No doubt about it, Nintendo did a killer job of designing the SNES Classic. Their miniaturized version of the company’s beloved 16-bit console looks great and comes loaded with a stellar lineup of built-in games. And, as was the case with the previously released NES Classic Edition, the pack-in controllers are sturdy and feel just like you remember them – that is, save for the painfully short cord that comes hardwired to them to keep players tethered close to their television sets, much to the chagrin of their strained eyeballs.
Thankfully, retro-minded hardware manufacturer My Arcade is giving players the chance to cut the cord with the Super Gamepad. Priced at $24.99, it’s the perfect solution for those who prefer to keep their gaming untethered. The controller is simple to set up. All you have to do is plug the included wireless dongle into the controller port and slap in a pair of AAA batteries. After that, you’re free to experience some of the best games from the 16-bit era from up to 25 feet away from your console – all with no discernable latency.
During my time with the My Arcade Super Gamepad, I tried a number of demanding titles and found the controller to be more than up to the task at hand. Games that required pinpoint precision. Hopping from missile to missile and taking out waves of alien scum in Contra III: The Alien Wars felt tight and responsive. Likewise, pummeling punks in Super Punch-Out! was as seamless as playing with a wired controller. After spending hours testing a wide variety of games, I never any issues with inputs not being recognized, even when playing from the other side of my sizeable living room. Simply put, this controller does exactly what it’s designed to do, and it does it well.
The My Arcade Super Gamepad looks and feels the part of a premium controller. The buttons have a satisfying throw to them and the d-pad is very comfortable to use. The controller also features a pair of DualShock-style grips that help with the ergonomics, making it quite comfortable to use when compared to the standard SNES Classic pad. Additionally, My Arcade has made the wise decision to incorporate a Home button on the center of the controller that allows you to back out of games and access the options menu – a feature curiously absent from the original controller’s design. Though I have to admit that I did find this button to be a bit mushier than the rest. In fact, I sometimes had to press the button a few times to exit a game.
While the Home button is great, My Arcade has also added a turbo button into the equation for those with lest dextrous digits. And if six buttons aren’t enough, they’ve also added a pair of ZL and ZR triggers which come in handy when using the Wii and Wii U virtual console titles. And, as you probably already guessed, the Super Gamepad is fully compatible with the NES Classic as well.
Overall, the My Arcade Super Gamepad is a huge improvement over the standard SNES Classic controller. It’s comfortable and responsive, and the new turbo and ZL and ZR buttons make it versatile when used across multiple platforms. The Home button is also a huge plus, even if it’s occasionally a bit too squishy. And with a generous 72-hour battery life, you’ll be able to do some serious gaming without burning through batteries. That said, if you’re looking to upgrade from the stock SNES Classic pad, you can’t go wrong with the My Arcade Super Gamepad.
Final Verdict: 4.5/5
Full disclosure: This review is based on a sample unit provided by the manufacturer.