The product page description for the miadore Retro N64 Controller doesn’t have much confidence in its own creation, more or less pushing these as additional, secondary controllers rather than replacements for originals or more premium options. Despite the fact that it’s a two-pack and really ups its value proposition if you want to create a fun multiplayer original Nintendo 64 (N64) console gameplay environment without breaking the bank, there are some serious issues with the controller.
You can definitely pay more for more premium options – even wireless solutions – but most of us these days don’t play with multiple people on a local multiplayer console on a regular enough basis to justify the extra investment. And while these controllers don’t mimic the unique original Nintendo controller design, they do a good job of at least superficially mimicking the modern trend of going with a more traditional layout, with the analog stick on the upper left instead of the d-pad, and in turn the d-pad in the center rather than the analog stick. This design concept does away with the triple handles of the original and is definitely easier to pick up for modern hands used to today’s controller designs. Again, while this layout is not perfect for every N64 game, it can arguably work better for many of the games in the library.
My two pack was a translucent green and opaque yellow, which matched how they looked on the product page. The feel of the green plastic seemed a bit slippier than the yellow. I also noted the yellow’s d-pad was more recessed than the green’s, and a slightly different feel from the triggers. I don’t know if it’s up to manufacturing variances or simple quality control, but the green felt like a better overall performer. Unfortunately, even at this competitive price point for the pair, I was really expecting more consistency, especially since these are sold as a pair.
The analog stick feels fine and is responsive. The face buttons similarly performed well. The two sets of triggers were too recessed for my liking, resulting in mishits. The thin controller cables, which are approximately 6 feet in length, are done well and remained tangle-free.
Despite mirroring more modern designs and having a memory card/rumble pack slot, these controllers are difficult to recommend because they just don’t perform like an original or slightly more expensive modern replacement controller. The poor d-pads and trigger pairs are simply unacceptable.
Bottom line, there are better options out there (including one from miadore themselves), so even if you’re looking for an inexpensive controller addition for occasional local multiplayer battles on your original console – and you don’t want to upset your friends and family – you’re likely better off looking elsewhere. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives out there.