N64 controller alternatives (shoot-out on page 2!)

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    • So got the fist view bits I ordered and spend some hours with it;

      - Tribute64 controller
      - Retro-bit extension leads



      Still waiting on this;
      - Brawler64 controller
      - Replacement stick "SHARPSHOOTER"
      - Super-lube, intend to lube the sharpshooter and also an OEM stick I have with minimal wear.

      So will do some quick impressions of the Tribute now and do a more extensive shoot-out when I have all other parts to compare.
      First up are the extension leads, well not much to say about them, they work and do what they have to do.
      One small note though, if I plug in a controller to the lead (OEM or Tribute), the connection doesn't feel as tight as when plugging it directly in the N64 itself.

      Then to the first impressions Tribute64:
      - Feels like a quality product when you unpack it, especially considering the price!
      - First time you properly hold it, it does feel small though and the placement of the shoulder-buttons feels off, and I don't even have ridiculous huge hands!
      - Also when I hold it in a way my fingers feel in a natural position, my right thumb rests on the C-buttons and to use the A/B buttons I have to move my thumb downwards.



      After that I fired up my N64 and intended to play several games like Super Mario 64, Mariokart 64 and Goldeneye, but once I fired up Mariokart 64 I played for a few hours and went for the gold in all cups ;)
      So impressions of other games are to come on the next test....

      - Cable length is very good compared to OEM controllers and I can kinda play from my main seating position without an extension
      - Controller feels well and solid despite the smallish size
      - Stick feels direct, responsive, no play, and Toad drives in the direction where I want him to
      - Pressing the Z trigger feels awkward some times due to placement of my finger and most of the times I had my fingertip resting on the shell of the controller and pressed the trigger with the inside of my finger's joint, which in turn can be a bit difficult from time to time.

      All in all I did like the controller minus the placement of the triggers and due to the smallish size of the controller and the 'forced' replacement of my thumb to reach the A/B buttons instead of the C button started to cause some cramps after about 2 hours.


      So for the price point of this controller and if you are looking for a decent replacement for a worn out OEM controller for <2 hours play sessions I can recommend it IF your hands are not extremely huge

      The post was edited 4 times, last by PascalP ().

    • Also I checked the Tribute with the 'controller test rom' on my Everdrive, and the movement was similar to the OEM (but more range).
      Will post some pics of this test later when I compare it 1:1 with all other alternatives I have coming :)

      Pic is of a new OEM stick and how it should be

      The post was edited 1 time, last by PascalP ().

    • So today is was controller cleaning day :P
      Also got in the Sharpshooter sticks so installed that in one controller as well + I took apart the Sharpshooter and lubed the shit out of it :evil:
      The bowl is lubed from factory, but the gears are dry.

      Some pics of the Sharpshooter stick, also disassembled and for reference disassembled an OEM stick as well to compare.
      Internals looks pretty much the same, just the bowl is black vs white and you can see it is lubed a bit.
      After adding some SuperLube to the gears and all other moving parts it felt so buttery smooth it was amazing :love:

      So let the controllers soak for a few hours, cleaned them, dried them and assembled them, see next post for results...
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    • So after getting the controller back together I had 3 sticks to test:
      - OEM controller with Sharpshooter stick (extra lubed)
      - OEM controller with OEM stick without play and still smooth
      - Tribute64 controller
      - Still waiting on delivery of the Brawler64... :(

      First go to test game is MarioKart 64 and all controllers did pretty well and also the Tribute64 I used before with MarioKart.
      There is one exception though with the Tribute64 and that is that one slippery track (Banshee Boardwalk) where you start to feel the sensitivity of the Tribute64, so one to the ultimate test; GoldenEye
      Obviously the Tribute64 was highly sensitive compared to the other stick, aiming are turning with precision is just difficult!
      Also I still can't get over the awkward shoulder button placement and the OEM controller just feels more natural to me.

      To confirm my suspicions I fired up the controller test rom and there it was very easy to spot the sensitivity of the X and Y axis movement between the Tribute64 and OEM or Sharpshooter.
      I think the Sharpshooter is quite on par with the OEM and I could hardly feel any in-game difference, and doubt I would notice something different with a blind test.

      So before testing the Brawler I would say the Tribute is the obvious loser up to this point compared to the OEM controller
      - Small controller and therefor awkward position of your hands
      - Weird shoulder button placement
      - Overly sensitive stick

      But of course the OEM controller is not perfect either and you have to cope with the awkward trident shape, but at least your fingers rest on the buttons where they should (triggers and A/B)
    • Thanks for the info @PascalP I could definitley do with a replacement stick for at least one of my controllers.

      I recently got one of these as I wanted to play Bangai-O with dual sticks! 8)
      raphnet-tech.com/products/gc_t…_controller_pak/index.php


      Not had a chance to give it too much play time yet, but first impressions are good, and the button re-mapping option could come in handy for other games.
    • @wigsplitta yeah I have heard about those to!
      So what is up with the GC controller with dual sticks? Where is the C-stick? ?(

      Tried playing Goldeneye yesterday on the OEM controller and it felt awkward to use the C buttons for strafing instead of a second stick like we have gotten so used to over the years!
    • ow and one thing that I forgot to mention and just came to mind;

      With the Tribute64 the 'notches' on the left side of the stick (left-up, left, left-down) are very noticeable when moving the stick around, but on the right side of the stick you DO NOT FEEL the notches at all and it feels just like a round gate...
      Very strange and definitely a thumbs down!

      The post was edited 1 time, last by PascalP ().

    • PascalP wrote:

      So what is up with the GC controller with dual sticks? Where is the C-stick? ?(
      ;) Got myself a 'replacement' grey stick off ebay (although I actually transplanted an original from another controller to use as my main pad pictured above) as I thought it'd be nicer to use than the yellow C nubbin. It's a nice easy swap a I think it feels a bit nicer


      PascalP wrote:

      Tried playing Goldeneye yesterday on the OEM controller and it felt awkward to use the C buttons for strafing instead of a second stick like we have gotten so used to over the years!
      Yep, going from sticks back to buttons for movement takes a bit of getting used to. It took me a while to get the hang of the two controller / two sticks setup for Goldeneye, but it was so much more accurate/fun to play once I did 8)
    • Zepherino wrote:

      Thanks for showing that test on the Tribute 64. I was really hoping that it would be a decent Hori Mini substitute but It looks like it sadly isn't. It actually makes me wonder how well the actual Hori Mini sticks work vs originals.
      Yeah if anyone with a Hori pad can do the controller test as well that would be great!
    • So my overpriced Brawler64 came in, thank you shipping, taxes and import... :(
      And special thanks to @Sp33dFr34k for helping me out and doing some back to back testing yesterday :thumbup:

      First impression of the Brawler, it is shaped very well and comfortable, nice grip and size.
      Second thing you notice about the Brawler is it feels light and also the plastic used for the housing has a bit of a cheap/thin feel to it, bummer...
      Third thing you notice is that the stick feels good, very noticeable are the 8-way notches when moving it around.

      So of course first up is the controller test, as you can see the stick movement is quite on par with the OEM, just a tad more range.
      Also the sensitivity with small movement seems to be pretty good and just a bit more sensitive compared to a OEM stick, so as long as you don't play GoldenEye/Perfect Dark on competitive levels it should be a good all round stick, and maybe even if you play GoldenEye/Perfect Dark a lot you will get used to the slightly increased sensitivity.



      One big downside to the Brawler for me is the Z shoulder buttons, they feel like PS4 style trigger while they are NOT, it should be a on/off button feel and please leave it like that!
      So you have to push it in pretty far to actually register the button press and it feels mushy I think.

      Overall I was pretty happy with my $70 stick, until we played close to an hour or so swapping controller back and forth, then this happened :(
      So judge for yourselves and I have reported it to Retro-Fighters and await their answer for now

    • So in summation of the events above, here is my final judgement.
      Perhaps @Sp33dFr34k can pitch in with his judgement after using them all back to back as well yesterday ;)

      1st place;
      OEM stick in good condition, no play on the stick and preferably cleaned and lubed (I highly recommend this steelsticks64.com/?product=super-lube-ptfe-1g)

      Pros:
      • good quality controller
      • Solid feel and sturdy materials used
      • Decent button placement especially A/B and shoulder buttons
      • Cheap
      • Not overly sensitive for games where you need precision and small movements



      Cons:
      • Stick is prone to wear and hard to find in the wild without too much play or wear
      • Awkward trident shaped that might put some people off



      2nd place;
      OEM stick in with Sharpshooter replacement stick, preferably additionally lubed (I highly recommend this steelsticks64.com/?product=super-lube-ptfe-1g)

      Pros:
      • All the same pros as the OEM in 1st place
      • Cheap ($15)
      • Not as sensitive as most other aftermarket replacements
      • Movement and range as close to the OEM as it is gonna get (just a bit more sensitive, but almost neglectable)


      Cons:
      • Same cons as the OEM controller in 1st place
      • Does not come properly lubed from the factory



      3rd place;
      Brawler64

      Pros:
      • very good ergonomics
      • Not overly sensitive for games where you need precision and small movements (but a bit more sensitive compared to OEM)


      Cons:
      • Mushy trigger like Z shoulder buttons
      • Cheap materials used, feels light/thin
      • Expensive anywhere but the US ($70 for me)
      • My stick shows a defect after about 1 hour of use, but I think this must be a one-off defect and will be resolved
      • D-pad feels cheap, but what the heck, who uses a d-pad on N64...



      4th place;
      Tribute64

      Pros:
      • Good quality feel and materials used
      • Cheap ($25ish)
      • Available easily in Europe, no import etc.


      Cons:
      • Small and therefor the shoulder button placement feels off for me
      • Highly sensitive and way too much range
      • D-pad placement, but what the heck, who uses a d-pad on N64...
      • Very bad ergonomics in general
    • I backed the Brawler64 kick starter because I detest the OEM n64 controller now. Too small for my hands. The hori/retrobit ones are a bit small for me as well.

      I have 4 greys, and an orange and green. Haven't put much use into them but a few sessions of Mario Kart 64 and Smash 64 and no one had any complaints. Love the ergonomics. The stick DOES take some getting used too.
    • Hydreigon wrote:

      I have some n64 controllers with Kitsch Bent parts, gears, stick and bowl. I have yet to test these controllers (which requires a flash cart).

      Edit: I was considering a Sharpshooter N64 stick after finding that out yesterday and man those results are close to OEM.
      Yeah I have heard about those parts and looked them up, but don't think everything is in stock?

      ebzero89 wrote:

      Pardon if I'm stepping on toes or missing something here, but why not just use a GC to N64 adapter?
      Yes that is an option @wigsplitta also pointed out, perhaps he can run some controller test to see how that performs vs. OEM stick, but I fear it will be in the same ballpark as GC style stick replacements or similar to the Tribute64 results.

      Kavas wrote:

      I backed the Brawler64 kick starter because I detest the OEM n64 controller now. Too small for my hands. The hori/retrobit ones are a bit small for me as well.

      I have 4 greys, and an orange and green. Haven't put much use into them but a few sessions of Mario Kart 64 and Smash 64 and no one had any complaints. Love the ergonomics. The stick DOES take some getting used too.
      Sure agree it is pretty good, just wished I didn't have a stick that keeps getting stuck in the downwards position and perhaps if I get used to the mushy Z shoulder buttons I will use it more :)
      btw. reported the issues to Retro-Fighters and no response so far... :(
    • PascalP wrote:


      ebzero89 wrote:

      Pardon if I'm stepping on toes or missing something here, but why not just use a GC to N64 adapter?

      Yes that is an option @wigsplitta also pointed out, perhaps he can run some controller test to see how that performs vs. OEM stick, but I fear it will be in the same ballpark as GC style stick replacements or similar to the Tribute64 results.

      I'll try and dig out my Disk Doctor to give it a controller test 8) To be honest though, i'd much rather play on an N64 console using an N64 controller, rather than using an adapter and another console's pad.

      The only reason i'm using a Gamecube controller at the moment is for Bangai-O, as it's lovely to play using 2 x sticks. If there was an option within the game (like Goldeneye, Perfect Dark...) to use 2 x N64 controllers and both sticks, I would choose that every time.