I know this is an old thread, but I was thinking about making a topic about this anyway if there was not already one in the backlog. There is this one though so I figure we might as well keep everything all in one place, and maybe the prior posters might like to know about some new options. The Buffalo was the best controller on the market for a good long while, when the likes of Hyperkin, Tomee and Retrobit were the only competition . Now before I continue to be fair to Retrobit, they cleaned up their act a little, at least with their Sega licensed controllers. I’d discuss that in a little more detail but this is an S.N.E.S. thread, not a Genesis or Saturn thread.
However, while the Buffalo U.S.B. controllers are worth a small premium over other cheaper products, it looks like Amazon is out stock and the Marketplace sellers are trying to sell it for around $40 right now.
Now granted, I recommended this controller all of the way back in 2011 for an effective price of $23 when the only way to get it was to import it, and since then I even bought some when I realized that the S.L.S. I previously mentioned controllers were unsatisfactory. However the Buffalo is not so great of a controller as to be worth the price of a well enginered system licensed fightpad like the Hori Fighting Commander. More importantly though, even for people who specifically want an S.N.E.S. style controller I feel like there are better options now.
The first option I would like to mention is that 8bitdo makes wired variations of the SN30 Pro now, in both S.N.E.S. and Gameboy inspired stylings. It is a more fully featured controller, but it sacrifices some authenticity to achieve that effect. The face buttons and directional pad are pushed up a little farther up compared to the original, as to room for the thumbsticks like on an RVL-005 controller. The other major difference is that in order to make room for L2 and R2, the L and R buttons are too slim.
For those of you who want something more authentic though, I feel like the Retroflag Classic U.S.B. Controller is actually the is the best Super Nintendo controller imitation on the market right now: Even more-so than the Buffalo controller. There are a few reasons for that:
Out of the two Buffalo U.S.B. controllers I have tried, both of them had gotten the directional pad stuck in place against the directional pad membrane. It was not hard to unstick them, and once I break them in the problem does not repeat itself, but it kind of took my by surprise, and it is not quite ideal performance.
The Buffalo directional pad was designed differently from the Nintendo one: A Nintendo directional pad is circular underneath, but a Buffalo directional pad is a true cross. The Nintendo directional pads roll more smoothly than the Buffalo directional pads as a result. Now objectively speaking, both styles are fine, but since the Buffalo gamepad is trying to copy the Nintendo one and customers would expect a Nintendo style directional pad if not only for sentimental reasons, I have to count that as a flaw regardless. The Retroflag controllers are more like actual Nintendo ones if I recall correctly.
I did not realize this until somebody else mentioned it, but the Buffalo controllers are lighter than the SNS-005, whereas the Retroflag controller has some heft to it. Indeed, the Retroflag controller is even ever so slightly heavier than the CLV-202 controller which came with the S.N.E.S. Classic Edition, which in turn is heavier than the SNS-005. Most of that extra weight seems to come from additional plastic reinforcement inside the controller too, so retroflag really seems to care about the quality of their products.
The retroflag controller comes in both American and International styles. I did not actually buy the American version though, so I can not comment on the authenticity of the concave buttons.
Last but not least, the Retroflag controller has better compatibility. The Buffalo Classic U.S.B. controllers only support direct input. The Retroflag controllers can switch between x-input and direct input by pressing buttons while plugging it into a P.C. You press X for X-input, Y for direct-input, and you can even use it on the Nintendo Switch according to the manual! (Mine might be from before that last feature was added though.)
You can buy the retroflag controller at Amazon for about $15. Actually the japanese version costs a little less at the moment.