You’re reading Tested with 9to5Toys, where we explore everyday tech essentials that make life a bit easier. Browse through our entire guide for all of the latest reviews, and sound off in the comments below if there’s something you’d like to see featured.
Last summer, popular gaming accessory-maker 8BitDo unveiled its newest gaming controller for Nintendo Switch and PC. Appropriately dubbed the “Arcade Stick,” this add-on for various platforms delivers retro vibes and a serious at-home gaming experience that’s made for vintage titles. With Nintendo bringing so many old school games to the Switch in the last year, this arcade-style controller appears to be a perfect pairing at first glance. Head below for a few first-hand thoughts and an overview on the 8BitDo Arcade Stick.
8BitDo plays heavy on retro vibes for Arcade Stick
In typical 8BitDo style, the Arcade Stick arrives with heavy retro vibes for old school gamers. The color pallet hits all the notes for an original Nintendo alongside that classic design built around a joystick, plenty of buttons, switches, and more.
Alongside plenty of buttons, many of which can be mapped, there’s also the ability to set custom macros that can be assigned to different profiles. 8BitDo officially marks the Arcade Stick as compatible with Nintendo Switch and Steam-focused Window PCs. Connectivity via Bluetooth and USB round out the list of notable features.
Other notable features include:
- Compatible with Switch, Windows
- Supports ultimate software – customize button mapping and create macros
- Dynamic button layout – button mapping changes with mode functionally and visually
- Ultra-moddable arcade stick – Universal mounting plate supports Sanwa arcade sticks
- Wireless Bluetooth, 2.4Ghz included wireless 2.4Ghz receiver & wired support with included USB-C cable
Tested with 9to5Toys
I’ve been pretty wary of investing in this type of product over the years. If you find a good controller, my motto has been to stick with it. However, I just couldn’t pass up buying the 8BitDo Arcade Stick over Christmas. With so much time at home and many of my favorite games from childhood populating Nintendo’s Online membership program, it was a natural fit.
There are a number of features worth calling out on this controller, and I could spend plenty of time talking about the vintage design cues. But you get it, there’s nostalgia running rampant here. So what makes the Arcade Stick easy to recommend? What are the concerns?
On the positive side of things, the build quality and level of customization through different settings and macros really set this controller apart from others on the market. Gameplay is fun on just about any retro title, with Mario Brothers and Tetris being amongst the standouts for me.
Looking at the other side of the spectrum, price is certainly a concern. The regular going rate of $90 is certainly going to be steep for many gamers. I’d say that for the average consumer, shelling out that type of cash is going to be tough to swallow unless really into the vintage gaming scene.
All that said, if you have the money to shell out for this controller, it’s easy to recommend. Build quality is great, and the wireless design makes it easy to play just about anywhere. It really is a superb experience in comparison to playing these games on a typical Nintendo Switch controller.
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.