RetroUSB USB Super Nintendo (SNES) Controller

I just barely got into MAME stuff; my wife wanted me to pick up an old SNES to play some old-school games on and someone suggested snes9x instead. After giving it a shot, we decided we really liked it and wanted to get some real controllers for our Intel Macs. After some research I found the following two options:

1. Lik Sang Super Smartjoy USB adapter
2. RetroUSB USB SNES controller

Both had their pros and cons. For staters, the Lik Sang adapter is over $10 cheaper than the RetroUSB controller. RetroUSB charges $32 per controller, which is pretty hefty considering it's just a controller with a USB plug and you can buy a whole SNES system complete with a games from eBay for that price. The Lik Sang adapter also enables you to use any SNES controller, which means that you can simply buy another controller for cheap after the controller you're using wears out over time from normal use.

The downside with the Lik Sang adapter is that it's somewhat bulky. It's not huge, but I have a MacBook laptop and I wanted a controller than I could simply wind up and toss in my bag for airplane rides, subway trips, and so on. Having to carry a USB adapter PLUS a controller seemed like a bit of a hassle, one that I would be willing to pay an extra $13 or so to avoid.

Setup was a piece of cake; I plugged it in and it works. Yay for OS X! I setup the buttons in snes9x in the controllers preference menu (props to whoever designed the system; I couldn't think of a better way to program in buttons) and away I went. Mario, Mortal Kombat, everything worked just peachy. I bought 2 controllers so that I could play games with my wife; they worked great together. It was fun taking turns on Super Mario 3; reminds me of my childhood smile

I found that the controllers worked best when plugged directly into the USB ports on the computer itself. I ran it through my wife's Belkin USB hub (powered from A/C) initially and, while usable, it was somewhat laggy. There is a slightly noticeable delay introduced when used through a USB hub. This can present a small problem depending on what kind of Mac you're using. My wife's iMac only has 3 USB ports, so we had to plug everything else into the hub in order to run the two USB controllers directly from the computer. My MacBook only has 2 USB ports, so I can't really use anything else if I want to play 2-player games on it. This may not be true for all USB hubs, but we had lag with ours so we use them directly plugged in only now.

-Stock look; very clean job
-Works really well with all snes9x games I tested
-Compact size (no adapter required!)
-"Just works" with OS X

-Gets laggy (slow response) when used with a USB hub (I tested it with a powered hub)
-Expensive to replace when the controller wears out ($32 each)
-Pricey compared to Lik Sang's solution ($32 vs. $19)

If you want a cheap solution, don't mind having a second adapter in addition to the controller itself, and would like to replace the controller when it breaks, then the Lik Sang solution is probably your best bet.

If you want a no-hassle USB SNES controller than you can take with you wherever you go, the RetroUSB controller is a great option. It's more expensive, but it's really nice because it's compact and easy to use - no adapters, nothing extra to carry around, just plug in the controller and play. My bottom line? Pricey but worth the investment - they work as advertised, look great, and work great. Lots of fun smile