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Author Topic: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions  (Read 196 times)

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KenToad

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Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« on: April 16, 2019, 01:21:19 pm »
I got to try one of these at the Midwest Gaming Classic. As a disclaimer, I've never used the original Hori controller for the N64, but it has a reputation for being a quality alternative to the original N64 controllers. I'll share my impressions of the Retro-Bit remake/imitation.

One of the vendors at the convention had the Tribute64 connected to the OG console running Mario 64 on a small LCD (widescreen stretched!).

Generally, the controller feels sturdy, light, and comfortable.

The analog stick is very nice, similar to a GameCube analog stick. Controlling Mario's movement was very fluid and natural, at least as good as the original controller, if not better.

D-pad is not great and not positioned to be used in any primary way. You would never want to play Bangai-O with this controller (either this or the Hori original, truthfully, but the Retro-bit D-pad is crap).

The face buttons are pretty mediocre, not up to Nintendo standards. They feel mushy at best.

But the worst part of the controller by far was the shoulder button setup and quality. The buttons aren't comfortable and feel cheap, both in design and overall feel.

I put the controller down after a minute or two, another 3rd party disappointment.

Maybe eventually I'll get the chance to try out the Hori original. I wonder if I would be just as disappointed by the shoulder layout, since it seems to be identical? Maybe I just find the original N64 controllers perfect (nah) or maybe I'm just a 1st party snob (probably)?

« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 01:26:16 pm by KenToad »

Osirus23

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2019, 01:45:40 pm »
Disappointing. Seems there still are no good substitutes for OEM N64 controllers.

Howard_Casto

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2019, 01:46:06 pm »
I don't get why people don't just use the original n64 gamepad.  It's a great controller, works great for what it is designed to do and THAT is the key.  It works for N64 games and the only way it becomes "weird" is if you don't use it for n64 games.  I don't get it because the gamecube controller has the EXACT same problem (can't be used for anything other than gc games due to it's specialized layout) and yet it is heralded as a fantastic gamepad.  I think people that don't like it are just people that bought the psx back in the day and are afraid to try new things. 

KenToad

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2019, 02:22:39 pm »
Disappointing. Seems there still are no good substitutes for OEM N64 controllers.

Maybe the Brawler64 if they ironed out the kinks?

Osirus23

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2019, 02:23:52 pm »
I don't get why people don't just use the original n64 gamepad.

Because I'm always looking for solutions going forward. We won't always be able to rely on a supply of controllers that are 20 years old and aging, especially with how easily the N64 thumbsticks wear out.

KenToad

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2019, 02:36:58 pm »
I don't get why people don't just use the original n64 gamepad.  It's a great controller, works great for what it is designed to do and THAT is the key.  It works for N64 games and the only way it becomes "weird" is if you don't use it for n64 games.  I don't get it because the gamecube controller has the EXACT same problem (can't be used for anything other than gc games due to it's specialized layout) and yet it is heralded as a fantastic gamepad.  I think people that don't like it are just people that bought the psx back in the day and are afraid to try new things.

I'm with you, Howard. The N64 controller is great and perfect for N64 games to the point where many games are difficult or at least counter-intuitive to play without the original controllers. I think the Z-button and its placement under the analog stick is what really sets the N64 controller apart, but also the offset hands and the different tactile nature of the yellow c-buttons vs. the A and B buttons all add to the experience. Try playing Ocarina with a dual shock and it just sucks.

Back in the early 2000's, I bought an adaptoid to be able to have perfect USB plug and play controls for Project64. It's just a shame that no one has updated the official adaptoid drivers for modern Windows (no longer plug and play, rumble is not accurate), but I guess that it makes sense, given the limited availability of the adaptoid even back then.

« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 02:39:49 pm by KenToad »

KenToad

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2019, 02:38:59 pm »
I don't get why people don't just use the original n64 gamepad.

Because I'm always looking for solutions going forward. We won't always be able to rely on a supply of controllers that are 20 years old and aging, especially with how easily the N64 thumbsticks wear out.

Yeah, Nintendo's big mistake was designing a series of games (Mario Party) that destroyed their own hardware.

The solution is to buy enough N64 controllers that you'll always have 4 good ones (and never let people play Mario Party).

Howard_Casto

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2019, 09:02:07 pm »
There are drop in analog stick replacements out there that offer a variety of options.  Some are replicas of the n64 thumbstick, some are more gamecube style and there are some modern ones that are similar to the xbox/psx sticks.  You've also got a steady stream of knock-off controllers from china, basically built off the original molds.  So there are options.

I'm sure we are going to get a n64 classic when Nintendo needs a sales boost and that'll spurn a whole new run of "official" parts. 

I've never had one wear out on me tbh.  Mario Party can certainly wear down the stick, but a good cleaning gets them working again... or at least it did for me. 

Osirus23

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 11:24:55 am »
There are drop in analog stick replacements out there that offer a variety of options.  Some are replicas of the n64 thumbstick, some are more gamecube style and there are some modern ones that are similar to the xbox/psx sticks.  You've also got a steady stream of knock-off controllers from china, basically built off the original molds.  So there are options.

Those Chinese replicas are trash. Rattly buttons; stiff, imprecise thumbsticks, poor fit - same problem with the Gamecube ones which are borderline unusable. Most of the replacement thumbsticks are the same rubbish as well.

KenToad

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 12:18:04 pm »
I still see good quality original N64 controllers fairly frequently at used game shops. I have at least 8, so I don't usually buy them unless it's a great deal or a cool color.

I would imagine that we'll see truly good replacement options when Nintendo decides that demand has risen high enough to re-release the N64 stuff as a mini classic or whatever they decide to do. I'm not super hopeful that it will happen anytime soon, though, given that many of the best N64 games are Rareware and Microsoft has the rights now. I think many casual fans would balk at the release of a mini N64 without Goldeneye, at the very least, and that's two licenses that I doubt Nintendo wants to purchase.

This discussion and my experiences at the recent con have made me think more about controllers and how tastes vary. For example, I've never owned a Neo Geo home console (AES), but, whenever I get the chance to play one, I'm left wondering what all the hype is about. The Neo Geo home arcade sticks may have been great for an era where no one could build their own Arcade Controls, but now they just suck. I'll never understand that stupid 4 buttons in a curved line layout. I loved the Neo Geo arcade cabinet, but it had quality commercial arcade joysticks and the buttons were laid out in a square pattern (at least on the one I played back in the day). The control pads for the Neo Geo got the button layout right, but I much prefer a traditional d-pad over the clicky thumbstick.

Similarly, people rave about the NES Advantage. I have two, but I keep them in storage because they're just not that great for most NES games. We knew this back in 1988. If you needed turbo, you were far better plugging an original controller into a 4 score.
« Last Edit: Yesterday at 12:19:48 pm by KenToad »

Osirus23

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 01:32:59 pm »
Similarly, people rave about the NES Advantage. I have two, but I keep them in storage because they're just not that great for most NES games. We knew this back in 1988. If you needed turbo, you were far better plugging an original controller into a 4 score.

I have an NES Advantage and an NES Max. I never use either. Both are inferior to a standard NES controller. The Advantage has incredibly unsatisfying arcade-like controls and the Max has that weird disc for a d-pad.

Howard_Casto

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 01:41:35 pm »
I agree with most of what you are saying.  The hype about the neo geo though was the games.  You've got to remember, it was released in 1990 and it had true 16 bit arcade games and not mere ports.  Mind you most of them sucked, but once Metal Slug and Kof started coming out things picked up.  I'm building a cmvs right now, if the parts will ever come in.   :angry:  I'm not dealing with those trash controllers though.... I'm building two sticks using the layout and controls the mvs used. 

Unrelated note... snk just had a press conference in Korea and apparently a neo geo 2, which is NOT a emulation box, is in development as is a new metal slug for consoles.  I hope they succeed because they supported that old reliable hardware way longer than it made financial sense to do so..... that's showing dedication to your customers. 

Osirus23

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #12 on: Yesterday at 01:48:58 pm »
A new Metal Slug finally? Awesome. I played the crap out of the last one for DS.

Howard_Casto

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #13 on: Yesterday at 01:57:14 pm »
Yeah I need to get XX for the pc so I can replay that one on my cab...  having that game on the tiny DS screen really hurt it, but I literally bought a DS just for it. 

KenToad

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Re: Retro-Bit Tribute64 Hori replica controller impressions
« Reply #14 on: Yesterday at 06:20:28 pm »
Metal Slug 7 on the DS is really good. You guys inspired me to play it a bit more. I was reminded both why it's so cool and why I kind of stopped playing it rather than finishing it back in the day. It has great graphics, but the size of the sprites compared to the whole screen seems off, kind of like Super Mario Brothers on the NES looked in the "Deluxe" GBC version. The resolution is so low that firing the "blast" weapons can obscure your view of enemy projectiles. Also, the level design is a bit bland overall. Lots of generic stone ramps and too many times you are forced to wipe out every single dude before being allowed to progress with no discernible reason why. That happened in the old games, but usually it had some visual explanation, like a large base blocking your way, making for a nice focal point to a set piece.

Have you guys tried Contra 4 on the DS? It's awesome, especially with wireless co-op. Metal Slug definitely does a lot of things better, though, such as tracking and saving progress, having selectable characters, and a great sense of humor. I'm glad to be able to play both games.

So many great games on the DS, the DS lite is my favorite handheld system, especially with the backwards GBA compatibility.