Friday, 18 September 2009


Long time no see, etc. etc. Let's get right down to business, shall we? Recently, there's been an explosion of Saturn replica controllers on eBay. These aren't specifically for the Saturn, mind you, but have a USB jack on the end so you can use them with a personal computer, or even a Playstation 3 if you're so inclined. (Sorry, Xbox 360 owners are out in the cold due to that system's proprietary controller design.)

This opens up a lot of possibilities for the classic gaming fan... if you've got a suitably powerful machine, you could run Saturn games through the magic of emulation, using the controller that was designed to play them. If you'd prefer to kick it really old-school, you could just use the controller with KEGA Fusion and play a few games of Sonic the Hedgehog, or dig way back into Sega's past and play Zaxxon and Congo Bongo on MAME. Maybe you just need a rock-solid reliable controller for your Street Fighter IV sessions... well, a Saturn joypad beats the crap out of anything MadCatz released for the game earlier this year!

Right now there are over a hundred of these controllers available on eBay, for prices ranging from ten to thirty dollars. This is a substantial drop from the forty dollars you would have paid for a Saturn replica controller just three years ago. On the downside, many of these auctions originate from Hong Kong or China, so you'll probably be waiting a while before you can wrap your hands around these pads. Fortunately, word on the street is that the controllers are every bit as good as the originals sold by Sega Technical Services in 2006. Azar from the GameSpite message board (and if you haven't been there yet, I strongly suggest you go) had this to say:

"I think these things pop up in waves on ebay every few months. I see posts on GAF about them from time to time, and I don't recall ever having seen anyone complain about the quality."

Another member, Aleanil, offered these encouraging words:

"The one I got a few months ago is A-OK! My understanding is that they came out of nowhere, but are identical down to the PCB to the old original ones. So yeah... *really* good bootlegs or an incredible amount of new old stock, I don't know, but I know mine's awesome and I've heard nothing but good."

So hop on eBay, buy with confidence, and get back to playing video games the way they were meant to be played, no matter what the system!

(except the Xbox 360. Ahem.)


RedTail said...

Some are legit and some aren't. The legit ones are/were produced by Sega Logistics Service at a factory in China. Furthermore, the product was featured on the SLS website and carried by several reputable Japan-based retailers.

If you have a chance, get a few. They're every bit as good as an actual Sega Saturn controller!

The black ones carry the product # ISS-0004.

Barry the Nomad said...

OR you could head over to and sign up for a 3 month membership for $19.90 which includes a free Saturn-style USB controller! They ship mid-October and I've already ordered :D

fatherkrishna said...

Great to see you back and posting Arugulaz! Thanks for the heads up!

Retro Junkyard said...

I thought about one of these to play the mroe expensive games I just can't afford like PDS ;) But it's hard to force myself to run them in an emu because I want to save the experience for a true copy ;)

cv060mk2 said...

Or you could convert a Saturn joypad to USB, thats what I did a year before these USB-ready joypads hit eBay :)

Lee said...

I've had one for a few years now. The USB pad works great for MAME, especially on fighters. I wish it could be used on the Xbox 360... the MadCatz pad isn't too bad a controller though.

Photoboy said...

I've bought a few of these (one of each colour) and they're all perfect replicas as far as I can tell. They feel identical to both the original Saturn pads and to the one "authentic" USB pad I own from before all these clones appeared.

I had assumed they were all old stock, as they also come with the same box as my original pad. But given the numbers available I wouldn't be surprised if they were clones.

Plug one in an enjoy some Daytona or PDS or Bulk Slash on SSF on your laptop. That's what I did when I went on holiday a few weeks ago. ;)