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Let's talk Sega Saturn controllers

Discussion in 'General Sega Discussion' started by SpiderInStockings, May 31, 2022.

  1. SpiderInStockings

    SpiderInStockings

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    There's a lot of Saturn controllers, varying from standard ones to joysticks to the 3D control pad to many more. On top of that, there's regional differences.

    Which ones are good? Which ones have you used? Which ones suck?
     
  2. The initial, bulky and oversized, US pad is trash. Glad I have one for the sake of my collection, but I only use the normal Saturn pad. Not really a fan of the 3D control pad as it is awkward to hold, but it did lay the foundation for the Dreamcast and eventually Xbox and Switch Pro pads.
     
  3. saxman

    saxman

    Oldbie Tech Member
    The original US pad is actually nicely designed and pretty high quality in my opinion. However, I always felt that pad was just slightly uncomfortable in my hands. The flatter pad feels better to hold and is recommended.

    Never had any other controllers for the Saturn, so I can't comment on those.
     
  4. Elratauru

    Elratauru

    Little Shiny Emurralds Member
    I have used both the JP MK-1 (Grey and Blue) and MK-2 (White and Pink with colored buttons) myself and these are fine, they feel like 6 Button Megadrive controllers with the L+R buttons on top. In fact I'd say these are more confortable as they are not as rounded and have more of an ergonomic shape.

    Retro Bit has also done re-releases of these lately with both Bluetooth and Wireless 2.4 capabilities, and these are pretty good recreations. Compared to an original one I'd say the feeling is almost the same, I'd like to think that the originals feel different due to having 25 years of wear, but I think it's almost the same feeling, action-wise at least, plastics are a little different but similar enough.
     
  5. cartridgeculture

    cartridgeculture

    Wiki Contributor Member
    This is the best Saturn controller.

    [​IMG]

    EDIT: To actually contribute something, I've had a really good experience with Retro-Bit's 2.4GHz wireless controllers.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2022
  6. SpiderInStockings

    SpiderInStockings

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    I only own a Japanese Saturn so I haven't had a chance to feel the US controller, but I have to say the first version has always looked really cool to me![​IMG]
    Although the black attracts dust, I've always found the way the D-Pad looks to be really cool, especially when paired with the blocky handles. It really sells the futuristic look even to this day. Of course that doesn't mean anything if it doesn't play well; there's a reason the later revisions are just the Japanese controller but with a different color and logo.

    I got a 3D Control Pad recently and I have to say it's surprisingly comfortable! The stick feels good, but it feels sort of rough when it moves. Is this just an age thing? I was probably gonna get some WD-40 or something similar to try and see if it makes it looser.
     
  7. The original US pad sucks so much that the D-Pad put a hole in my finger playing Street Fighter.
     
  8. MSX

    MSX

    Lives on the internet. Member
    Am I the only one who likes the US pad? I sometimes feel that I am. I do have all 3 versions and enjoy them all, but the 3D controller's analog stick (nub?) is a little weird. Also, having to flip a switch between the analog nub and d-pad was weird. Was there no way to make the nub just act like a d-apd where it wasn't supported? I sound like I'm complaining, but the 3D pad is comfortable.
     
  9. SpiderInStockings

    SpiderInStockings

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    They very much so could have made the 3D control pad have both active at the same time, but they probably didn't do that out of fear of misinputs? I mean, the thing is like a dinner plate. Not exactly the most conventional controller. Then again, if they'd designed it more intuitively, then there could be games that use both directional inputs a la the Nintendo 64. But on the other hand, I love how weird the 3D control pad is. It's comfy but unlike anything else. Perfectly encapsulates that Sega charm IMO.
     
  10. Willie

    Willie

    Each day the world turns Laugh 'til it all burns Member
    The only Sega styled controller I own is the 8bitdo M30 controller. My biggest issue with that controller is that the dpad makes awful noises and the dpad gets stuck when I hit left, so I would like to invest in a Sega Saturn controller that I can use on my Nintendo Switch and PC. Should I get one of the wired Retro Bit Sega Saturn recreations or is the dpad worse than the OEM model from the '90s? 8BitDo sells a do it yourself mod kit that allows people to use an original Sega Saturn controller on the Switch. I love the six button interface for the M30 controller, so I'm assuming that I would enjoy using an officially licensed Sega Saturn controller for my Switch with their mod kit.

     
  11. Did anyone ever buy the Mission stick? I loved it and still use it, felt like Rambo playing the likes of Soviet Strike LOL Over on the bank holiday I also got out the Arcade racer too, to play some of the Ages stuff. That is awesome racing wheel, very much overlooked

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Kob

    Kob

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    Beyond Retro-Bit's wired options, I'd take a look at their Bluetooth Sega controllers. I own several myself, including their Genesis and Saturn pads, and they've become my go-to option for 2D gaming on PC and modern systems. Despite some issues with the dpads in their first production run (possibly specific to the wired versions), the dpad in the Bluetooth controller is well-made and responsive. My only gripe is that the Retro-Bit Saturn dpad has a smooth plastic finish, unlike the textured, "powder-coat" finish of the original model. If that's an issue for you, you can replace it with an OEM Sega dpad, which fits perfectly.

    While Bluetooth controllers can introduce some lag, the Retro-Bit Bluetooth pad is quite responsive on Switch -- it actually registers inputs faster than their 2.4 GHz wireless model, as demonstrated in this test. The Bluetooth controller also has rumble support, which adds a nice heft over the OEM Sega pads.

    Retro-Bit apparently discontinued these a while back in favor of more 2.4 GHz options, but you can still find new ones out in the wild.
     
  13. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    The 3D Control Pad is fantastic to hold. The handles and triggers are comfy, the analog uh.. nipple is really pleasant to move around, and the buttons and D-Pad of course all feel good. I don't know why it isn't compatible with some games, though; I feel like if a game doesn't support it then it should just as easily be able to translate the digital inputs to the stick like on PS1. I know some games do have that, but the fact that some don't just makes the compatibility issue all the more flimsy.

    The standard JP / US model 2 controller has an appealing shape and is quite comfortable, but I think the L/R buttons are kind of shit. Maybe some people like how "clicky" they are, but I think they're way too shallow and always feel like they're gonna get stuck. That sound they make when they click in and click out sometimes just doesn't click out.. it never gets caught, but it often sounds like it, and the lack of feedback doesn't help. It's pretty off-putting.

    I can't remember how the US model 1 pad feels. I had one, but it's been a long time. It looks sort of cool, but I think the clunkier shape probably didn't do any favors when it was introduced and compared to the sleeker PS1 and N64 controller shapes. That, and the L/R look even harder to tell if they've been pressed, here. Yet another L for our kings at Sega of America.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2022
  14. Forte

    Forte

    I speak better after three beers Member
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    Back in the day I owned two PAL Saturn's, model1 and model2.

    My favourite controller, was model2. Way more ergonomic.

    As for the console itself, I always preferred the model1 look.
     
  15. Willie

    Willie

    Each day the world turns Laugh 'til it all burns Member
    Can the dpad in the bluetooth version be toggled to output analog stick inputs like 8BitDo controllers and what is offered with the Hori Fighting Commander controller? Most of the time I play Super smash Bros., it's with 8BitDo controller because I prefer playing Super Smash Bros. with a dpad instead of an analog stick. That game does not officially support the dpad.

    Edit-

    I just did more research and it does have that functionality. I'll consider getting the bluetooth controller when I have the budget for it if it's not sold out entirely by then. Really sucks to hear it was discontinued. What happened to the bluetooth version that had two sets of analog sticks? That version of the controller looked super cool.

    Edit-

    I would prefer to get the black version of the Retro-Bit bluetooth controller, but it looks like the black version is now an insanely rare controller. :/
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2022
  16. Kob

    Kob

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    Delayed due to supply issues (along with their Dreamcast controller), but still in the works.
    Give this one a shot. Same exact controller, plus the cool PAL-region packaging. They delivered stateside in less than a week in my case.
     
  17. Willie

    Willie

    Each day the world turns Laugh 'til it all burns Member
    Well thank you so much for all the info. When I have additional funds, I'll either import the bluetooth Saturn controller and/or buy the analog version when it becomes available.
     
  18. The 3D pad is an amazing controller, I so wished SEGA kept it for the DC. I think along with the GameCube the analogue controls were the best and I loved how the analogue pad just sat so lovely and snug around your thumb on the Saturn 3D pad. The Virtual Stick was the best joystick around at the time too IMO

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Kob

    Kob

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    Isn't that solved by the digital-analog selector switch, or at least partially? While you end up disabling one of the two directional options, the pad itself remains compatible.
    Thanks to adapters, the 3D pad has become my controller of choice for Dreamcast games or any 3D Sonic game that doesn't make heavy use of a second analog stick. Something about the unique analog "nub" and the six-button layout just feels right in a Sega title.

    And I love the look and unique button layout of the Astro City-style Virtua Stick. I own the USB version made for PC that works on PS3 natively and PS4 through a Brook adapter featuring all Seimitsu parts. It definitely comes in handy for games that benefit from a tighter lever vs. the looser ones included in most modern fight sticks.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2022
  20. Azookara

    Azookara

    yup Member
    You'd think that would be how it works, but from what I recall there were some games I played where the game doesn't register the 3D Pad at all. Admittedly it's been a long time since I tested this, so maybe I'm full of shit here.

    They've been saying that for the past 3 years. As much as I would love it, I heavily doubt we're ever going to see those happen. lol