Picking a Retro Games Controller - Our Favorite USB

Using a retro games controller to enjoy a retro video gaming experience can be much better when playing with a controller that’s fun to use. Lots of retropie controllers exist these days, but some are built better and of a higher quality than others.

Below is a list of some of our personal favorites that worked great with our Retroarch based emulation systems such as, RetroPie, Lakka, and Recall box.

retro games controller front end

There are many different styles when it comes to picking a retro games controller, and most are a direct replica of a previous system. There’re also some new ones that take the older systems designs and create a new variation based on it.

When it comes to 2-D games and pixel sprite-based classic retro games, the SNES style controller is hard to beat. It is also important to note that if you’re playing Systems such as PlayStation or Nintendo 64 that analog sticks would be required for most of those games.

Below is a list of some of our favorite controllers for various types of systems and emulation, all of these are USB and Bluetooth based and should work correctly with your computer-based or small raspberry pie or Android maker board systems.

Retro Games Controller - Classic SNES Style

iBuffalo Retro Games Controller Wired

When it comes to classic Super Nintendo style controllers, the ibuffalo is hard to beat in the wired department. It feels incredibly authentic, is well built, and it is very affordable.

It works incredibly well with all the systems that we tested it with including RetroPie and Lakka. Its buttons feel very responsive, and the D-pad is nice. The left and right triggers also seem well-placed. We have had zero problems with this controller so far and recommend them highly to anybody looking for an affordable controller to get into retro gaming. This is my favorite retropie controller.

Retro Games Controller - Classic SNES Style

Retro SNES Wireless Retro Games Controller

Similar to the controller above this classic SNES style retro games controller is very similar except for a few differences. The first difference being it is an authentic replica of the original SNES controller. That gives it a slight edge over the wired version above. Also, is that the controller is wireless and can connect over Bluetooth. It has a rechargeable battery through USB but also allows you to plug into USB to play wired if need be.

This SNES controller would be considered the Rolls-Royce of Super Nintendo replicas. If you’re looking to spend a little more and looking for something wireless, this controller is a fan favorite.

Retro Games Controller - Classic SFC Style


Just like the controller listed above, there is also a Super Famicom version by the same company. This controller is also Bluetooth compatible and has the same build quality and attention to detail as the wireless Super Nintendo version.

This controller also supports wired play, as well as play and charge modes. If you live outside of the US and remember this controllers color configuration, you can’t go wrong with this reinvented classic.

Retro Games Controller - Classic Genesis Style

Genesis Style Wired Retro Games Controller

The Sega Genesis was mostly known for its iconic three button black controller design. This was later upgraded introducing a six button configuration designed to cater to games like streetfighter and other fighting games of a similar style.

This wired controller is a great throwback to the era of the Sega Genesis, the only issue being at might be less compatible with other systems. It’s lacking left and right triggers as well as a select button making it ideal for Genesis simulation but not so great for other systems. This is another great retropie controller.

Retro Games Controller - Classic Retro Arcade Stick

Retro Games Controller - Arcade Stick

Not all arcade sticks are created equal, and this one, in particular, is exceptionally high-quality. It has a configuration that’s perfect for Neo Geo games or Street Fighter style button layouts.

It’s extremely responsive and feels great to the touch. Compatibility is also very high with most conventional emulation based systems. If you’re looking for a retro games controller in the form of an arcade stick of high-quality at an affordable price, this may be a great option for you. Worth nothing is that we hear supply is limited now.

Retro Games Controller - Classic NES Style

classic nes usb wired retro games controller

Sometimes you’re just looking for the original classic. Nothing fancy, just the standard to good old-fashioned Nintendo two button controller. If that’s the case, you can get it right here as a classic controller for retropie.

It’s very affordable and comes with a USB cable for directly connecting it to your emulation setup.

Retro Games Controller - Classic NES Style Remix

Classic Retro NES Retro Games Controller Remix

The NES30 is a fun retro games controller upgrade for any retro gaming enthusiast. It also supports Bluetooth and wired play modes. It is kind of an upgrade or a remix of the original NES classic controller. The main difference is now a 4 button layout is available as well as left and right shoulder buttons.

This controller is also rechargeable using the USB cable.

Retro Games Controller - Classic NES Style Controller Pro

Classic Retro NES PRO Retro Games Controller Remix

The NES30 Pro edition is similar to the standard NES30 edition. Except for the fact that it supports rounded corners, LED lights, and dual analog some sticks allowing you to play systems like Nintendo 64 in PlayStation and above.

The controller is also wireless with Bluetooth, and supports USB charging and play modes.

This retro games controller is quite fancy and the joy to use. If you’re looking for the ultimate NES style remix, this may be the best option for you.

Retro Games Controller - Playstation 1 Style

Playstation 1 Style Retro Games Controller F310

When it comes to emulating systems like Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation, analog sticks are required. That makes this one a great retropie controller.

Games of that era utilized camera movement as well as dual analog stick control for some of its titles. If you’re looking for an affordable wired option to play the systems on your emulation based retro gaming rig, the Logitech F310 is not a bad choice.

The controller does feel a bit cheap in the hands, and doesn’t have the same quality as other PlayStation styled controllers. It is compatible with many Retropie, Android, and lakka a base setups and works as advertised.

Retro Games Controller - PlayStation 4 Modern

Dual Shock 4 Modern Controller

The dual shock 4 is one of my all-time favorite controllers. Although not traditionally a retro video game base controller, The dual shock 4 holds and plays exceptionally well with all video game content I’ve used.

No matter if I’m playing modern or retro games, this controller just feels great in plays well.

I have had some problems getting some dual shock four revisions to work with systems like RetroPie due to different build types and firmware compatibility. For the majority of PC-based systems, you can’t go wrong with this controller.

Retro Games Controller - Nintendo 64 Style

Nintendo 64 Wired USB Retro Games Controller

The Nintendo 64 controller when released was the first of its kind. It was the first controller to support analog sticks, as well as a rear button.

Love it or hate it, this controller is iconic and is still the best way to experience Nintendo 64 games in your current emulation environment.

This controller works over USB and should help to bring nostalgia while enjoying those classic 3D games from an early Nintendo era.

Retro Games Controller - Gamecube Style

gamecube usb wired retro games controller

The GameCube’s iconic controller design is definitely eye-catching. This controller is still popular and being used today among super smash brothers and other fighting game circles.

The controller is confirmed to work great with emulators like Dolphin on PC and Android. It is not suited for smaller emulation boxes like the raspberry pi as those systems are not powerful enough to emulate GameCube at this time. If you are looking for that authentic GameCube experience an affordable price, this controller could serve you well.

Retro Games Controller - Summary

We hope this post was helpful in showcasing some of our favorite retropie controllers. Although not a retro games controller review, we hope this list is useful no matter if you’re choosing a wired or wireless option or both. This list should help bring that nostalgia back to your retro gaming experience. Quality companies like 8bitdo and retrolink and making great products.

We also have great posts about fixing retropie overscan and retropie temperature.