these days but that NegiCon would be pretty cool to use and get me into _R4_ again!

Mister Addons has taken his extensive latency testing and turned it into a “Reflex” brand. This applies to PSUs and AV switches, but most importantly he has designed a low latency USB device that connects to SNAC (e.g. serial native) HDMI adapters that were originally designed for original controllers to be used on the MiSTer.

@"antillese"#p119693 this should fit the bill with the NegiCon when it comes out.

here is a link to the SNAC adapters it uses:

maaaaan I think my controller ranking is something like

  • 1. Current Xbox
  • 2. Gamecube
  • 3. Dreamcast
  • I just can't get enough of that current Xbox controller. It fits my hands perfectly, I love playing some dang games on that thing.

    Despite being a PlayStation person since the PS1 every time I go back and use one of the old PS controllers I feel like they're not actually my favorite. I do like the PS1 Dualshock though.

    @“copySave”#p119705 Will this work under Windows?

    @“antillese”#p119719 Yes - Here are the features:


    The best USB encoder for classic gaming peripherals is here! With the Reflex Adapter you can play with your original controllers on modern devices with the lowest input latency possible. Uses your existing HDMI SNAC adapters to work with a buttload of different accessories.


    Windows, Linux, and MiSTer compatibility with Direct Input
    OLED screen indicates controller mode, shows per-port controller detection, and provides live feedback of the inputs as they are pressed
    Change modes with a press of a dedicated button - multiple modes can be stored simultaneously (as memory permits)
    Individual mode input mapping on MiSTer (no shared mappings between modes)
    Custom software updater by Wickerwaka - works on PC, Linux, Mac, and even your MiSTer
    Custom firmware by Sonik and is open source
    0.84 ms to 2.92 ms average latency across all modes


    Supported Controllers:
    NES + SNES + Virtual Boy (2P)*
    Genesis + Saturn (2P)*
    PSX (2P) / GunCon (1P) / NeGcon (2P) / JogCon (1P)**
    Neo-Geo (1P)
    PC-Engine (2P)
    3DO (6P?)***
    Jaguar (1P)
    N64 (2P)
    GameCube (2P)
    Wii Classic (1P)
    -* Any combination of these supported controllers
    -** Each mode is separate (no mixing)
    -*** Only 2 controllers tested so far but theoretically 6 can be used


    @“穴”#p119645 I believe @kory got one of those of my recommendation.

    I haven’t used it for fighting games yet, but I can see it being pretty decent since the dpad/stick thing has very tactile clicks when registering inputs (and, of course, the 6 button layout). I’ve used it for a couple shmups on the mister and had a real good time :)

    If you do plan on buying one, pick up a bottle of this stuff and plan to perform a thorough cleaning, since the entire back shell was coated in tar-like black sludge out of the package:


    I can talk about controllers all damn day, they're the single most important aspect of gaming hardware. They determine your experience, enjoyment, and even perspective while playing any game.

    I've been eyeing that 8bitdo arcade stick for over a year. How do you like it? Clearly it's good if you're kitting it out like that. The only arcade stick I own is a Playstation 1 stick, because I thought I could adapt it to any console, but, well, most adapters are for PS2, and expect analog stick mapping, which my HORI Real Arcade for Playstation 1 doesn't have. So I'm thinking about a modern/USB stick, and just buying adapters for it.... Or a DIY stick, or DIY brooks adapters...............

    I'm stoked there's a general controller thread... between the fighting games, shooting games, switch controller thread, I've spread it out thin.... And controllers are extremely important to me for getting the desired experience.

    I lubricate all controllers with moving parts to prevent wear. I use Shinetsu silicone grease.

    For consoles, I prefer to always use OEM pads, or second-ish party stuff, like HORI and HUDSON's output since the 80's. And for that reason, I believe there is no perfect all in one controller. Even for modern PC/Switch gaming, sometimes I prefer the PS2 layout of 8bitdo pro 2, and sometimes I want an offset joystick. I use OEM, often Japanese-region controllers for all my consoles. **I'm definitively a controller snob, right down to the exact textures of the plastics.** It has to be OEM quality. I rarely allow someone else to even touch my controller. It's very personal. It gives me a physical anxiety sensation to see someone else wearing down my joystick. These things are antiques, after all, and should be treated as such!!
    I'll post this *again*, because it's true: *Ya push A button-- ya wash ya hands. Ya push B button-- Ya wash ya hands... And then ya push C button-- and then ya wash ya hands*

    Logitech controllers for PC are so insulting, I used one to play Psychonauts on pc in 2005 or whatever, and never again. But then recently I discovered the *Microsoft Wingman* was a prototype Xbox controller that copied the Sega Saturn layout using the same hardware that would be used for the *Duke*, and it all clicked into place. The Wingman was the best PC controller for console style games before Xbox came around.

    I **love** that there are great OEM replicas out there these days, between the Saturn wireless pad that have been successful, the NSO controller lineup, and the fact Nintendo hasn't stopped producing Gamecube controllers since their debut generation.

    I like the look of the new 8bitdo ultimate wired C controller, I may even get one, but would prefer wireless, and my nintendo pro controller so far works for what I've been playing on PC, which is switch emulation.
    Always looking forward to what 8bitdo cooks up next.

    I am not one to complain about any OEM first party controller for a retro console, with one exception. I won't complain about the original playstation controllers, I even own the original Japanese one with stubby wings, and have used it for hundreds of hours beating games. I don't complain about the N64 controller, it was one of my first controllers, and I still find it to be quite comfortable. The only issue as I've aged is my hands are now big and have pretty long fingers... So I'm beginning to notice comfort, but still, I adapt to the controller, not the other way around. Anyways the only controller I'm not entirely comfortable with is the original PC Engine controller, but I've still used it exclusively with my PC engine, and beat Rondo of Blood with it, so it aint that bad.


    @“treefroggy”#p120032 that 8bitdo arcade stick

    I can vouch for its quality and versatility--I've used it with Switch, MiSTer, and PC and haven't had any issues. I mostly play wired, but it comes with its own little 2.4 GHz usb receiver (which stores away nicely behind a little door) _and_ supports bluetooth. The unit is solid and weighty, with a big slab of metal attached internally to the lower shell. The included stick and buttons felt just fine to me when I got it, though once I unearthed my old Mad Catz TE stick and compared it with the Sanwa parts I could tell they were of slightly (but noticeably) lower quality, I would say like 80-90% there. The stick has just a bit of wiggle before registering an input, for example, unlike the more stiff and precise Sanwa part.

    The good news, as is evident, is that it's super easy to customize. Just a few days ago a put in a Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT and it feels great. It's not a completely trivial installation, however, as the stock stick is wired slightly differently (each of the four switches' ground lines are wired separately to the internal PCB, unlike the Sanwa's 5-pin connector with a common ground). Fortunately, 8bitdo anticipated this and there are 5 pre-tinned solder pads on the PCB ready to accept the GND,L,R,D,U connections:


    I also have a set of buttons on the way--will share some photos when it's done! It feels great with the new stick. If I had one complaint it would be that the size of the surface is a bit small for me (compared to my Mad Catz or Victrix), but that does make it nice and (relatively) portable.

    @“kory”#p120056 That‘s awesome dude thanks for the in-depth info. I have more than enough DIY & solder skills to make a stick, I think therefore I would be far more interested in a fully DIY setup. Especially because the aesthetic of the 8bitdo stick is not at all what I want. I am likely going to use the parts from my HORI Real Arcade from 1997. Then again, the 8bitdo could make a fine core to put inside a custom housing down the line… It’s probably the best entry-level all around adaptable and customizeable basis for a lazy person like me who doesn't know where to begin with ordering a controller motherboard to begin building a stick for the first time.

    I've actually already got a stash of buttons aside from my 1997 stick... It's not hard to get the input triggers for a stick, that part is fun and easy... it's the building of the motherboard and controller and I/O that is daunting.

    @“treefroggy”#p120064 I talked myself in and out of building a custom stick for easily 15 years before I just bought that MadCatz one. I strongly recommend getting something off the shelf and upgrading whatever components you happen to prefer.

    @“antillese”#p120091 @treefroggy

    Yeah I would second this, I bought a barely used mayflash stick for about 1/2 price from someone off Craigslist and it’s been great. Super easy to swap in the parts you want. Works out of the box for newer consoles/PC and it’s usb so should be easy enough to buy/build whatever adapters you need for old consoles. Also easy to customize with printed overlays. Not sure what added benefit you would get building your own unless you want something really specific like a paddle or trackball and I bet that kind of thing might get kind of complicated anyway.