8BitDo’s wireless-ification of classic video game controllers continues with a new wire-free version of a gamepad that is still divisive amongst retro gaming fans. Unlike other recent recreations, 8BitDo went to great lengths to ensure its NEOGEO CD Wireless Controller still included a joystick relying on microswitches that creates a distinct click sound and feel as you move it around.
Similar to the Nintendo Switch Lite, or the ‘slim’ version of the PlayStation 2, the NEOGEO CD arrived in 1994, four years after SNK Corporation’s original NEOGEO console, without any kind of CPU, graphics, or performance upgrades. It was nearly the exact same console as its predecessor, but a little beefier because it included a disc drive allowing games to be distributed on CDs making them a lot cheaper than the original NEOGEO’s cartridges which cost hundreds of dollars. The redesign benefitted gamers with cheaper titles, but the NEOGEO CD was also notorious for slow load times. Count off 60 seconds in your head, and then imagine the younger version of you waiting that long for a new level to load.
But that wasn’t the only divisive decision SNK made with the NEOGEO CD. Instead of a large, arcade-style joystick controller, the refreshed console included a much smaller gamepad with a joystick that used microswitches inside, providing a unique feel that some gamers hated, while others loved it. That latter group is who 8BitDo is trying to woo with its new wireless recreation of the NEOGEO CD gamepad.
That unique microswitch joystick is apparently not that easy to recreate, so much so that the NEOGEO Mini Console, released a few years ago, also offered a recreation of that same gamepad with a joystick that didn’t click at all. You can imagine how NEOGEO fans reacted to that. To avoid similar backlash, 8BitDo claims it spent the past three years redesigning and perfecting the joystick for its new wireless NEOGEO CD gamepad so that the feel and sound of its clicks are authentic to the original.
Other features of the 8BitDo NEOGEO CD Wireless Controller include support for Bluetooth or a 2.4GHz connection when going wireless, or plugging in a physical cable when you want to minimise lag. It’s officially licensed by SNK which is why you get the company’s logo on the face, and designed to work with Windows, Android devices, and the aforementioned NEOGEO Mini console. And although 8BitDo mentions a turbo function and the ability to swap the layout of the gamepad’s oversized action buttons, the gamepad will not be compatible with 8BitDo’s Ultimate Software which allows for more comprehensive reconfigurations.
The 8BitDo NEOGEO CD Wireless Controller is available for pre-order starting today through Amazon for $US35, with shipping starting on August 15.
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