Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer

Tales from the Retrozone

Last week a long-anticipated parcel arrived in the mail for me. Thanks to the good folks over at Retrozone, I’m now the proud owner of a USB Super RetroPort. This handy adapter allows me to plug-and-play any authentic SNES controller into my PC through a USB port. The unabashed glee this trinket has provided me may account for the derelict status of my blogging over the past week and a half. Liken it to a nostalgia bender.

This is what dreams are made of

I can’t really say enough nice things about the hardware. It excels in its simplicity. There’s a USB plug on one side and a port for a SNES controller on the other. The drivers automatically install once you plug the sucker in without any hiccups. Any failure to operate the device rests solely on the shoulders of the (possibly brain-damaged) user.

Naturally it’s the impetus of the player to acquire any desired SNES games for his or herself using an emulator and ROM files. These are obviously questionable legal waters to tread, but we’ll save that debate for another day. Instead I’ll point out that the SNES controller is extremely well rounded for any two-dimensional game, modern or retro. For sidescrollers and other reflex-dependent genres that might prove difficult to control using a keyboard, the USB Super RetroPort provides a shining alternative.

Complaints? Well, frankly, the SNES library is a lot less shining than I remember it. For every Super Mario World there is a Mario is Missing; for every Street Fighter 2 there is a Three Ninjas Kick Back; and for every Donkey Kong Country there’s a Bubsy. I suppose shovelware has been an endemic problem for Nintendo – from the SNES to the Wii – and that ten-year-old Radiostorm simply wasn’t scrupulous enough of a consumer to clue into it. In a way, it’s even a little interesting to unearth the genesis of the lame movie tie-in from an anthropological perspective.

Ah fuck no

Anyhow, I’ve got about half of Breath of Fire 2 left to hack though, so I better wrap this up. Retrozone has come out with a product that tickles me just the right way, and I highly recommend it to any 90s gaming fan. Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • A while back I bought the SNES retroport for wii/GC from retrousb, and I’ve used my SNES pad to play all sorts of retro games on a hacked wii, and Mother 3 translated on a flash cart on GBA Player. (It’s weird playing Sonic with a SNES controller!) So yeah, I understand your joy 🙂

    Looking forward to playing Unearthed with a SNES controller as well!

  • Huh, trying to post something here, but it won’t display. Something to hunt down? The BS Zelda series – Ancient Stone Tablets in particular.

      • Just text itself — I hit the Submit Comment button and the page reloads, but the post just isn’t there. I was trying to describe the BS Zelda series.

        • Hmm. I’m starting to think it’s the link I’m trying to post, so I’ll try reposting without it. If you google “BS Zelda,” the very first result should be the site – zeldalegends.

          BS Zelda is a series of official (as far as I know) installments which were streamed live from the Satellaview, a Japanese-exclusive peripheral for the Super Famicom. Programmers have very recently managed to patch together enough material to replace the missing pieces from the original ROM to make it playable again.

          The games were originally part of a competitive event and never commercially available, with the exception of one, which is Link to the Past repackaged with a different title. However, there is also a remix of the original Legend of Zelda and a quasi-sequel to Link to the Past, the latter of which I recommend.

          Due to needing patches and a little save file juggling, it’s not as easily accessible as other games, but I found Ancient Stone Tablets very rewarding and eventually plan to try BS Zelda as well.

By Mathew
Michael Iantorno PhD Candidate, Game Designer, and Writer