Nintendo's retro gaming console, the NES Classic Edition, is a hit. The company sold 1.5 million. They're even hard to come by. On Amazon, used versions are selling for more than twice Nintendo's asking price of $60. One purchaser complained about putting an NES Classic Edition into his Amazon cart the moment they went on sale only to find they were unavailable 10 seconds into checkout.
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Clearly, Nintendo hit a chord with this mini console. But there is one major flaw, and that has to do with another kind of cord--the one attached to the gaming controller. Measuring a mere 2.5 feet, it's just too darn short. As I wrote on the day the NES Classic Edition came out, sitting cross-legged on the floor inches from your TV is a little too close to the '80s for comfort. And nowadays, with 60-inch TVs practically dropping from the sky, it's a sure way to induce eyeball flame-out.
Fortunately, MyArcade, a maker of retro gaming accessories, has come to the rescue with a number of handy and affordable peripherals. I tested their products last month at CES, and with no latency, their wireless controllers get a hearty thumbs up.
MyArcade offers more than one product to solve the NES Classic's short cord issue with. The cheapest option is their Extender Cable which retails for just $10. It's a 10-foot cable, which should be enough to put you back on the couch, and attaches to the original controller that comes with the Nintendo console.
This cable also works with Wii and Wii U classic controllers.
The GamePad Classic retails for $20. Now you're really cutting the cord; it's a wireless controller with a range of 30 feet thanks to a dongle that plugs into the game system. Not only are you on the couch, but your family isn't tripping over the cord, either. The GamePad Classic resembles the original Nintendo controller, with A/B buttons, start and select and a four-way directional control, or D-pad.
It would be inaccurate to call the GamePad Classic a faithful reproduction as it differs slightly when you compare it to the original side by side. In fact, on closer inspection, MyArcade improves on the original by introducing an indentation at the bottom (the original was just a straight rectangle) and notches on the back where you curl your fingers. The upshot is a more ergonomic and comfortable grip.
You'll get 75 hours of playtime on 2 AAA batteries. It is compatible with Wii and Wii U consoles provided you stick to games that work with the older button layout.
MyArcade also offers the GamePad Pro. Like the GamePad Classic, it retails for $20 but it includes more buttons. It also has a 30 foot range and 75 hours of playtime.
The biggest plus here is that it offers a Home button for instant access to the console's game menu from the controller. On the NES Classic Edition console, you have to hit the reset button on the box itself to return to the main menu. This has forced some people to go to extreme lengths to find ways around that, like the guy in this video, who takes the whole console apart to rewire it. I'd say it's easier to get a GamePad Pro.
Another advantage is that the extra buttons allow you to play most games on the Wii and Wii U. You're no longer limited to retro games as with the GamePad Classic.
MyArcade also sells a GamePad Pro combo kit that includes a 10-foot extender cable so that you can use the original game controller that comes with the NES console together with the Pro controller -- both at a distance that will not cause your eyes to shoot from their sockets in pain. The combo kit retails for $25.
Finally, MyArcade offers a GamePad Retro controller. This is a GamePad Pro that's wired with a 10-foot cable. The perplexing thing about this item is that it costs the same as the Extender Cable--$10. So you're getting an extra controller and a cable for the same price as you would just a cable. I suppose people who don't want to see the controller that comes with the console go to waste will be willing to shell out the $10 for just the Extender Cable.