Monday, September 17, 2012

Buffalo Famicom USB Gamepad

Let's face it, I'm a fan of the old. Forget your PS3s and XBOX360s, I like my games old school. And that means controllers to. That's why I love this thing.

I was rummaging around a junk bin at a recycle shop this week when I saw the familiar glint of gold on red. The unmistakable image of a classic Famicom controller. What was it, a Hudson turbo controller? I traced the cord all they down to the business end and was equally surprised and confused when I saw what sort of connection we were talking; USB.

USB? But what can I do with… Oh. OH!

That's right, it is a PC gamepad styled after the beloved Famicom controller! It turns out these were produced in 2007 by Buffalo, who actually received license for the design from Nintendo. They even produced a Super Famicom version as well. They sold for about $35 new, but I'm happy to say that I paid much less.

Anyhow, after a few hours of dicking around with some software (these were designed for use with PC only - not us Mac users) I finally got the thing to work. The secret was some free software called Controllermate. I have it set up now to work on my NES emulator as well as PCSX, to allow me to play Playstation disks on my laptop.

Buffalo Retro Famicom USB Gamepad

The Verdict:
I don't use gamepads that much, but this thing does the trick. It feels solid and the buttons have the right amount of give to provide accurate feedback. The controller itself is responsive, and the turbo option definitely helps in some games. It even has L and R shoulder buttons, so almost any system is fair game. Oh, and the cord is generously longer than the original Famicom pad (but that's not saying much…). Overall it's a familiar feel and a nice touch if you feel the need to play some games on your computer.

Next time I'm going travelling, I can throw this bad boy in my laptop case and get my share of retro gaming anywhere I might be.

Have you seen anything like this before? Do you use gamepads for anything? What do you think of the 4 button interface meets classic design?


  1. hiya!

    I bought the same famicom buffalo controller expecting it to "just work" on mac as well.

    I have a usb gamepad from sanwa, bought about 10 years ago that works fine.. so was really disappointed that this one wasn't detected at all.

    I recently got the license for the emulation enhancer for nestopia and was hoping to play som fds's.. :-/

    i tried using gamepad companion first (maybe you tried that as well) but now i have been sitting for hours trying to understand how to get the famicom pad to work with controllermate.

    any help would appreciated.



  2. Hey thanks for the comment! Sorry for the slow reply, but here goes...

    Make sure the pad is connected before opening controller mate, and make sure controllermate is on before opening nestopia. Nestopia *should* be able to recognize it now; that is, there isn't much fiddling you need to do with controllermate before getting it to work.

    If none of this works, try restarting your computer and starting in this order:
    1. Plug in Buffalo pad
    2. Open controllermate. Make sure Buffalo pad is selected.
    3. Open Nestopia, go to "Preferences" then "Joysticks" and assign controls to your gamepad.
    4. Game on!

    Hopefully this helps! Let me know if not...



  3. HI MIke,

    Thanks a lot, but it still won't work, tried a bunch of things, but maybe you can do a screenshot of step #2 and it would clear things up.



    1. Hey Gustaf, sorry for the slow reply, I'm currently travelling. I'll hopefully get a full walkthrough up in December. Cheers!

  4. Hi there, just found your post. I've been trying to get this to work for a while now too (the Buffalo gamepad) on my mac. Downloaded ControllerMate and looked at the Palette but the Gamepad itself doesn't even appear on the list. Thoughts? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Thanks for the comment! I'm currently travelling right now, but I've been planning on doing a full walkthrough for this soon. Stay posted!

  5. HI Mike,

    Not sure about Wooyong, but I am still waiting for the info how to set it up, in the meantime i am using a retrobit for my old nes controller, but with the buffalo it would be hassle free to change titles.


  6. Hello! Not sure if anyone is still wondering - but here's an easy way to get it to work on mac os x: use the Shareware "USB Overdrive" to assign the different gamepad buttons to keys on your keyboard, corresponding what commands those keys do in the SNES / NES emulator you use.

    For example: my E R D F keyboard keys were used as Y X B A in the emulator so I assigned the gamepad buttons to those keyboard keys.

    Best of luck!