RetroPorts from Retrozone Review
Add NES/SNES ports to your Gamecube/Wii!
I love controller adapters that allow you to use dedicated controllers from old systems on completely different systems. I own at least a dozen such adapters, and some work better than others. I’ve been asked about Retrozone’s NES and SNES RetroPorts and feel its due time to give them each a proper, in depth review.
Retrozone has been selling what they called “Retroports” for several years now. Each RetroPort is advertised as allowing you to use either an NES or SNES controller on your Wii and play Virtual Console games “the way they were originally designed.” How well do they work? Any shortcomings? Let’s find out.
Despite claims that these adapters are for the Nintendo Wii, they really are just Gamecube adapters that map the NES/SNES controls to those of Gamecube buttons. As such, these adapters are 100% Gamecube compatible and also function on the Nintendo Wii via the Gamecube ports atop the system.
Both RetroPorts come in a beautiful package that shows off the product really well – not bad for a single sourced products like this.
Once out of the package, you’ll quickly grow to appreciate that these adapters are among the best out there in terms of built quality. No visible screws pleasing colors and durable plastics. SNES controllers slide easily into the port, but I found it somewhat difficult to correctly insert NES pads into its Retroport. In order to do it correctly you need to do it slowly and make sure it goes in flush; its a very tight connection. You may even wish to simply insert a controller and leave it plugged in permanently.
the mappings for the SNES to Gamecube are as such:
SNES to GC
+pad — +pad
Start — Start
A —- A
B —- B
Y —- Y
X —- X
L —- L
R —- R
Select — Z
and NES to GC
+pad — +pad
Start — Start
Select —- Z
B —- B
A —- A
Both RetroPorts actually do their jobs exceedingly well – there is absolutely no lag when playing games using either adapter with original controllers. Every controller I’ve tried also works with it, front he NES-004 boxy pad to the NES Dogbone and the Advantage joystick, even third party controllers work! Same deal with the SNES – the RetroPorts allow all controllers for your old Nintendo systems to be used.
There are even some Gamecube and Wii games that greatly benefit from solid digital controllers. For instance, most people find Megaman Anniversary Collection for Gamecube to be utterly unplayable due to Atomic Planet “reversing” the controls – B now jumps while A shoots. When using a SNES RetroPort, you can slightly fix this problem. Anniversary Collection also maps Y to be turbo fire and X to be auto-slide. Since the button placement of the SNES controller puts Y where the Gamecube’s B button is, you now have natural reach to auto fire and standard jumping, making at least Megaman 1-6 playable.
Other examples where the SNES pad helps are in fighting games such as Soul Calibur II. Not only does the SNES pad fit the game beautifully, it also allows you to remap controls to be whatever you like. You can even use the NES controller to play Soul Calibur II for lulz.
As I see, here’s a short list of games that strongly benefit from these adapters:
- Any Wii Virtual Console NES game that doesn’t require select. Examples include Super Mario Bros. 3, Punch-Out!!, Megaman 2, Wario’s Woods, etc.
- Any Wii Virtual Console game for Commodore 64, Sega Master System, or TurboGrafix-16, and a few early Genesis games such as any of the Sonic games.
- Gamecube’s Gameboy Player playing any Gameboy or Gameboy Color game that doesn’t require select. Examples include Super Mario Land, Tetris, Megaman IV, Pokemon, Shantae, etc.
- Sonic Mega Collection (Gamecube)
- Sonic Gems Collection (Gamecube)
- Nintendo Puzzle Collection (Gamecube)
- Any Wii Virtual Console SNES game that deosn’t require select. Examples include F-Zero, The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong Country 2, F-Zero, Axelay, Zombies ate my Neighbors, etc.
- Any Wii Virtual Console Genesis and Neo-Geo games, as well as all arcade games that support Gamecube input
- The Legend of Zelda Collection (Gamecube)
- Soul Calibur II (Gamecube)
- Capcom Vs SNK 2 EO (Gamecube)
- Megaman Network Transmission (Gamecube)
- Megaman X Collection (Gamecube)
- Megaman Anniversary Collection (Gamecube)
- Alien Hominod (Gamecube)
- Namco Museum 50th Anniversary (Gamecube)
- Resident Evil (Gamecube)
- Resident Evil 2 (Gamecube)
- Resident Evil 3 (Gamecube)
- Meramasa: The Demon Blade (Wii)
- Castle of Shikigami 3 (Wii)
- Cave Story (Wiiware)
Availability & Price
Each of the Retroports are exclusively available via Retrozone for $19 each. Remember, their site is retrousb.com, not retrozone.com. They have a great payment system are are trusthworthy. Shipping might be a bit high if you’ve not in North America, but these adapters are well worth the extra cost of shipping.
- Well built and durable
- Excellent button mapping for the SNES controller
- Both controller adapters are lag-free and completely responsive
- A good number of supporting games makes these adapters a good investment
- These are Gamecube adapters, not Wii; this is misleading on Retrozone’s part
- They are sold separately from each other
- NES RetroPort maps Select to Z rather than Select, meaning Select cannot be accessed with this controller
- $19 plus shipping is somewhat pricey as these are barebones adapters
All in all, Retrozone’s RetroPorts do their jobs exceedingly well and greatly add to the playability of a number of games. I would even argue using a Genuine SNES controller is a better choice over the Wii Classic controller! The lack of using either controller’s Select button to play Virtual Console games does sort of suck, but the pros greatly outweigh the cons and seeing as these are Gamecube adapters, not Wii adapters, there’s nothing Retrozone could have done about this.
One final note is how the RetroPorts compare to the 4-in-1 controller adapter you might find on ebay that also allows you to use Genesis and N64 controllers on your Gamecube/Wii. I don’t personally own one of these, but I’ve noticed all the problems the RetroPorts avoid: the 4-in-one is laggly, built cheaply, and it doesn’t even get the button mappings correct. Avoid and pick up the RetroPorts. You’ll be glad you did.