The 8bitdo Retro Receiver Solves the SNES Classic’s Biggest Problem for $13

I finally managed to get my hands on the elusive SNES Classic, so of course, the first thing I did was hack it. My mini SNES is currently stuffed with 127 different games, ranging from the Sega Master System and Sega Genesis to the various members of the Game Boy family, NES, and SNES. It’s beautiful.

*I used Syndrome208’s tutorial here, which took about two hours.

However, the wired controllers that come packed in with the console are a bit on the short side. I have a wall-mounted TV, so needless to say they wouldn’t even reach my couch.

After a little online sleuthing, I discovered this handy wireless dongle made by the fine folks at 8bitdo — who also make a variety of wireless controllers that mimic the look and feel of yesteryear’s models, but with modern features like dual analog sticks and extra shoulder buttons.

What the dongle does is plug directly into the SNES Classic and allow you to sync any 8bitdo wireless controller to your console. But what it also allows you to do is pair any wireless controller with Bluetooth functionality, like the PS3 and PS4 DualShocks, a Wiimote, or the Wii U’s Pro Controller.

The reviews on Amazon seemed mostly positive, so I took the $13 gamble. It was either that or never play my SNES Classic.

Well, the dongle arrived earlier today and I had a chance to put it through its paces using a Wii U Pro Controller. This was probably the first time my Wii U Pro Controller had been turned on since Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze released back in February of 2014, so you can imagine it was pretty dusty when I pulled it out of the office drawer. But hey, at least it’s getting a little love now!

The dongle’s packaging contained minimal instructions for pairing it with an 8bitdo controller, but what about my Pro Controller? It was exactly the same. I plugged it into the player one controller port, turned the SNES Classic on, pressed the sync button on my Wii U Pro Controller, and then pressed the red sync button on the front of the dongle. Within seconds they were paired together and I was well on my way to finishing Contra for the 200th time.

Now, the SNES controller is still comfortable by today’s standards. If you want an authentic experience and you can afford it, I’d probably recommend grabbing 8bitdo’s SN30 2.4G (standard SNES) or SN30 Pro (adds dual analog sticks) model to accompany the wireless dongle. Their controllers can pair up with your Nintendo Switch as well and are far less expensive than the $70 Pro Controller.

I wanted a way to play my SNES Classic wirelessly from the comfort of my couch, so the Wii U Pro Controller works just fine. It’s comfortable, has a nice d-pad for platformers and fighting games, and I’m sure as hell not using my Wii U anytime soon so there’s no fear of having to sync it back and forth. You can also wirelessly reset the console by pressing down on the d-pad + select, which allows you to access your list of games without having to physically reset the SNES Classic (the only method available using its accompanied wired controllers).

I haven’t experienced any sort of input lag or performance issues up to 15-feet away, but I was unable to test any further distances due to the size of my office. Whether I was hopping over platforms in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, throwing rocks at Jason in Friday the 13th, navigating a battle menu in Chrono Trigger, or delivering spinning piledrivers as Zangief in Street Fighter II Turbo, every button press always worked as intended.

If you’re looking for a cheap way to enjoy your SNES Classic from a distance, I definitely recommend picking up the Retro Receiver. It’s a wise investment.

9 thoughts on “The 8bitdo Retro Receiver Solves the SNES Classic’s Biggest Problem for $13

  1. 8bitdo makes great stuff. I frequent a small biz here in CT Retro Games Plus often, and they carry a lot of their stuff. It’s a bit pricey compared to the other clone controllers out there. But they all seem to be built phenomenally. Hopefully they’ll make an NES Advantage clone.

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  2. This is awesome. Question for you though – does this allow you to rebind the reset button aka the Save State managing button? While I dig the functionality being baked into a native part of the console, the lack of a button-equivalent is sort of a bummer, especially for a cheater who abuses save states like myself.

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