REVIEW: RETRO-BIT 6 BUTTON GENESIS ARCADE PAD

If you’re only getting into classic superhero games for the Sega Genesis, one of the toughest things other than finding said games is finding a suitable controller to play them with. Sega’s 16-bit console gave Nintendo a run for their money in the early ’90’-s, so there’s no shortage of controllers on the secondary market, but finding ones that are in good condition can be challenging, especially if you’re not close to a retro video game store and have to trust the words of third-party sellers online. The days of scrolling through pages of listings for controllers and scouring the stock of flea markets, conventions and retro video game stores are now over thanks to the 6 Button Arcade Pad from Retro-Bit, a new run of controllers produced in collaboration with Sega that are identical to the ones you would’ve bought at a place FuncoLand once upon a time.

The name of this controller pretty much explains what it is: a flawless recreation of the 6 button controller that was introduced fairly late into the Sega Genesis’ life cycle for the purposes of having parity with the Super Nintendo’s controller for games like Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat II. There are four different types of the controller: two with the classic Genesis plug in black and clear blue and two for use with PC’s via USB in the same color scheme. With regards to looks, Retro-Bit’s offering could easily be confused with the original controller line if it didn’t come in modern packaging with the companies logo:

Retro-Bit’s new controller…

…an original first-party 6 button controller

The same can be said of the feel of the controller too. After using it to play games like Capcom’s The Punisher, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Hyperstone Heist, Sonic the Hedgehog and X-Men 2: Clone Wars, about the only noticeable difference that you’ll possibly find is that you might not know what a new Genesis controller is supposed to feel like if you didn’t grow up with the Genesis or are only coming to it late in life. Button presses felt great as well as responsive, and there were zero instances where it felt like the quality of the controller was throwing off how one would play a game on any other 6 button controller. The cord for the controller is quite long at 10 ft, which can be cumbersome if you’re set up is in a smaller room, but if you’re playing on something like say, the recently released Analogue Mega SG on a modern TV that’s farther away from where you’re sitting, you won’t need to go out and buy any cable extension peripheral.

As you can see even when wrapped around, there’s quite a difference in the cord length. Right: original controller, Left: Retro-Bit’s.

Not only does the non-USB port controller work with all versions of the Genesis/Mega Drive, it even works with most third-party consoles. For the purposes of this piece, the controller could only be tested with a Model 2 Sega Genesis and Hyperkin’s Retron-5, but both boxes picked it up without any issues.

Whether you’re still fondly holding onto your classic Genesis or have only recently started discovering the wonders it has to offer, Retro-Bit’s 6 Button Arcade Pad is a must buy. The unit purchased for this review was secured for $29.99 CAD at a local indie video game store which is inexpensive for something that you know will be high quality right out of the box. However you can get it, stop settling for sticky, used controllers that need to be cleaned the moment you bring them home and enjoy playing Genesis on a fresh 6 button controller the way it was meant to be experienced.

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