8Bitdo’s NES30 and Retro Receiver for NES Classic is the ideal wireless controller

If you are one of the lucky few who either managed to get an NES Classic Edition already, or who will likely be getting one this holiday as a gift, then you’ll notice right away that the controller included is barely usable, thanks to a short cord. That’s where 8bitdo’s new NES Classic wireless control kit comes in.

The included cord is so short that there’s already a brisk Amazon business in selling extension cables — but for not much more money you can pick up the 8bitdo kit, which includes a wireless controller modeled very closely on the original Nintendo gamepad, and a Retro Receiver wireless dongle to connect it to your tiny new console.


As you can see from the image above, it’s very close to the classic controller Nintendo makes — with the addition of right and left shoulder buttons, plus an X and Y button on the right-hand side. One of these works as an auto-fire button in some games, and the other is just redundant. But they don’t get in the way, and their presence means you can use this as a standard Bluetooth controller with a range of other gadgets and have more control options.

The important thing is that this controller feels like a Nintendo controller, and that’s key to retaining that nostalgic appeal for old-school players. Plus, once you’re paired successfully, which took me a couple of minutes to get right once I plugged in the Retro Receiver, the connection is rock solid.


Battery life is also great — 8bitdo claims 20 hours, and I did not have to recharge it after a series of long-play sessions that included actually beating Dr. Mario for the first time (yes, on slow, but whatever). It’d be nice if you could pair multiple controllers with a single receiver, but you’ll need to pick up a second kit for multiplayer wireless sessions.

8bitdo’s controller should also have the benefit of being easier to find than Nintendo’s own hardware; the controller is set to begin shipping from Amazon on December 16; pre-orders at $39.99 for a kit, which includes both receiver and the NES30, are open now.