If you could get in a time machine and go back to the early 90s and tell a young gamer that one day Nintendo will make a piece of Sega hardware, they’ll probably spit out their sweet Sunny D and laugh in your face. “Sega and Nintendo are mortal enemies,” they argued; “What planet are you from, Poindexter?” (Or at least words to that effect).
However, even though the 90s are now the decade of the “new”, we no longer occupy that particular time; Today, the relationship between these two Japanese companies is much better, so much so that – Yes – we now have a piece of Sega consumer equipment manufactured by Nintendo.
With the release of Mega Drive / Genesis games on Nintendo Switch Online, subscribers were offered the opportunity to purchase a wireless controller based on the original that shipped with the console many years ago. Western players have a larger 3-button pad, while in Japan you can purchase a smaller 6-button version (known there as the “Fighting Pad 6B”) that was released at the same time as the Sega port. Street Fighter II… This is the playground we look at here and boy this delightful…
Although it is based on the original 6-button keypad, it is actually touch smaller than the one we got in the west and the same size as the Japanese version of the controller (which also came with the Japanese version of the Mega Drive Mini). It has a fantastic switchable D-pad, six very responsive front buttons, and a start button in the center of the panel. The Mode button, used on the original controller to solve problems with games that did not play well with the 6-button setup, is used here to access the NSO’s Pause menu and also to rewind the current game. There is also a Home button and a screenshot button, as well as a USB-C charging port. At the bottom, you’ll find a group of LEDs that indicate which player you are, as well as a sync button.
Graceful size of the last could cause some problems for people with big hands, but ultimately it’s the perfect way to experience these games – although it’s worth noting that none of the Mega Drive / Genesis games available on Nintendo Switch Online support all six buttons at this stage. We could imagine this will change in the future, but right now the main reason for choosing one is to take advantage of the superior spider and the (possibly) more ergonomic design.
However, if you don’t know someone from Japan who can buy it for you, you’re stuck with eBay or the 3-button version you can order below.
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Massive, massive thanks to Lowell Bell to find one of these controllers for us.