REVIEW: Messiah Wireless Nintendo NES controllers
[You're about to read our first ever product review. Rest assured that these hands-on tests are completely unpaid and independent - the views expressed are entirely our own. Enjoy! -James]
Lots of today's avid video game players began their careers with the groundbreaking Nintendo NES. Not only was it a quantum leap in home video game technology, but it helped rescucitate video games after the industry crashed in 1983. The NES was long-lived, lasting into the 90's, but who would think that there would still be a company developing new products for the classic 8 bit system twenty years later? Messiah is an American company that has probably gone the farthest to bring NES classics back in a big way.
NES had wireless controllers back in the 80's, but their range was rather limited, and you needed to maintain line of sight during your game - difficult during an intense session of Rad Racer. Messiah's wireless controllers have no such limitations; they use the same 2.4 GHz RF tech as a good cordless phone.
The Messiah controllers had me beaming with a new hope - could these controllers empower even a sucky player like me? Would I wage a wireless war on all those classic 8 bit games that kicked my butt so many years ago? Here's our hands-on review.
Open the cool custom lunchbox case to reveal the fitted insert cradling a pair of controllers and the receivers that plug into any NES system. If you're using Messiah's "Generation NEX" NES clone to relive your favorite games, the receiver for the controllers is built into the console. You also get a comic book style instruction book, a Messiah dog tag - even all the batteries you'll need to get started.
Back in the day, I was never much of an NES player. I was more of an Atari man and the little NES controllers were hard for me to use. It's a completely different story with the Messiah controllers. They are a bit larger, sculpted to fit securely in the hand (even gorilla-sized hands like mine), and the responsive buttons fall naturally under the thumb (there are even shoulder A & B buttons if you prefer). The controllers have an interesting upgrade from a standard D-pad; a rubberized sliding thumb disc allowing for quick and smooth changes in direction through 360 degrees.
Expanding on the original NES controller, the Messiah includes buttons for "slow motion" & "turbo" for both slowing down the tough bits, and scattergunning the big bads as the need arises. The styling of the controllers carries the vibe of the original NES, and the build quality feels like a first-party product. Okay, the aesthetics are great, but what happens when you plug the controllers in?
Through it may seem bizarre, these wireless controllers vastly improved my game. I want to think that the responsive nature of the Messiah controller was a good match for my puma-like reflexes, but the truth probably is that my spastic gameplay of the past meant that I used to knock everything over with the wired controllers. The freedom of going wireless means that I can writhe and contort as much as my "style" of gameplay requires.
Messiah's controllers are truly plug & play - nothing to configure or tweak (except chosing the channel that the controller transmits on if you have multiple wireless players). Pop in the included AAA's (good batteries will power about 40 hours of gameplay), plug in the receivers, and rev up your game from up to 30 feet away.
I admire Messiah going the extra mile to make this kit as complete and well thought out as it is. Gamers are passionate about the details, and from the attention to every aspect of the controllers I'm guessing that Messiah are gamers themselves. It's good to have a product that delivers on its promises, and puts it all in one box. Messiah deserves credit for bringing modern development techniques to the venerable NES. The lunchbox is a limited edition item, but there are still some individually numbered units left at various dealers.
You can either hook these
up to a classic NES, or you can also pick up Messiah's updated
Generation NEX clone that we will be reviewing very soon.
value: a bit pricey, but good bang for the buck
design: very, very smart
"no damn way" factor: pretty damn high
in a word: awesome!