Retro Controller Adapters
This page describes ways to use controllers from classic game systems on modern consoles and emulation setups. It’s my opinion that using a console’s original controller can sometimes be as important as display lag, for preserving the original game experience. Luckily, there’s plenty of adapters that allow you to use original controllers in variety of newer environments!
Emulation boxes generally use USB for their controller support, which means getting a high-quality USB converter is an excellent addition to your setup. Also, the PS3, Xbox and many other consoles can use a USB controller as well! Many of the stores listed in the GC&Wii section below offer extremely low-latency USB adapters, as well as their console-to-console variants.
While the adapters below are all great, the Bliss Box is a device that can convert controllers from almost any console to USB! If you’re looking for one solution for everything, please check out their page: https://bliss-box.net/store/
Gamecube & Wii Adapters:
I find that using original controllers is a great alternative to using the official Wii Classic Controller or Pro controller. As good as the pro controller is, it doesn’t feel like the controllers from the original systems, which in my opinion is a huge part of experiencing the classic games.
There are two types of retro controller adapters available: Some plug into the Gamecube’s controller port and others plug into the bottom of the Wiimote. The Gamecube port versions are only compatible with Gamecube systems and original Wii’s that have the GC controller ports on top. The Wiimote versions are compatible with both the Wii and Wii U. Please note that none of these adapters require configuration, they just work. Anyone who has ever had to set up button mappings knows how nice it is to have something pre-configured. Here’s a list of all the ones I’ve found, broken up into two categories:
GameCube Adapters (for Gamecube and compatible Wii systems)
These adapters plug into your Gamecube, or Wii with GC controller ports. They will work with every Virtual Console game, as well as any emulators available. They will not work with the Wii U, or WiiWare games. Since these are direct conversions, they can offer lag-free gameplay.
Retrousb.com offers NES and SNES adapters that work great. I own these and have never noticed any lag. The only downside is that they map the Select button to “Z”, so this might cause issues when using the Game Boy Player:
Raphnet Technologies offers many different adapters for each system, including an adapter for the Genesis controller, which is also compatible with the SMS and Atari controllers. Here’s links to the individual cables, but check out their site for plenty of other adapters for each system:
Genesis – NES – SNES – N64
G-Tron 4-in-1 adapter – This was the original retro adapter I owned. It works, but it has a noticeable lag. Also, Genesis 6 button controllers don’t work (3-button work fine) and N64 controllers don’t work at all.
Wiimote Adapters (for Wii and Wii U systems):
These adapters will work with the Wii and Wii U, by plugging into the bottom of the Wiimote. They are compatible with everything the official Wii Classic Controller will work with, including actual Wii and Wii U games, as well as Virtual Console and WiiWare games! Please note, since a digital conversion of the commands is necessary, there will always be some lag, even if it’s just a fraction of a millisecond. Some adapters may be so fast that it’s not noticeable at all, but unfortunately, I haven’t been able to try any myself. Please contact me if you have any experience with them and an offer an opinion.
Raphnet Technologies offers adapters that plug directly into the Wiimote, in addition to their Gamecube adapters:
Gamecube – NES – SNES – N64
Wii RetroPad Adapter 2 – This is one adapter that can handle inputs from many different controllers! It comes with a Genesis controller port built in, but you can buy adapters for many systems. It currently supports controllers from NES, SNES, N64, Playstation, Gamecube, Neo Geo CD, Saturn and TurboGrafx 16! It’s an open source project, so you can either buy one from them, or decide to build your own using their manual. Here’s where to purchase:
Mayflash Adapters – A company called Mayflash offers a few adapters, but they can be hard to find. Also, their SNES/NES to Wii adapter uses a different port for the NES, so you’d have to make your own NES input cable. If your main goal is to use your NES controller, I’d chose a different company:
Gamecube – Saturn/N64/Playstation – Playstation – SNES/NES
Gamecube to WiiMote Adapter – Here’s an adapter that allows you to plug your GC controller into the Wiimote. I imagine you can use this along with the Gamecube adapters listed above, but I don’t own one to test.
I hope this page was a help! Feel free to check out the main page to see what else this site has to offer!