People love their retro games. We all know that by now. And some even swear by their vintage controllers over contemporary alternatives. We imagine the NeoGeo faithful to be among the latter, as there’s just something special about the clicky joystick that came with the NeoGeo CD’s gamepad. That’s why they made sure the 8BitDo NeoGeo Wireless Controller delivered the same distinct sensation as the original controller from 1994.
Equipped with microswitches, the original gamepad had a click-style joystick that produced a recognizable sound and feel that gamers of the time either hated or loved. Just reading the accounts, it really sounded divisive as heck. If you’re hankering to get a wireless NeoGeo gamepad in 2023, though, we imagine you fall among the latter, so recreating that same distinct control system is paramount to how well you can enjoy this controller and that’s exactly what they deliver here.
The 8BitDo NeoGeo Wireless Controller recreates the same curvy and compact shape as the original gamepad, with four action buttons on the right, a couple of system buttons in the middle, and the labeled joystick on the left. They also add a pair of shoulder bumpers to bring it more in line with modern gamepads and two extra system buttons, while changing the layout of the action buttons to be more in line with current gamepad layouts. Instead of using a modern joystick, they reproduced the microswitch version of the original, so you get the same click-filled sensation from the joystick as the classic 90s gamepad.
That’s right, they actually found a way to manufacture the same click-style joystick that’s been out of production for many years, reprising the signature sound and feel that made it such a distinct element in the gamepad. Will you love it? Depends on your own preference, but if you’re specifically trying to relive your old days with the NeoGeo, we imagine you’re going to feel the same way now as you did back in the day.
While you can use the 8BitDo NeoGeo Wireless Controller tethered via a USB cable, it also comes with Bluetooth, so you can use it wirelessly with Android devices. For PCs, though, you’ll have to use the 2.4G wireless dongle, so you’ll still need an open USB slot in order to use it untethered on a laptop or desktop system. In case you own one of SNK’s NeoGeo Mini, it’s also compatible with that, either via a USB cable or the 2.4G dongle. We imagine this will make an ideal controller for SNK’s miniature arcade cabinet. Hopefully, it can work with the Analogue Neo, too.
Aside from the standard black gamepad, the controller is also available in four limited editions, each bearing colorful graphics of individual characters from SNK’s King of Fighters series. Specifically, they have special editions each for arch-rivals Iori Yagami and Kyo Kusanagi, whose familial blood feud have ran on for centuries, as well as Mai Shiranui and Terry Bogard, both of whom have also appeared in the Fatal Fury series.
The 8BitDo NeoGeo Wireless Controller is available now.