Ah, the glory days of the SNES,

How I miss thee....

Well do I remember the long, summer days where I would play my SNES until I had blisters on my thumbs. Nothing really brings me back to "ye old glory days" like going into my bedroom and firing up a little "Clay Fighters" or "Super Mario Bros".

With obsolete (ouch!) technology like the Super Nintendo gaming system, it can be a real pain to find replacement parts like controllers if one of yours is broken, or if you only have one and need another one to bring someone else into the fray. What's Mario without Luigi?  And how will you be able to play all the Best Super Nintendo Games of All Time?

There are a couple of kinds of Super Nintendo Controllers. First, there are the kind that you can plug into your actual vintage Super Nintendo Gaming System Console. They have the right fittings, and they fit perfectly. You can buy these as vintage, original controllers, or they do still make them new, and you can buy them on amazon.com.

Then there are controllers that look like Super Nintendo Controllers, but have a USB cord for use with a PC or MAC computer for those who do not have an SNES gaming console, but play SNES games using an emulator like ZNES on the computer. Be careful to check which type that you need before you purchase your controller.
There are 3 main places that you can buy super nintendo controllers:
-At used game stores or on ebay
I prefer amazon over ebay because of the customer service and ability to return factor.
Retro-Bit Retro Duo Twin Video Game System, Silver/Black
Amazon Price: $59.99 $43.95 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 5, 2016)

Original SNES controllers

If you have the original system, and you need controllers for it, you need to make sure that you find the original controllers, or reproductions that have the same fittings as the original.  If you mistakenly buy a controller with a USB connection, it will not work with your system.


Super Nintendo Controller
Credit: cody_der_fotomeister on Flickr

The Anatomy of an Original SNES Controller:

1. The D-Pad

The D-pad (short for Directional Pad) is the button on the left hand side of the controller.  It is used for directional navigation in most games. 

2. The Select Button

The select button is mostly ignored, but does have special functions in many games, sometimes in the menu, and sometimes in game play.  For example, in the Legend of Zelda, it was used to pause the game, as the Start button had a different funtion (brought up item screen.)

3.The Start Button

To start and pause the game, on most games.

4.The X/Y and A/B Buttons

These buttons are used for the majority of game play, and have different functions in each game.

5.The L and R buttons on the top of the controller

Used on some games for pull-down menus or special features.


The original 1991 SNES commercial!

Super Nintendo Emulaters for the PC-

A modern alternative to the SNES console

If you do not have an original console, never fear!  You can still enjoy the awesomeness that is the SNES through a modern innovation known as the Emulator.  As long as you have a computer in your home, you can play tons and tons of super nintendo games for free (along with the original nintendo and pretty much any other retro gaming system that you can imagine!)


Steps to Emulation, In 3...2...1....engage.

1. Download an emulator to your computer at a site like ZNES or SNES9x.

2. Install the Emulator

3. Download some games

4. Start having fun!

If you are serious about rockin the emulator for retro games, you will want to buy a retro controller that is designed to connect to your home computer using a USB connection.  But it looks and feels just like an original controller, so you can get more of the "retro experience."

SNES Retro USB Super Nintendo Controller
Amazon Price: $24.99 $4.48 Buy Now
(price as of Feb 5, 2016)

Enjoy your flash-back to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System--I'm gonna go bust out some Super Mario World!