September 15 th , 2021, a day that will live in infamy. Okay, not really. But that’s not to say that this day doesn’t hold significance. This is the day, people, that I got a Nintendo Switch. “The joycons! The Nintendo exclusives! The fun! The possibilities!” The future was finally here, in my living room, and I wasn’t planning on going back to the past.
Ya see, I’m a retro-gamer through and through. That’s why I’m here on The NES Page, to share my love of, well NES joy. That fateful day was my first foray into “modern gaming” since the day I got the Xbox 360 in 2011, which now gets played about 2 hours per year. As an avid collector and admirer of all- things retro-gaming, I knew I’d never shun my retro roots. But something about the Switch felt different. That national Nintendo fervor was ever-present, a formidably pungent aroma that can’t be fumigated.
The Switch is unlike any gaming system before it: Somersaulting across the beam, sticking the landing, nary a teeter-totter. Perfectly balanced between what’s old and what’s new. It doesn’t lean too far into modern gaming, nor does it lean too much on its humble yet meteoric beginnings. No, the Switch is your do-all system, a dream come true for a gamer like me.
When I first booted up the Switch, after laying down the gauntlet in Smash Bros for hours, I started searching the system’s other capabilities. Eventually, I stumbled on the NES games, free-to-play with a Nintendo Online subscription. That’s easy enough, especially at a respectable $20/year clip. But something was amiss. Sure, all the heavy-hitters were there: The Super Mario Bros games, Punch-Out!!, Zelda, Kirby’s Adventure. And a few of my personal favorites, Dr. Mario, Gradius, and LOLO to be exact. But it just didn’t feel right. Where’s the experience factor? This Joy-con just ain’t cutting it.
Enter the wireless NES controllers, expertly crafted by Nintendo themselves. Now I’m no stranger to third-party accessories, I can’t even tell you how many QuickShot controllers I have for the NES. But there’s something to be said about the quality of a first-party accessory, ESPECIALLY when that accessory is made by Nintendo themselves.
FINALLY, GETTING INTO REVIEWING THESE BADBOYS
These Godlike controllers are absolutely perfect in every detail, and they look darn nice bookending my Switch. These controllers are easily charged by clipping into the sides of your system, much the way you’d hook up the Joy-cons. But that’s not to say they’re without some minor charging-flaws. I have a third-party Joy-con charging dock, and the controller is too long to sit flush when clicked in, failing to connect to charge up.
At a quick glance, you’d assume that the controllers are identical in size. Well, you’re right. They are. Thought I could throw you off. From everything I can see, without getting out a digital precise measuring tool, these controllers appear to be identical from top to bottom, side to side. They’re an exact replica to that of the original.
But not entirely.
While that may be true for the physical dimensions, the Switch NES controller comes in a bit heavier, approximately 30% heavier than the original. Few things are more important than the feel of a controller, especially if you’re trying to recapture that original and authentic experience. Truthfully, it’s a very noticeable difference, especially if you play the NES natively on a frequent basis. But I wouldn’t say it’s a BAD thing. I actually enjoy the extra, “heft,” if you will. It feels more substantial in my hands, more akin to something from the late 90s.
The rest of the controller’s “feel” is genuinely spot-on. If there’s any difference or variation between how the buttons move and work on an OG NES controller vs the Switch NES controller, I cannot tell. Same depth of press and return on the buttons. Same placement. It all feels truly, to use the word again, genuine.
Overall, the experience of playing these wonderful NES games on my Switch is all-the-more better after acquiring these thoughtfully reproduced NES controllers. The wireless feature alone makes me question if I’ll ever play these titles on original hardware ever again. At a robust price of $60 for the pair, before tax, I’ll admit it’s not for everyone. And one has to wonder… What happens when the next Nintendo system is released and eventually the Switch servers are no longer supported/functional? Game system developers make oodles of money on accessories, which is especially important considering most consoles are sold at a loss. So I’d be very surprised in Nintendo’s newest system, whatever it may be, is fully functional with all old controllers.
They’re going to want to push new controllers, and history tells us, there will be some new way of playing that can only work properly with their newest controller. If you can get your hands on a pair (they’re not always easy to get), and you don’t mind the price tag, I think you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised. It improves the gaming experience tenfold, and can be enjoyed with a friend or family member for those grueling, longwinded level-20 Dr. Mario duels.
*Author’s notes: I did weigh the controllers multiple times. I got 2.3 ounces many times the first time when the pictures were taken. Later on, I second-guessed myself, and it weighed at 2.4 ounces. I see other sites online saying it weighs 2.6 ounces. I’m sticking with 2.3 to 2.4 ounces.
What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well, I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!