News Article

Hands-on with Datel's Wireless Retro Controller

Posted by Darren Calvert

Going wireless

The Classic Controller is a great peripheral, modelled on the humble SNES controller of yesteryear with two analogue sticks and a few extra buttons thrown in for good measure to support N64 games - it is all you need to enjoy most of the retro games on the Virtual Console.

The only downside is that it isn’t completely wireless. Sure it is wireless in the sense you don’t have to plug it directly into the Wii, but having to plug it into a Wii Remote and having all the cable hanging around is far from ideal.

Nyko sell a controller grip which tethers together the Wii Remote with the Classic Controller and allows you to wrap the cord neatly too, but let’s face it this looks ridiculous!

If you want to go truly wireless then you are going to want something like Datel’s Wireless Retro Controller which can be bought at Argos for £14.99 in the UK. It acts like a Wii Remote and a Classic Controller rolled into one so you don’t have any cords or restrictions.

Datel have copied the design of the Classic Controller almost completely. It is practically identical and has surprisingly good build quality. The only differences are the addition of a power button placed neatly underneath the ‘home’ button and some black moulded grips stuck onto the back on the controller.

The controller takes 2 AAA batteries. At the time of writing we haven’t used it extensively so we cannot say how long they will last. You sync the controller to your Wii with a little button on the back on the controller, just like you would a Wii Remote. That’s it, now you’re ready to go!

For those who are familiar with the Classic Controller you will know that you can use the analogue stick to move the cursor on the Wii menu if you are too lazy to point with the Wii Remote. That’s a big help because you won’t be using a Wii Remote with this right? Well not quite, while you can select a VC game using the analogue stick it seems that many of the games simply do not show the cursor when the menu screen pops up upon starting a game (assuming you have a suspension point save).

Most of the VC games released in the first year of the service have this problem such as Super Mario Bros, Super Mario World, Contra III, F-Zero, Soldier Blade and a few others which we tried.

Games released more recently such as Mega Man II, DoReMi Fantasy, Gate of Thunder, Super Mario Bros 3, Shinobi III, Super Metroid and Toki Tori (WiiWare) do work OK though, the cursor appears as it should on the home menu and can be controlled with the analogue stick.

It kinds of defeats the point of the controller as the only way to close the menu is to power up a Wii Remote! Who knows why this problem occurs with certain games and not others, but it is a bit of a disappointment.

As stated previously, the Retro Wireless does have surprisingly good build quality. It is slightly bigger than the Classic Controller but you probably won’t be able to tell the difference in practice. It is amazing how Datel were able to copy the looks of the Classic Controller with no fear of copyright violations. The black rubbery grips on the back of the controller do seem a bit unnecessary however and will make your fingers smell of rubber after using it for a while. We never found the Classic Controller uncomfortable or particularly slippery, but if you did then these grips might be a welcome addition for you.

In the different games we playtested this with we can report that it does the job just as well as the Classic Controller. The buttons are just as responsive and there is no sense of lag. The D-pad however is not raised quite as high as in the Classic Controller, this did cause some problems when trying to quickly double-tap to dash in Shinobi III as the second press did not always register. When playing a frantic shoot-em-up such as Soldier Blade this wasn’t a problem however.

If this sounds like your cup of tea then you can head on down to Argos and pick one up for the princely sum of £14.99 (order code: 568/8379). After all if you don’t like it you can return it for a quibble-free refund within 30 days, just go easy on that blister packaging! We have no idea if this controller will be sold outside the UK, but Datel’s website might be a good place to ask that question if you are dying to get your hands on one of these.

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User Comments (54)

#1

said:

This is just as useless as the Nyko controller. I'll stick with what I've already got, thanks!

Kirk

#2

Kirk said:

Is there anyone out there who knows how to actually design something that looks nice and is also ergonomic and functional?

I mean how hard is it really!

You make the controller similar in basic shape to an Xbox 360 pad (that is comfortable enough imo) or even a GC pad (which is even more ergonomic). You move the ZL and ZR buttons so that rather than having to use the same index finger to click them as you do the normal L and R buttons you can actually use any/all of your other fingers to click them. This is easily acheived by placing the buttons/trigger on the back of the controllers grips/handles and having them work similarly to a bike brake (think of the way you pull a mountain bike break with your 4 fingers except in this case your index fingers are still used for the normal shoulder buttons and it's the rest of your fingers that are used to pull/click the other button) . It means you can easily and intuitively use the all the L,R,ZL,ZR buttons at the same time, comfortably, and without having to move your basic hand position. This "grip" trigger/button could actually be a pressure sensitive triggers with a bit of travel (like on Xbox 360 and PS3 or GC) so it would work just like the old GC shoulder buttons and would be perfect for whatever games might need this kind of thing. The other shoulder buttons of course work just like old SNES shoulder buttons.

Other than that you keep the rest of the button pretty much where they are and keep the overall look and design of the controller nice, clean, elegant and simple and you have a great controller that works for all types of games and also feels great in your hands with all the buttons in all the right places.

How hard is that! I mean really!

It's not rocket science!

Wiiloveit

#3

Wiiloveit said:

I like the idea of it syncing straight to the Wii, but otherwise I can't say I'm all that bothered - I mean, it looks even smaller than the standard CC! If I was to get a classic controller, I think I would prefer the Nyko one you described in the news article yesterday.

Kirk

#4

Kirk said:

I really wish I was in a position to pay someone to build a prototype of the controller I'm thinkin of.

In fact I wish I could create a prototype of the new Wiimote style next-gen motion controller I'm thinking of too.

It would be so perfect for the next version of these controllers and is superior to all the other crap ones I see other companies coming up with and then trying to sell them to Microsoft and Sony etc as the next big 3rd party motion controller for their machines.

Edit: You know what...I just wrote to NYKO telling them I think I have better ideas for controller solutions and what harm would it do to at least find out if I actually do or if I am just like everyone else who thinks they can do better.

Wonder if I will hear from them.

LOL

Rexy

#5

Rexy said:

I have enough issues with third party products as it is, so I'll pass. It seemed like a good idea on paper though, yet it sounds as if some of the issues with using the Classic Controller weren't properly resolved.

Bensei

#6

Bensei said:

Thanks for the review! I will stay with my CC however, since I never had so much problems with the cable that I thought "Oh my, why aren't they wireless?"

Kirk

#7

Kirk said:

@Bensie

Why aren't they wireless?
Why aren't the ZR and ZL shoulder buttons positioned better?
Why isn't the controller more ergonomic?
Why didn't they just use the basic GC controller shape since that was very comfortable?
Why can't you use them for GC games even though they have every button that is on a GC controller for no apparant reason?
What the hell is that stupid clip/attachment feature on the back actually used for and will we ever find out?

Oh my indeed.

Shiryu

#8

Shiryu said:

I really liek Datel, long time consumer of their wares, but its a shame this one uses up batteries... still better then those 3 my Nyko wireless uses. I end up never using Nyko's because of that.

Wich reminds me, my Shafts have not arrived after almost 6 months and im getting nothign but silence from them. Im felling a bit scorched of Wii acessories because of this, I really must priritize to solve this before inveesting on new acessories. :(

And we all know what we really want are SNES classic pads, anyway... ;)

Nobarai

#12

Nobarai said:

I smell lawsuit.
And what's with the hate going on about the Classic Controller? :D

Kawaiipikachu

#13

Kawaiipikachu said:

I just stick to the classic controller myself as the cord doesn't bother me .

And as for using the analog stick in the home menu the curser appears in all cc conpatible games via cc controls only & it shouldent be any different with this .

You appear to forget to test the analog sticks as in wether they have the full movement or cut off just like you expect from aftermarket controllers .

Kultist

#14

Kultist said:

Hmmm. Looks too much like Nintendo's to be any good. I mean, I already have one. Maybe third parties should focus on making hardware with different functions and feels than what is already available. More choice, less lawsuits, thank you very much :)
Oh and adding speedgroves on the front won't do any good either :P

dr_mario

#16

dr_mario said:

I find the classic controller too small and the buttons are too squished together for my hands since they tried merging the controllers of 3 (4 if you count game cube cause of the 2 analogs sticks which is pointless cause it can't even be used for game cube) into one, I'm more used the xbox sized controllers when it comes to that many buttons, The small NES pads are fine cause they only have like 2 buttons.

They should have went more like the n64 controller with the 2 handles for your left hand for the VC so it would be perfect for N64 and to do SNES or anything else you just move your left hand to the second grip with the 4 direction pad.

MayhemStaff

#17

Mayhem said:

Hori or nothing is usually for me for third party controllers... I'll stick with the Classic Controller also.

CanisWolfred

#18

CanisWolfred said:

Finally somebody makes this! I have no problems with the Wire, but my brother always prefers wireless controllers.

Kafei2006

#19

Kafei2006 said:

too bad there are isues with some games cuz' i was thinking of buying a second classic controller, and this one was really interesting. Plus we don't know yet if it's gonna be sold outside UK so ... can't tell if i'll be getting one.

Twilight_Crow

#20

Twilight_Crow said:

No problems with the wire, I'm staying with my CC, thankyou, but I must admit that I rather not having those analog shoulder buttons (like the GC controller) and have just plain buttons (like the SNES controller) instead.

classicmike

#21

classicmike said:

I dont see why they just can't make a classic controller that can be linked without using the wii remote. That would be something I might think about buying.

Ben

#22

Ben said:

I actually bought one of these today out the blue, and i must admit, it's really good!

Simple to connect to the wii, can even turn the Wii on with it. Works great in the 3 VC games i actully have (SMW, SF2T & SamSho2) and works really well in Mario Kart.

The rubber grips work well, i always found the CC an odd shape and it gave me cramp in my hands after a while (never had that with any other controler i've used before?) but this is actually pretty comfy.

I'm happy with my purchase, i can't see why Nintendo couldn't do this right from the start?

All the people leaving negative comments about it, i really think you should actually use one before rubbishing it rather than just look at a few photos and assume it won't be any good ;) I'm not normally a fan of third party controllers myself, and usually steer clear, but this looked pretty good and, well, is actually good.

I'm sure if it breaks after 30 hours use i'll eat my words, but till then...

monomaniacpat

#24

monomaniacpat said:

Excellent review, thank you. I always thought there should be more reviews for accessories like this.

When I first heard that the classic controller would be tethered to a Wii remote, I was horrified. After using it, though, I think it makes a lot of sense. One of the problems with wireless controllers is all the batteries and charging. By unifying with the Wii remote, this simplifies things a fair bit!

Ricardo91

#25

Ricardo91 said:

Now this wireless retro controller I like! :)

Still pretty pointless to make a wireless version of a controller that attaches to another wireless controller. =P

Kenji510

#26

Kenji510 said:

Looks cool and its wireless too.. ill buy one when it hits in the game stores just for hell of it for collection.

BulbasaurusRex

#27

BulbasaurusRex said:

I'll just stick with my GameCube controllers. They're just as good (probably even better, since they have better positions for the main analog stick and the primary button) as the Classic Controllers, plus they can play my GameCube games.

Besides, there's already a wireless VC controller. It's called a Wavebird GameCube controller. I have one, and it's great. Just get that instead of this dumb Datel thing and also enjoy using it with GC games..

shadows262

#30

shadows262 said:

whats the point of another classic controller how bout nintendo and Nyko make controllers because why should everyone make a controller that does the same thing

Twilight_Crow

#31

Twilight_Crow said:

@Bulbasaurus Rex
Gamecube controllers are good, you can play everything with them, and they are great for most N64 games, (inner me: "though I just hate those shoulder trigger buttons get in my way in fast games such as Sin and Punishment, you have to press too deep, belive me that little time really afects on that game") but, I really like the CC in any other console game (inner me: "and at least their shoulder trigger buttons, though still bothersome, are not that deep") because the crosspad is a lot better and it has the right position, for the retro experience, you know; still, I agree in that buying a wavebird as a VC wireless controller is better than buying this Dantel thing.

To be honest I don't care about wireless or rubber, I wont buy any other kind of CC;... at least 'till they make one with buttons instead of triggers :P, don't get me wrong they'd be nice if they were needed as in some GC games, but there's no games that use them yet, and if the triggers get to be needed I could use a GC controller.

Edit: @kirk's description in 2nd comment
nice ;)
Great idea, at least they should create a better shoulder button configuration.

CanisWolfred

#32

CanisWolfred said:

Except the Gamecube's D-pad sucks, and I'm not very good at playing fighters with the Analogue stick. Heck, I can't even play Mega Man, Shining Force, Breath of Fire, or pretty much any of my VC games very well using the Wavebird. For me, this would be pretty handy, especially since I like the shape and button placement of the CC. I'm not going to get rid of the wired one though, but it would make a great second controller.

Pegasus

#33

Pegasus said:

You guys do know you can close the home menu just by pressing the home button again. No cursor needed. :p

RadioShadow

#34

RadioShadow said:

@WiiloveitOnline: It's slightly bigger than the CC but you won't notice much difference.

@Shiryu: What were you expecting it to run on? Solar Power? XD
Also the Official SNES Classic Controllers cost £40 to buy on Ebay and that's a lot of money for a controller. Datel's Wireless one only costs £15 which is the same price as the Official CC.

@Rexy: I know Third Party Controllers aren't very good. They usually end up not working or fall apart. This one however does have decent build to it and I've let to see if it stop working after a good use.

@AlphaNerd01: So they don't slip from our hands and injure people. :)

@Pegasus: The Home Button on the CC doesn't work on old VC Releases (unless I'm mistaken).

DazzaAdmin

#35

Dazza said:

@Pegasus - When the cursor doesn't show on certain games with the Datel controller, the 'home' button doesn't work either,

On the wired official Classic Controller, all games including the older ones I bought work OK without touching the Wiimote

Clayfrd

#38

Clayfrd said:

I kind of need an extra Classic Controller, but I'll just get a regular, first-party controller. The cord doesn't bother me at all.

timp29

#39

timp29 said:

GC controllers don't work in the channels screen and have woeful button layouts on some games. Seriously, try play contra 3 with a wavebird. In that respect there will always be a market for 3rd party controllers that are classic controller clones.

alvieao

#40

alvieao said:

I'll stick to Nintendo's Classic Controller and my GC WaveBirds... I don't care about the cord and I'm used to navigating the cursor with either control (sans WaveBird, of course). These third-party alternatives do no help to properly resolve the button placements...

slangman

#41

slangman said:

I will have to give it a miss. The fact that the home button doesn't work with games like Super Probotector and Super Mario World has put me right off. Besides my Classic Controller doesn't give too much problems. Shame as this looks quite good on paper.

MarkyVigoroth

#42

MarkyVigoroth said:

Kirk-san:
"Why aren't they wireless?"
There is no real need. The controller is already attached to a wireless Form Baton (Wii Remote), so, if you need extra distance, simply move the Baton.

"Why aren't the ZR and ZL shoulder buttons positioned better?"
I bet they wanted to mostly emulate the form of on SNES controller, so, instead of moving the Z buttons behind the L/R buttons, they are beside the L/R buttons.

"Why isn't the controller more ergonomic?"
Once again, I bet that it is due to attempts on emulating the SNES controller. Also, the Classic Controller is already ergonomic enough.

"Why didn't they just use the basic GC controller shape since that was very comfortable?"
It would be harder to play some games like the infamous Super Mario World and one of those Donkey Kong Country games which were difficult to play with the GameCube controller. (Adios, Yoshi!)

"Why can't you use them for GC games even though they have every button that is on a GC controller for no apparant reason?"
I bet this is related to the reason that the Wii Remote turns itself off when you play a GameCube game and the only way to go back to the Wii Menu is to use the Power Button on the console itself. Also, since a lot of Wii buyers once had a GameCube (like me) and they would already be bringing the necessary GameCube Controllers (and the not strictly necessary Memory Cards), they did not deem it necessary. I hope they go for Classic Controller compatibility in GameCube games, though...

"What [...] is that stupid clip/attachment feature on the back actually used for and will we ever find out?"
The attachment feature is most likely the Classic Controller's equivalent of that socket thing on the bottom of the Form Baton. Just like that socket allows the Form Baton to be attached to the Balance Stone (Nunchuck), Classic Controller, and so on, the attachment feature of the Classic Controller would allow it to be attached to extra features (a rumble pack, a 3-way gyro sensor for games like Kirby: Tilt 'n' Tumble or WarioWware: Twisted! if they ever go into Virtual Console, and so on).

By the way...
"You make the controller similar in basic shape to an Xbox 360 pad (that is comfortable enough imo) or even a GC pad (which is even more ergonomic). You move the ZL and ZR buttons so that rather than having to use the same index finger to click them as you do the normal L and R buttons you can actually use any/all of your other fingers to click them. This is easily acheived by placing the buttons/trigger on the back of the controllers grips/handles and having them work similarly to a bike brake (think of the way you pull a mountain bike break with your 4 fingers except in this case your index fingers are still used for the normal shoulder buttons and it's the rest of your fingers that are used to pull/click the other button) . It means you can easily and intuitively use the all the L,R,ZL,ZR buttons at the same time, comfortably, and without having to move your basic hand position. This "grip" trigger/button could actually be a pressure sensitive triggers with a bit of travel (like on Xbox 360 and PS3 or GC) so it would work just like the old GC shoulder buttons and would be perfect for whatever games might need this kind of thing. The other shoulder buttons of course work just like old SNES shoulder buttons."
I have 2 PlayStation2 Controllers which have the same configuration you mentioned for the Z buttons on the Classic Controller for the 2 buttons on the PS2 Controller. It is just a matter of time until a 3rd party does that configuration.

P.S. Bulbasaurus Rex-san, are you new here? I did not notice you in a previous time...

TheMentalBeaver

#44

TheMentalBeaver said:

I use a GameCube to DualShock converter and use a PS2 controller. At some point I will get round to buying a wireless PS2 pad but I can make do for now.

I like the idea of a truly wireless Classic controller though.

Falco

#46

Falco said:

It looks like 3rd party junk. TheMentalBeaver why bother when the cube controller is far superior to the PS2 pad

Zyzzybalubah

#47

Zyzzybalubah said:

Or instead of wasting money on this, you could simply take your classic controller (assuming you already have one) and:
1) Move the wii remote with you and your cc and thats about as wireless as you can get.
2) Press the power button on the wii remote that the cc attaches to...
Problems solved.

P_O_E

#48

P_O_E said:

Can't Nintendo Just make classic Wi-Fi controllers, (nes & n64 etc) I know a lot of people would like to see this, instead of 3rd party, no disrespect to 3rd party but they don't always get it right, there heart's in the right place but they always screw the pooch in one way or another.

Pedro_UK

#49

Pedro_UK said:

I think I'll give this a try. Iknow the cord's not that big a deal between the CC and the Wiimote but it does get on my nerves! The sooner everything in the world is wireless, the better! BTW: has anyone used this on emus through the Homebrew channel? Does it cause any problems or conflicts, at all? P :)

Enslaven00bs

#50

Enslaven00bs said:

I don't think the foot of wire on the classic control is enough to make me buy a wireless one. I honestly don't pay that much attention to it because 9 times out of 10 I'm focused on the game. Though I have wondered why Nintendo didn't just make the classic control its own control instead of a Wii Remote attachment. My guess is money. You can't have a classic control with out it attached to a $50 Wii remote.

moosa

#51

moosa said:

"Though I have wondered why Nintendo didn't just make the classic control its own control instead of a Wii Remote attachment. My guess is money. You can't have a classic control with out it attached to a $50 Wii remote."

You're right, it is about money. You can't have a classic controller with all the features of the Wiimote built-in without paying for it.

BulaJacket

#52

BulaJacket said:

Does this Datel Wii Wireless Retro Controller work for Gamecube games?

I'm getting that it does not, but I would like to make sure.

I'm looking at this, the Nyko Wing Wireless, and the Thrustmaster Wii 2.4Ghz T-Wireless NW Gamepad, but I believe it seems that only the Thrustmaster can play GC games.

Is that correct?

Are there any others that can navigate the Wii Menu, yet at the same time play Gamecube games?

Mad_Bomber

#53

Mad_Bomber said:

I just got one. The corded classic controller really did bug me; I have to say, so I guess there is some sort of market for these things.

I like the feel of it and the grips do make it a bit more comfortable. I've tried it out with most of my games and found it works fine with Smash Bros. Brawl as well as the N64 titles I have. Problems do arise when trying to play most other VC games I own - as noted above with the curser disappearing at the save state screen. Makes this thing kind of pointless for an all-around controller since you'll have to at least have a wiimote on standby.

I still like it, though. It works fine and it frees up another wiimote/nunchuck for multi-player on Brawl.

Why Nintendo can't or won't fix the issue with the curser is a mystery to me. I guess if you have the wii-mote tethered to you like an umbilical cord it isn't much of a problem.

EDIT (12/19/2008)

After three days of use and 4 batteries I'm going to try and take it back to the retailer. It apparently devours batteries, even when turned off. I also occasionally lose the curser due to anologue stick issues. It may be that mine has an issue but I'm not taking any chances with another one unless I can't get a refund or store credit. It is a slick controller and if not for the battery drain issue and menu problem mentioned above I'd still recommend it.

Not anymore, though. Sad Face.

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