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Just a collection of antiques and curios

My brother is moving away soonish (I’ll miss you!) and thus has burdened me with looking after his SNES and Dreamcast. It seems to be a trait in my family (well, probably just my father’s side) that we hate throwing out old rubbish; sometimes it is literally rubbish (why the hell do I still haven the broken-off zips from old coats?), but the SNES is a valuable piece of nostalgia for us. It was our first proper games console (if we pretend that people used the ZX Spectrum for office tools and whatnot), signalling both the start of our love for video games, but also our totally irrational bias towards Nintendo. Yeah, we can play all the games we want on the Wii or the PC, complete with a close-enough imitation of the SNES controller, but my brother still has a fondness for playing stuff on the original hardware. In theory I’m the same, but in practise… hmm.

I recently picked up an AV cable for the SNES, partly so I don’t have to muck about with the aerial cable every time I want to use it and partly on request by my brother. It’s quite a sight to see the ol’ games played off their original cartridge again and without a hilariously bad RF reception. It’s, uh, not so fun realising that all my controllers are kind of busted.

Seriously, I’ve got six SNES controllers, and only two of them have reasonably-responsive Start buttons… and one of those two is a hideously impractical arcade controller. That’s terrible! One of them is totally busted and has been for at least fifteen years, while another, an intriguing six-button controller (which I guess is good for fighting games, but man, the original face buttons are repositioned rather strangely) has a busted D-Pad. I loathe it when controllers use soft material for certain buttons – my PlayStation controllers also suffer from unresponsive Start buttons, and the smooth ‘n’ snug texture the GameCube controllers use for its sticks just so happens to be a total filth magnet. There’s one of them I’m a little afraid to even touch because the C-Stick has turned a rather mankey shade of yellow-brown.


So, yeah. It’s not very fun reclaiming the SNES when I’ve a mere two controllers with full functionality, the rest of which I kind of need to rotate my thumb on the Start button in hopes of finding its sweet spot. Hopefully once his life quiets down I can dump this thing back on him again. I don’t think it’d be too hard selling a SNES, but selling one with four wonky controllers? Hmm. Then again, it did surprise how much support is available for a twenty year old console – there’s all manner of replacement leads and parts, including replacement response pads for inside the controller! I’d be happy to just donate controllers to places like that so they could patch them up and sell them, though Steve would probably chastise me for throwing away his favourite QuickShot pad. Yeah, it hasn’t worked in fifteen years, but it’s got a red D-Pad!

I’ve been tempted to also gett an AV cable for the Dreamcast, but I’m wondering if I should bother. I set it up last week just to see if it worked, and as always, the stupid thing is playing funny buggers with me, refusing to read discs. I have a strange fondness for the Dreamcast and mild admiration for its efforts, but not even rose-tinted glasses can hide the fact that the actual console is a temperamental little shit. Did I ever tell you the story of us waiting months for the Dreamcast to arrive via mail order, playing it for half an hour, and then it broke on us, forcing us to send it off and wait until a repair or replacement arrived? It’s a funny story. Not as funny as RQ87 telling me how he’s gone through like six of them because they’re so terribly produced. Now that is hilarious.

I really should try and figure out how to emulate the stupid thing. Or better yet, SEGA should just rerelease ChuChu Rocket! on a sensible platform. That’d solve all our problems.


  1. Rage Quitter 87 wrote:

    Huh, the first SNES I ever purchased came with a Quickshot pad. And it didn’t work either.

    And you still have that arcade stick? NOTE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS: Ragey tried to sell me that stick and I think he even tried to give it away for free and I still said no. Nice button layout Nintendo.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Permalink
  2. Ragey wrote:

    But look at the gauges! There’s like a freakin’ million of those toggle knobs! DOESN’T THAT WHET YOUR WHISTLE

    I was actually even going to offer that six-button controller to you at one point until I realised, doy, the D-Pad doesn’t work. That would’ve been a really crappy gift. What SNES games can you play without having to move? (now I’m interested in seeing if anyone’s ever completed a fighting game only using the attack buttons, no movements at all)

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink
  3. Rage Quitter 87 wrote:

    Kind of what your after

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink
  4. MightyKombat wrote:

    Oh cripes that controller. THAT CONTROLLER.

    Thursday, February 3, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Permalink
  5. Umiliphus wrote:

    I consider two functioning controllers terribly impressive! All through my years we (we being us) rarely had two that worked for very long for any system. One would always need to have one or more of its crucial buttons be pressed really hard. If ever we got around to acquiring a properly functioning replacement the old one would promptly be stepped upon by some body or another. Fortunately, we rarely had a game that actually needed all those stupid buttons. At one point we just plugged an old Atari 2600 controller into the genesis-eh Mega Drive? because you can play Sonic and Columns with just one button (although Columns required switching around the unit with a functioning Start button).

    Sunday, February 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Permalink
  6. Ragey wrote:

    Haha, I don’t think I’ve ever busted a controller by stepping on it or any physical abuse like that – I think I’ve just had the misfortune of playing games that demand you to batter the hell out of them to win. I’ve way more spare Nintendo 64 controllers than I care to recall, thanks to the joysticks getting worn out of shape from having to rotate them vigourously in a pitiful attempt to imitate riding a bicycle. Great reas I think my Mega Drive controllers have actually been the most durable – which is a shame, because I’ve just discovered that Amstrad and ZX Spectrum controllers are compatible with the console. Would’ve loved to have tried that a few years ago before it died on me.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011 at 12:12 am | Permalink