The 8Bitdo SFC30 is a Bluetooth game pad which is designed to look and feel like the classic Super Nintendo game pad.
The SFC stands for “Super Famicom”, which is what the SNES was called in Japan and the 30 is to signify that this year (2015) is the 30th anniversary of the launch of the original NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in America back in 1985.
I always loved the SNES and play a lot of Emulator games so this game pad was an obvious choice for me, having been looking for a Bluetooth version for quite some time.
I found a good deal on Black Friday so I ordered two and eagerly awaited the postman. They came from China so I wasn’t expecting them to be here in time for Christmas, they took a couple of weeks to arrive but were well worth the wait and arrived just in time.
The packaging for the controllers is very nice, solid and good quality.
The controller is well protected, surrounded by thick foam inserts which grip the controller tightly inside the box.
The controller looks EXACTLY like the original SNES controller that I used so much back in the day, it is remarkable how well they have done with the look of this product, I wasn’t sure how close the look or feel would be to the original, but I am very happy to say that it looks near enough identical, aside from the lights on top where the cable used to be and the 8Bitdo branding.
In fact, it’s SO close to the size of the original that it is literally almost millimetre perfect. I can’t find my original controllers anywhere, but from reading up about the dimensions online they have got this pretty much bang on. It may be a couple of mm thicker to accommodate the battery and the Bluetooth innards, but I can’t feel any difference in the hand and it genuinely feels like I’m holding the same controller I used to play with all those years ago.
The impression when getting the controller out of the box, aside from the obvious nostalgia, is one of absolute quality. The controllers feel just as sturdy and well-built as the original, from the hard feel of the casing to the press of each and every button, everything feels like the original.
This thing is seriously impressive.
I’m so pleased with this purchase, it’s exactly what I was hoping for when I found it online and ordered it. So far I have paired it up with my iPad and iPhone both with retroarch installed. I use the official apple HDMI adaptor to plug them straight into the TV for some big screen gaming.
The pairing process was a little confusing, but pretty straightforward when you’ve finally worked it out. The supplied manual is clear and the only confusion is the number of different pairing modes. I ended up holding the ‘B’ button and pressing the start button at the same time to get mine paired with iOS. You do need to press this combination every time you turn the controller on to ensure it’s in the right mode as every mode seems to have a different Bluetooth signature entirely.
For the second controller you do the same thing, but also hold the ‘R’ shoulder button down.
The pairing seems to emulate keyboard presses and holding the ‘R’ button down seems to tell the second controller that it’s using the opposite side of the imaginary keyboard for button mappings than the first controller. It’s worth unbinding the “Meta Keys” in RetroArch when using this pad as some of them seem to be bound by default to buttons the pad uses so you may find yourself accidentally putting the game into slow-motion etc. if you don’t unbind them.
In retroarch I had a right ball ache getting the second controller to do anything; other than let me map the buttons in the settings. Once I launched a game only the first controller would do anything and the second controller, although still showing as being paired, was completely unresponsive. This did my head in for ages and it was only once I tried changing the core I was emulating SNES with from “Snes9x” to “SNES9x Next” within Retroarch that everything sprung into life and 2 player awesomeness was good to go! This was a suggestion from a mate and saved me a lot of time messing about with settings so thanks for this dude! 😀
I’ve played several hours of SNES games so far, from Super Mario World, to Super Street Fighter II Turbo, to Super Bomberman and SEGA Mega Drive (Genesis) games like Streets of rage and Road Rash etc. Man there are SO MANY good games and this controller is exactly what I needed to enjoy them all again!
I can’t get over how close to the original feel this controller is, every button press is perfect, just like on the original pad.
One thing that is worthy of note, and the only thing I would change about this controller personally, is that it is not MFi compliant (Made For iOS) so whilst I was able to use it perfectly well on my iPhone and iPad (both incidentally jail broken) I was not able to pair it with my Apple TV 4. This was quite disappointing as I wanted to use it on there too and I will have to buy a proper MFi controller separately for this purpose.
Other than that one minor gripe, I absolutely LOVE this thing. It is fantastic! I am sure my son and I will be using them for years to come so he can experience the old games I used to play when I was his age and I can re-visit them in all their glory; the way they were supposed to be played.