Nintendo Switch NES Controllers Review

What’s your first impression looking at that beautiful featured image? Looks pretty goofy, right?

While the limited edition NES controllers look silly attached to the Nintendo Switch, they’re a knock out of the park otherwise. Check them out in their full packaging:

Nintendo Switch NES Controllers in Box
Nintendo Switch NES controllers still in the box.

When Nintendo first announced these controllers, I was immediately excited. The NES holds a special place in my heart—it was one of the first consoles I ever played and owned as a hand-me-down from my dad. Sadly, my parents ended up selling the console in a garage sale one day, and I was too young to realize how much I would miss owning it.

I’ve always wanted to replace my NES, but space is limited in my apartment, and I don’t know if I can justify getting an actual Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s just so huge!

But Jake, what about the NES Classic? Okay, you got me, that would take up no space. But I actually own a dual system that plays both 8-bit and 16-bit games, and I own cartridges of most of my favorite NES games already. Essentially, I have one console that can be used in the place of multiple consoles from that era, so I’m all set—plus, there’s the Nintendo Switch Online NES library, and once you’ve played using save states, it’s hard to go back!

What I’m trying to say is I was excited to replicate the NES experience in a new way—and that’s exactly what these new controllers allowed me to do. They were much bigger than I expected; I thought they’d be more along the size of the typical Joy Con, but I like that the size is larger. The weight and size make it feel more like a traditional NES controller.

Nintendo Switch NES Controllers Out of Box
Nintendo Switch NES Controllers laid out in all their glory.

The button inputs feel great, too. There’s just something wonderful about playing Super Mario Bros. 3 with an NES controller. You press down on the B button with your thumb and just roll over to mash the A when you need to jump. It feels so smooth and right—like muscle memory coming back to me after all these years.

Honestly, using these controllers brought me back to my childhood. I know I’ve got my nostalgia glasses on, but they really do feel good to use, and I’m looking forward to using these controllers to work my way through the recently added Metroid in the Nintendo Switch Online NES library.

That said, there are two things you should note before you buy:

  1. These NES controllers are exclusively available to Nintendo Switch Online members. That might seem weird at first—why can’t everyone have the opportunity to buy them?—but you can only use these controllers with the games included in the NES library available through Nintendo Switch Online. In a way, it makes sense, and it’s a nice perk for members, but I’m hoping they will make these compatible with more games and more available in the long run.
  2. These bad boys cost $59.99. For me, these controllers were totally worth it, but you might want to weigh the sentimental value against the fact you can’t play them with other games. I’m guessing that price tag might be a little too steep for most, even if these are fully functioning Joy Cons, which typically price $10–$20 more when bought new, depending where you buy.

All in all, I’m loving these controllers. They’re a retro throwback that actually replicates the feeling of playing NES games, but the experience is updated and modernized in the best way possible. Plus, they’ve got that Nintendo stamp of quality that ensures you’re going to get a top-notch controller.

If you’re looking for that classic NES feel, I recommend these controllers.

Have you picked up these controllers? If so, what are your thoughts? I’d love to hear some different opinions!

4 Replies to “Nintendo Switch NES Controllers Review”

  1. Hello Jake!
    I liked your article. I’m also a fan of the NES and that controller looks really nice. It gave me a massive throwback to the old days when I used to play with this console. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the kind words! And seriously, it’s the best throwback. I love these controllers.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nintendo Switch NES Controllers are intended for playing NES games and for those who wants to play them on Switch. By the way, snes controllers with fewer face buttons is called a Gameboy Advanced. Some games were also updated to work with the fewer buttons making them better like Mario using down plus jump to spin and Metroid having one button to aim instead of two.


    1. Haha I guess you’re right, that really would be a giant Gameboy Advanced! Never thought of it like that…but now I sort of want it even more. -Jake


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