The Neo Geo CD has always been a gateway into Neo Geo collecting, as it is relatively affordable compared to its AES and MVS sister platforms. Although the lackluster CD speed of both versions of the console mostly results in long loading times, the game prices and import friendliness have always attracted a niche but dedicated following.
A big part of the love for the Neo Geo CD has to be the incredible controller that came with it. It’s arguably the single best controller of its generation, with great button placement, a sublime shape, and the best thumbstick ever made.
3 years in the making
To our surprise and delight, 8bitdo picked up the glove and spent, according to them, three years creating an authentic version of SNK’s original controller. It has the exact same shape, and the buttons should feel the same. It even has the same clicky micro switch thumbstick.
The controller is wireless over 2.4g WiFi and Bluetooth, but it can also be wired with a C-USB connection. It is compatible with PC, Mac, and even the Neo Geo mini arcades. The 8bitdo controller is fully licensed by SNK and comes in a few different designs as well. In addition to the original controller layout, two shoulder buttons and connectivity buttons have been added.
No out of the box Neo Geo compatibility
One big ‘but’… 8bitdo ‘forgot’ to add some sort of connectivity option to the original Neo Geo consoles. This could be easily managed with a wireless dongle or some sort of a USB convertor to the proprietary SNK controller port. There are options available, like the Neo BT Bazooka and DB15 converters, to convert USB to the controller port, but those are just as expensive as the controller itself. Without much feedback from the community it’s still a guess if it works seamlessly.
With the original controllers getting older and limited in supply to begin with, it’s getting harder and harder to get your hands on them. The spare controllers that end up on eBay easily costs around $80-100. Due to its small market 3rd party controller are hardly made and never are at the level of quality level SNK used to make them. This would’ve been a great solution.
Hopefully 8bitdo, will eventually create a affordable dongle, like they did for so many of its retro controllers. You can preorder the controller on 8bitdo’s site or Amazon if you live in the US. People residing in other countries should keep an eye out on their local 8bitdo distributors.