If you could hop into a time machine and fly back to the early '90s and tell a young gamer that one day, Nintendo would make a piece of Sega hardware, they'd probably spit out their sugary Sunny D and laugh in your face. "Sega and Nintendo are mortal enemies," they would retort; "what planet on you from, poindexter?" (Or words to that effect, at least).
However, despite the '90s being the 'in' decade right now, we no longer occupy that particular time; today, these two Japanese companies are on much better terms, so much so that – yes – we do now have a piece of Sega consumer hardware produced by Nintendo.
With the release of Mega Drive / Genesis games on the Nintendo Switch Online service, subscribers have been offered the chance to purchase a wireless controller based on the original that came with the console all those years ago. Western players have the larger, 3-button pad, while in Japan you can purchase the smaller 6-button variant (known there as 'Fighting Pad 6B'), which was released to coincide with the Sega port of Street Fighter II. That's the pad we're looking at here, and boy is it adorable.
While it's based on the original 6-button pad, it's actually a touch smaller than the one we got in the west and is the same size as the Japanese variant of the controller (which also shipped with the Japanese version of the Mega Drive Mini). It has a fantastic rolling D-pad, six very responsive face buttons and a 'Start' button in the middle of the pad. The 'Mode' button – used on the original controller to overcome issues with games that didn't play nice with the 6-button setup – is used here to access the NSO 'Suspend' menu as well as rewind the current game. There's also a 'Home' button and a screenshot button, as well as a USB-C charging port. On the bottom, you'll find the bank of LEDs which indicates which player you are, as well as a sync button.
The dinky dimensions of the pad might cause some issues for people blessed with large hands, but ultimately this is the ideal way to experience these games – although it's worth noting that, at this stage, none of the Mega Drive / Genesis games available on the Nintendo Switch Online service support all six buttons. We'd imagine that will change in the future, but right now, the main reason to pick one of these up is to take advantage of the superior D-pad and (arguably) more ergonomic design.
However, unless you know someone from Japan who can buy one for you, then you're stuck with eBay or the 3-button version, which you can order below.
Please note that some external links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you click them and make a purchase we may receive a small percentage of the sale. Please read our FTC Disclosure for more information.
Massive, massive thanks to Lowell Bell for sourcing one of these controllers for us.
I personally love the western pad as much as the Japanese one. I have both for my Megadrive and they both perform just as well as long as they’re not hammered/overused.
I’m so tired of them giving the west the 3 button pad. It was updated for a reason. That 3 button pad sucks
The rolling D-Pad on the Mega Drive and Saturn controllers is fantastic. I'll never understand why modern controllers don't use it.
I just don’t really see why we’re getting the 3 button and not the 6 button pad.
Article about how good the 6-button pad is, complete with affiliate links for the 3-button pad :facepalm:
@nessisonett "at this stage, none of the Mega Drive / Genesis games available on the Nintendo Switch Online service support all six buttons" probably that?
I'm fine with the three button because that is what I used 99% of the time back in the day. I do have a M30 for any future releases that need extra buttons.
I'd be surprised if a single game that uses the 6 buttons pad ever comes to this service to be honest.
What an amazing pad along with the Snes and Saturn ones:)
I don't get why it's bad, it looks pretty good.
Prices start at around £75 on eBay. As much as I’d love to own one, this will remain a dream until Nintendo drop the nostalgia-fuelled BS and offer us the superior offering.
I always wondered how the Xbox 360 could have essentially the same style for its d-pad as the ones Sega used on the MD and Saturn, and yet it was utterly awful for everything other than switching weapons in Gears.
I’d definitely like to get one of these 6-button MD pads as I prefer the shape to the original MD controller, but I’ll definitely be waiting until there are more games on the service to justify the price.
@Big_Fudge I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised if Comix Zone got a release. Same with Eternal Champions (which I think could use the 6 button controller).
The 6 button pad is a wonderful controller. With this pad, Street Fighter II’ Special Champion Edition becomes the most authentic port of the arcade originals on a 16-bit home console of that era.
@malcire Yea I can see Comix Zone coming but you don't really need it, and I can't imagine anyone wanting to pay £40 just to use it with eternal champions should they bring that over
@CactusMan you just put it on your lap or something. Fightpads aren't that uncommon. Playing a fighting game using shoulder buttons is awful
Hey now, I spent a good part of my childhood with this 6-button layout! And some of it, playing Mega Drive games on a controller that looked like this:
How's that for "Eldritch horror"?😜
The Retro-bit 6 wireless button controller is great here in the US! I use it to play Genesis games on my Switch with Retroarch. 😁
Comix Zone absolutely demands the 6 button controller!
Other wise you have to pause the action constantly.
@nhSnork Burn it with fire!
I’d have bought two if we’d got the 6 button version.
N64 came in stock briefly today but I just missed out.
Hey Damo, or should I say Damiand McFerrand. That guy Ronald is blatantly copying all of NL's articles. Some eagle eyed NL reader (Alpachino) spotted him copying the Death's Door review, and he hasn't stopped since.
I got one! Waiting for the delivery (probably today) and hopping it works beautifully with the other Mega Drive Collection.
literally the first time ive ever heard this argumentation in 30 years. using the L button for strong punch is garbage.
that being said, one of the saturn style pads available for switch has 6 face and shoulder buttons and everyone should just get one of those instead of the 3 or 6 button MD cons.
Get a 8bitdo M30 instead, it should do just as good of a job, is much cheaper, works with the Switch AND other devices out-of-the-box, and is available worldwide.
I'll always prefer the fat, 3-button controller, even if it made certain games a chore to play.
@RudyC3 Can attest to this. With some remapping of the buttons, it's indistinguishable from a real Sega controller (D-Pad is AMAZING). Best third-party controller I've ever purchased.
@noobish_hat Also wondered this. The text of the article seems disconnected from the headline.
Loved the Saturn pad, which comes with additional clicky L and R buttons making it the best non-analogue controller ever! The 6 button Genesis pad and SNES pads are close runner-ups.
@nessisonett From what I'm aware of, there's only a tiny fraction of MegaDrive games that have 6 button support, so unless they start putting up Virtua Racing or Super Street Fighter on the Mega Drive NSO app, there will be issues. But right now, even in Japan, the games on there don't have 6 button support, meaning there's no reason to press them in games. The only real reason to have them is if you want a 6 (face) button pad for fighting games, RetroBit already sells a 6 button Sega Licenced MegaDrive and Saturn controller if you need a controller for fighting games, otherwise, there's always sticks. Not to mention that RetroBit announced that they're going to release a 6 button MegaDrive controller that has the form factor of the original 3 button controller if you ever thought that the 6 button controllers (be it Japanese or western) is a little too small.
@Big_Fudge if they brought over the SG Mortal Kombats perhaps?
@nessisonett Me either. Perhaps later on we will?
@Dudikowski You should email it to NL or tag @Damo about it.
The site in question uses an active feature of wordpress / similar hosts that allow you to directly copy a news post. It's meant to be a way for smaller places to get the word out more for things more important than gaming and such. It's a stupid mechanic and always open to abuse.
@Tempestryke in the unlikely event MK comes to the service it'd probably be the SNES version as it doesn't have blood and I assume they'd probably have to pay sega something for that version as well as whoever owns it.
@Dudikowski Sadly there isn't much we can do about these sites, and we're aware of this particular one. Thanks for keeping an eye out, though!
@Ralizah @noobish_hat It's a light hearted way of addressing the fact that Nintendo now makes Sega hardware, which, in the '90s, would have been utterly unthinkable and unnatural (which is what eldritch means).
@Big_Fudge We know who owns it, and the blood and gore is no longer a problem considering we have the likes of No More Heroes series, Mortal Kombat 11, Resident Evil games and Bioshock trilogy on the Switch. They just need a rating warning and they're kosher. Could sell them separately, or as a collection too. Don't hafta be on the crappy NSO.
Megadrive pads were awful. The d-pads were too high making any game feel a little loose to control and the buttons were spongy. Still, it had some great games and that's all that matters to me (a gamer never blames the pad O.<) But I guess I am cursed with small hands...hmpf I say!
@Tempestryke None of the titles are NSO titles. Parents would have to buy them for their kids. There's not really anything that's not child friendly on there
@RudyC3 seconded, M30 is a great pad
I’m only 2 sentences into this article but I highly appreciate that you specified “sugary Sunny D” I had it recently as a nostalgia trip and it’s full of artificial sweetener now and it’s nasty.
Be much better off with one of the Retrobit controllers. I’ve got the Saturn one and it’s great.
If the controller is noticeably different, then I get both the NA and Japanese versions of NSO controllers (so I just didn’t order the N64 one from Japan)
A friend ordered this controller and I’m just waiting for it to arrive. (Currently with Covid regulations, he can’t send anything to Canada, but he was able to send it to my sister in the US)
I plan to take a photo of all of my NSO controllers once I get it.
I have the 8bitdo DIY Bluetooth mod kit for the 6 button. It’s mega great
@Big_Fudge Don't get me wrong. I stil don't think the expansion pass itself is worth the money. So I don’t think any of this is worth the price of admission, let alone a limited function controller.
@Damo It could be that the memory has become exaggerated a bit, but I seem to recall seeing some pretty graphically violent fan art of Sonic and Mario in Sonic the Comic back in the day. If not the UK version, I might've seen it in an issue belonging to an American cousin, but either way...seems crazy now, printing stuff like that in a magazine for kids.
The console wars were REAL, man...
@RainbowGazelle First version of the sega saturn pad is my favorite ever.
It's a shame more people aren't aware that Sega actually made a much better 6-button wireless (!) controller for the Mega Drive, with the shape and size similar to the 3-button pad, late in the console's life. It is honestly one of the best controllers of all time, on par with and in fact pretty similar to the Saturn's standard controller. If only they'd use that design instead of the tiny banana.
Tap here to load 46 comments
Leave A Comment
Hold on there, you need to login to post a comment...