Retrolink Nintendo 64 Classic Review
If you check out my guide to retro gaming on a PC, you’ll read that the PC doesn’t just have a ton of classic games from its own platform, but also plays host to many, many emulated and ported classic games for almost every console system you can imagine. NES, SNES, Genesis, N64, Dreamcast – the list goes on and on.
The problem is that computers generally have only a keyboard and mouse for control. These days it’s also normal to have a modern console controller as well, such as the Xbox 360 control.
While you can play your classic console games on your PC pretty well with a keyboard or a generic Xbox control, the best strategy is to use a controller with the same layout as the game was designed for in the first place.
That was never a real possibility in the past, but these days there are retro controllers for all the major systems that make playing these games a real pleasure.
They can be wired, wireless, and support multiple systems. It’s definitely a good time to be a classic emulator gamer on PC.
The Best Retro Controller for PC: Retrolink Nintendo 64 Classic
The Nintendo 64 has one of the most amazing game libraries of any console. This was Nintendo in their creative prime with their first ever 3D console. Games like Mario 64 and Starfox 64 are iconic to this very day.
Getting to play these without an N64 is surprisingly easy. The virtual console on systems like the Wii let you play a very accurate emulation of the game, and the Wii will even accept the original controller. It’s that controller that brings us the most headache, however.
The N64 has, to this day, one of the most unique controller designs of any console, and its games were explicitly designed for it. The C-stick and trigger with the trident pattern can’t really be mapped to the dualshock-derived controls of today, so playing N64 emulated games with anything but an N64 controller is an exercise in severe frustration.
That’s where this controller from Retrolink comes to the rescue. For a ridiculously low price you get a faithful USB replica of the N64 control. It will work with PC or Mac, and has six feet of cable and a proper 3D analog stick.
That last detail is very important, since it seems this is the only N64 controller that has an actual analog stick and not an emulated digital one. Games like Mario 64 absolutely must be played with true analog, since Mario’s speed is a key factor in the platforming.
The quality of the controller is not up there with the N64 original, but tracking one down is a pretty tough task these days and even then you’d need to buy another adapter to make it work with your PC.
There are some complaints about the sensitivity of the stick though, which seems to be far too acute out the box. A little fine-tuning of the stick sensitivity out of the box will sort that out quickly, however.
Of all the game systems to emulate on a PC the N64 is the trickiest to get right and this affordable solution is one of the easiest ways to get it right. If you are not afraid of a little tweaking to get things the way you want, this is a highly recommended purchase.