jer_33

6-button Controller Round-up

128 posts in this topic

6ButtonRoundup.jpg

 

(Oct 11 - 2012)

Seeing as I'm providing very little substance to the Classic League C Division so far :wacko: , and am thoroughly impressed by the professional website design and general attitude of this community - I feel like I should contribute something to you all (or to any newbs who are just starting out).


The day you downloaded the GENS or ZNES emulator, you probably tried it out with whatever gaming peripheral you had handy - be it gamepad, joystick or keyboard. Perhaps you had an XBOX 360 or a PS3 controller that you could just plug into your PC/laptop via USB in order to satisfy your curiosity. Fact is, if you've downloaded any of the many brilliant NHL94 roms - you need a better controller. The only way you will compete in online league-play is to get yourself one or two (a spare is important) quality controllers.


Now I should mention that many great NHL94 players have avoided buying any controller and have near perfected their play using nothing but their keyboard (talk about cheapass!). Others have chosen to continually buy the least expensive USB gamepads they can find (as they inevitibly break-down from abuse). However, if you want the true retro feel of playing 16/32 bit games you need a 6-button gamepad like the one that came with the later generation Sega Genesis machines (pictured above).


if you can't get your hands on one of these gaming goddess', either with a USB adapter or the more recent PC/MAC USB reissue - then you'll need to hunt the shelves for a substitute. I've put together a google spreadsheet that I'll be linking in this post, and plan to review a different 6-button controller every week. If you have any suggestions or questions, feel free to post them below. Alternately, please let us know what you're playing with and why it's better than a 6-button controller (does it have a 7th button?)

 

Jer_33

 

Edited by jer_33

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That 6-button SEGA you have pictured above is my controller of choice. Comfortable size, tight d-pad, 6-buttons, made-to-last quality! It's the one I'd recommend to people who play with controllers.

The standard 3-button controller feels enormous now, but I do like the d-pad on that one too. It'd probably be my second choice, but lacking 6-buttons is a problem with some of the new ROMS with "Y" button goalie hacks. There's a 6-button with turbo that looks similar, but the d-pad is too loose and it just feels funny.

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I have a Saitek P880, predecessor to the P990... not bad (except the thumbsticks are not usable because they are very poorly positioned, your wrists will get sore if you try to use them)

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I find the analog sticks terrible for any of the hockey games - they're just too sloppy. It's also seems tough to quick-stop, or pull off a quick side-to-side movement. It's one of the reasons I needed to find a replacement for my wired XBOX controller (needed a better dpad, and couldn't get used to the button layout).

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I find the analog sticks terrible for any of the hockey games - they're just too sloppy. It's also seems tough to quick-stop, or pull off a quick side-to-side movement. It's one of the reasons I needed to find a replacement for my wired XBOX controller (needed a better dpad, and couldn't get used to the button layout).

all a personal preference. I'm an analog stick 94'er even though my 6 button+adaptor is in a drawer 10 ft behind me :).

ps3-afterglow-controller.jpg

Edited by TomKabs93

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Good work! I have the Sega Genesis 6 button also, it's solid. I tried a few knockoff 6 buttons from ebay, they're terribly made and crap out after a week or so.

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all a personal preference. I'm an analog stick 94'er even though my 6 button+adaptor is in a drawer 10 ft behind me :).

I should rephrase that to say that I don't like the XBOX 360 analog sticks and the original d-pad is in an awkward position and is tough to consistantly hit the diagonals. I'd really like to try the new "transforming d-pad" without spending the $65.

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The 360 controller is known for having an absolutely atrocious D-pad. I had to sand some bits down on mine to improve them (they still suck, though). Maybe they've improved it lately, but the ones from ~2 years ago were terrible.

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I used the Microsoft Sidewinder controller when I first started (Spring'11 Classic). It's not bad, pretty comfortable. My only complaint is the D-Pad is too small and rounded and it makes it more difficult to nail those hard diagonal stops (when the skater hits the brakes) without having him turn around. I think I used it for the whole season, and then switched to the retrousb cable/Genesis controller combo.

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You forgot about the Sega Saturn 6 button 3D controller:

saturn_b.jpg

:grimace:

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There are many that aren't on the list yet - is this one that you've used? Pros? Cons?

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RevMadcatzFightpad.jpg

Features:

Enlarged 8-way "floating" d-pad

6-button layout

10 buttons total

Multispeed Turbo feature

Wireless (PS3 model only)

Price:

$35-$40

Availability:

New and used on Amazon, eBay and Gamestop

Review:

I might as well start with what I know. I've owned this style gamepad for a couple of months and can say with authority that it plays very well. It's a featherlight piece of chinese plastic, so I doubt it would hold up to much abuse - but it has a lot going for it.

The d-pad is hyper responsive and rolls very nicely in all directions. The buttons are a very nice size and are spaced out nicely. It's not a small controller, (though they are currently producing a smaller version called the SD), but it fits nicely in your hands. It has a thin rubber grip on the bottom and sides that acts both to help your hand grip, but also grips your leg/chair/floor if you are playing a 3-finger style.

It's essentially a sega rip-off redeveloped for the surging "fight-game" market. This suits me fine, as this is exactly the setup I was hoping to find for NHL94, 6-button, nice enlarged d-pad, USB.

I own the XBOX360 model and had no trouble getting it to work in Windows 7, or with GENS. I've read that the PS3 model is equally as easy to setup (and it's wireless).

Overall if I needed to grade this thing, I'd give it an 8.5/10.

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HORIE2X2Rev.jpg

Features:

  • 6 button layout & cross shaped directional pad
  • Turbo function for all buttons and directional pad (including left and right triggers)
  • 3 analog sensitivity level settings available (normal, narrow and wide mode)
  • Vibration function and expansion port included

Price:

$35-$40

Availability:

New and used on Amazon, eBay Stores

Review:

This is my second review in a series of looks at 6-button PC compatible controllers. Today I'll be looking at the HORI EX2 Turbo pad for XBOX 360.

You can tell from the photos that this is a solid gamepad. Well constructed, and heavy in the hands. It's designers had one thing in mind, creating a "fightpad" to replace the standard XBOX 360 controller. On that front they've done an admirable job with an improved d-pad and the added functionality of the LB/RB buttons (which serve to control the same functions as the triggers).

As a replacement controller for the XBOX it's an excellent value, and will serve well as an all-around XBOX/PC controller as it can literally perform well in any gaming style. It also requires no setup in order to function well on your PC (at least in Windows 7).

As a controller for NHL94 I was unfortunately less impressed. While it functioned fine, I just don't like having the d-pad in that position, and the buttons felt small. I guess I've been spoiled by the Genesis-style controllers. While I'm not one to play with the analog sticks, I will say that the ability to adjust their sensitivity was a real plus.

If you're already playing PC games with your XBOX 360 controller, this one stand above them in my opinion both for the extra buttons, improved d-pad and adjustable sticks.

On a scale of 1-10, I will be rating this one a solid 7.5.

Edited by jer_33

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Thought I'd pass this on... jer_33 (I have no affiliation with this company..)

SALE: COUPON CODE "SF25PAD" $20 off

Regular Price: $39.99 SALE: $19.99 (About $30 total with shipping in US)

SXT_88285_A3.jpg

Edited by jer_33

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Great topic.

I have been rocking the Sega 6 button controller with a USB adapter. More for Tecmo Super Bowl now than NHL but it has been working great so far. Have to go with an original sega brand too, don't buy the new ones like eggin said, have tried 3 different brands of those and they all break within minutes of use.

Have also tried the Retro Link SNES controller, its dpad was horrible, would not even stay in the correct direction and also used the logtech pc controller that you can buy at target, dpad was horrible for NHL.

Out of all the controllers you have used did any have a great fire button? Reason I ask is I play some Tecmo online and you have to do some track and field tapping to win tackle grapples.

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Nice list! Definitely will be useful for anyone looking for a (new) controller to play with. Now all we need is an equivalent list for the SNES. ;)

Edited by SabreFan1

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Great topic.

I have been rocking the Sega 6 button controller with a USB adapter. More for Tecmo Super Bowl now than NHL but it has been working great so far. Have to go with an original sega brand too, don't buy the new ones like eggin said, have tried 3 different brands of those and they all break within minutes of use.

Have also tried the Retro Link SNES controller, its dpad was horrible, would not even stay in the correct direction and also used the logtech pc controller that you can buy at target, dpad was horrible for NHL.

Out of all the controllers you have used did any have a great fire button? Reason I ask is I play some Tecmo online and you have to do some track and field tapping to win tackle grapples.

So far, I love the buttons on the madcatz fightpad - big and springy.

..and for the record, I chose not to include the retrolink or other 3rd party genesis clones for the very reasons that you've indicated.

More particularly, everyone should avoid these "PLAY SEGA" controllers that are all over ebay. They look great and are cheap, cheap, cheap.. but they won't take any abuse.

NOPLAYSEGA300.png

Edited by jer_33

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last night during a lg game i broke another d-pad. iv lost count of how many d-pads iv broke (one direction stops working). but this is the second sega style d-pad i literally wore to the point it just fell right off.

d-pads break. idc what brand it is. ALWAYS HAVE A BACK UP. 94 puts maximum stress on controllers

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ALWAYS HAVE A BACK UP. 94 puts maximum stress on coaches.

Fixed.

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I'm just a little excited.. I'm expecting delivery of my Sega Saturn USB pad tomorrow and also have my hands on a Neogeo Pad2 (just waiting on the PS2/USB adapter).

Both of these pads sell for around $60-$80 plus shipping, but through a habit of deep-searching for deals I got the Neogeo for $40 and the Sega for roughly $30.

Pad2SegaUSB.png

:greedy:

Edited by jer_33

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in my experience, the "one direction breaks" thing seems to be an emulator compatibility issue. I have a controller -- which happens to be my preferred '94-on-the-computer controller -- where right won't work in Kega but is perfectly good in SNES9x. it's not the only controller that has had such an issue; other controllers have had similar problems. when the directional action fails, try another program before throwing the controller away.

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PDPVersusRev.jpg

Features:

  • 6 button "fightpad" layout
  • Micro-switch activated thumbstick and buttons
  • over-sized buttons
  • "No-slip" satin finish thumbstick

Price:

$15-$40

Availability:

New and used on Amazon, eBay Stores, Gamestop

Review:

The PDP Versus is the newest of my collection, and I should start by saying that mine was purchased used. It has no visible signs of wear, but definitely has that "broken in" feel about it.

The first thing you'll notice is the interesting shape of the controller, it grips very nicely in your left hand and plays well with thumbs or using a three-finger method. It doesn't weigh much compared to standard gaming controllers as there are very few extras (no analog sticks or vibration). This controller was designed originally for the Marvel vs. Capcom game released in 2010 and is used widely for most 2D fight games, but plays well with most old-school emulators.

On first use you'll be surprised by all the *clicking* noise, but it strangely feels very comfortable after a play session. The thumbpad and 6 face buttons are all micro-switch activated - so rotating the thumpad will give you 8 clicks, one at each directional position. I would definitely recommend asking to try before you buy, as this may be enough to turn you off your purchase.

The buttons are nice and big, great for both fingers and thumbs. The start/select buttons are on the top of the controller, next to the right trigger which would take a little getting used to. The good, is that you'd rarely, if ever, hit them by accident.

As for gameplay in NHL94, I was satisfied with the thumbstick overall - it's not the same as a standard directional pad, but I do feel that with a little practice it would be fine, or possibly improve your gameplay. The only complaint I had about the buttons was that there was little bounceback, it didn't effect my ability to mash the B button on faceoffs, but it would take some getting used to if you're used to an XBOX or PS3 style controller. (Note: being a used item, the buttons may just be showing signs of wear).

In closing, I like much of what the PDP Versus has to offer, and from a pricepoint you really can't beat a new controller selling regularly for under $20. The bad would be questions of reliabilty based on the light-weight design, and the users ability to adapt to the micro-switch controls. Again, I would recommend trying this unit out before making the purchase.

It should be noted that the original design featured a Marvel/Capcom skin, if you're into that sort of thing.

On a scale of 1-10, I will be rating this one a 7 retired Greztky thumbs-up.

RWGTU.pngRWGTU.pngRWGTU.pngRWGTU.pngRWGTU.pngRWGTU.pngRWGTU.png

Edited by jer_33

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I would also like to note that my early ebay Chistmas present had my highly-touted Sega USB gamepad, 2 of the aforementioned PDP Versus pads (PS3), and 2 of the Mad Catz fightpads (PS3).

I set them all up last night and played a little with each.

The many praises I heaped on the Mad Catz fightpads for both dpad and button-play, the PS3 version is also wireless and played extremely well.

The Sega pad is just incredible, though I plan to play some more before writing my review.

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SEGASaturnUSBRev.jpg

Features:

  • Classic 6 button layout
  • 8-way Directional Pad
  • 2x shoulder buttons
  • Ergonomic design

Price:

$75-$100+

Availability:

New and used on Amazon, eBay Stores, Japanese Import Sites

Review:

Reissued in 2004, these Saturn USB pads were designed for use on PC/MAC, so they require little or no setup on your computer. They are solidly built and have one of the best dpads in the business. This gamepad is in extremely high demand, and given its limited production it is very hard to find. On ebay you'll find them anywhere from $60-$200, averaging around $90. This will put it out of the price range of most players, so your best bet is to keep your eye out for a deal on ebay, amazon or on the shelf of your local pawn shop.

Borrowing it's design and layout from the original 90's Saturn gamepad (and it's PS2 reissue), the ergonomic shape will feel very familiar. It's a touch smaller than the original Sega 6-button pad for the Genesis, and I would imagine that if you have big hands that it might feel a bit small.

The buttons and the dpad have not been rivaled by any 3rd party controllers in my opinion. The dpad is tight, allowing for precise movements and the buttons have a nice jump to them.

With reference to NHL '94, this is the king of controllers. Ability to make tight moves, quick stops and turns and tight goalie control. It just feels so familiar to press the rubbery start button, and mash away at the indented ABC buttons. I feel that with some practice, this controller could very well improve a players game.

There are several versions of this pad. There is the original Saturn version which requires a USB adapter, the PS2 version which requires it's own USB adapter, and finally this natively USB version. WARNING: There are a variety of knock-offs with very similar designs (Retrolink, GTron,Playsega), so before you make a purchase off ebay be sure to ask if there is a "SLS" sticker on the back. Without a box, this sticker is the only thing that will differentiate the real thing from the knock-offs. There were a variety of colour combinations made during their 2004 production run, so don't be surprised to find some wacky combinations.

This is my favourite controller as of now, though admittedly will take a while to get used to the responsiveness. I look forward to playing many Classic games in the future with the Saturn USB in my hands.

On a scale of 1-10, I will be rating this one a 9.5. (I would give it a 10, but nothing is ever perfect..)

Edited by jer_33

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SEGASaturnUSBRev.jpg

Features:

  • Classic 6 button layout
  • 8-way Directional Pad
  • 2x shoulder buttons
  • Ergonomic design

Price:

$75-$100+

Availability:

New and used on Amazon, eBay Stores, Japanese Import Sites

Review:

Reissued in 2004, these Saturn USB pads were designed for use on PC/MAC, so they require little or no setup on your computer. They are solidly built and have one of the best dpads in the business. This gamepad is in extremely high demand, and given its limited production it is very hard to find. On ebay you'll find them anywhere from $60-$200, averaging around $90. This will put it out of the price range of most players, so your best bet is to keep your eye out for a deal on ebay, amazon or on the shelf of your local pawn shop.

Borrowing it's design and layout from the original 90's Saturn gamepad (and it's PS2 reissue), the ergonomic shape will feel very familiar. It's a touch smaller than the original Sega 6-button pad for the Genesis, and I would imagine that if you have big hands that it might feel a bit small.

The buttons and the dpad have not been rivaled by any 3rd party controllers in my opinion. The dpad is tight, allowing for precise movements and the buttons have a nice jump to them.

With reference to NHL '94, this is the king of controllers. Ability to make tight moves, quick stops and turns and tight goalie control. It just feels so familiar to press the rubbery start button, and mash away at the indented ABC buttons. I feel that with some practice, this controller could very well improve a players game.

There are several versions of this pad. There is the original Saturn version which requires a USB adapter, the PS2 version which requires it's own USB adapter, and finally this natively USB version. WARNING: There are a variety of knock-offs with very similar designs (Retrolink, GTron,Playsega), so before you make a purchase off ebay be sure to ask if there is a "SLS" sticker on the back. Without a box, this sticker is the only thing that will differentiate the real thing from the knock-offs. There were a variety of colour combinations made during their 2004 production run, so don't be surprised to find some wacky combinations.

This is my favourite controller as of now, though admittedly will take a while to get used to the responsiveness. I look forward to playing many Classic games in the future with the Saturn USB in my hands.

On a scale of 1-10, I will be rating this one a 9.5. (I would give it a 10, but nothing is ever perfect..)

what a write-up! You've piqued my interest in this controller, I'll have to keep an eye out and heed your warnings.

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The dpad is the real difference, and you've got that on your genesis pad. The genesis pad would rate closely I believe.

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Genesis6button.jpg

Features:

  • Classic 6 button layout
  • 8-way Directional Pad
  • Right Shoulder button (MODE)
  • Ergonomic design

Price:

$10-$30+

Availability:

Used on Amazon, eBay Stores, local pawn shops, your cousins basement

Review:

Known as Sega's "6-button arcade Pad", this gamepad replaced the much larger 3-button control pad and started shipping with Genesis units in 1993. This controller really found it's place in gaming history with the release of Street Fighter II, as the controller mapped particularly well to the 6-button arcade design of the game. SNES also got it's port of the game, but players had to use the shoulder buttons to perform complex fighting styles.

Word is, the design of this pad was for the Japanese market with the North American market getting a 6-button controller a similar size to the original 3-button model. Sega was pretty sure that North American kid hands were much larger than their Japanese equivalents. Eventually they learned that gamers liked the smaller design, and stopped production of the larger model.

The user will require an adapter to use this controller, I tested it with the Retrobit USB adapter ($15-$20). This particular adapter will allow for two-players, and worked seamlessly with my controllers. For it's small investment, it will also work with any other Genesis 9-pin controllers you currently own or plan to buy.

As with Sega's other accessories, the controller is very well built, and has proven to take a lot of abuse. Great for us, as it will be nearly impossible to find one in it's retail state. In terms of availability, there are many listed on ebay and you will find many in your local second-hand shops. This controller feels great, again the best dpad in the business and super responsive buttons.

I've really enjoyed looking for the very best 6-button controller out there for playing NHL94 on my PC, but I truly feel that if I'd just bought the adapter a few years ago, I probably would have fared much better. There is always a chance that you'll get a used dud, but for the budget price these really are the best controllers for playing this classic game.



On a scale of 1-10, I will be rating this one a 9.5. (Feels and plays near identical to the previously reviewed Saturn Pad)

Edited by jer_33

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I use the later model 6 button sega controller but my thumb gets too sore after a couple games so I go back to the xbox 360 controller but unhappy with that one as well

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That 6-button SEGA Genesis controller has been my go to for the last few years. It's great. Be careful, there is a smaller 6-button with "turbo" that is terrible. The d-pad is super loose, and coupled with the smaller frame makes it inferior to the one you reviewed above.

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I have tried almost every controller and the only one I found the seemed the best was an older logitech wingman with analog sticks and the circle the sticks were in was small n really tight but I lost in playoffs and smashed it against the wall and was very sad ten minutes later when I mellowed out :(

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