If the Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote had been around back in the day, then couch-coop gaming would have been very different. Don’t get me wrong, all of my mates sitting on the sofa and playing games side by side are some of the best memories of my childhood, but having your seating arrangement dictated by the length of the controller cable often led to us moving the couch forward and me getting told off when I didn’t put it back in the right place (sorry mum!). The day that I got to enjoy the Best Gamecube Games in my collection using the almighty WaveBird was a dream come true. If my 8-year-old self could have foreseen the same technology allowing me to play the Best N64 Games sat back near the fire or whipping my controller around like a gun without ripping the console out of the cabinet, then it’s safe to say that my little mind would have been blown away.
For gamers in today’s world, wireless controllers are the norm, and it’s a real chore when you realise that you’ve forgotten to charge them up halfway through an epic campaign and have to sit tethered to your console like a lifeline into the Matrix. But for the original N64 fans, this was all we knew. Now, the Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote, or the Admiral as it’s known to its friends and colleagues, will allow Nintendo fans both new and old to experience classic games such as Goldeneye, Donkey Kong 64, Ocarina Of Time, and more from the comfort of their favourite armchair in the far corner of the room. Let’s check it out!
Getting To Grips With The Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote
We’re all about first impressions when it comes to checking out ‘new retro’ hardware (that last bit made sense in our heads), and the Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote certainly does not disappoint. The original N64 controller was loved by gaming fans all over the world, but you had to develop a specific gaming style to use it. That’s a nice way of saying that some people found the button and analogue stick set up a little unconventional, but I cannot and will not be rude about the first console I ever had (it’s an unwritten rule).
The standard grip saw users placing one hand around the middle prong to control the control stick and the z-button, leaving the other hand to sweep over the A, B, C, and R buttons plus the D-pad. There was also the classic ‘SNES-like’ grip, the double left-hand grip, the octopus grip, the claw, and many other oddly named ways to hold what should have been an easy-to-fathom controller. The Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote has done away with the need for origami-hand-positions and has redesigned the N64 controller completely, putting the D-Pad and Joystick over on the left-hand side like the WaveBird and the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller.
Even though I’m bound by the unwritten rule not to say anything negative about the N64 controller, I do admit that this new set-up looks pretty nice. It’s aesthetically pleasing too, with the Start, A, and B buttons sitting in a nice line on the front of the controller-face. The rounded top-edge looks as though it will fit nicely in your hands without having to stretch your fingers too far, and the whole product looks sturdy and well-made, perfect for those rough Super Smash Bros. sessions where tempers tend to fly!
How Does The Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote Work?
As you might have guessed from the name, this controller needs other methods to work rather than the standard controller wire. The Hyperkin works via a Bluetooth connection, which also means that it can double up as a PC controller when you’ve learnt how to install ROMs and want to play your favourite games online. But what’s that strange box that is plugged into the controller port on the picture above? It may look a lot bigger than the sensor for the WaveBird, but it’s essentially the same thing. This is the hub that connects everything to your N64, and also the area where you can install your memory card to pull up old save files for third party games such as Goeman Mystical Ninja and Gex: Enter The Gecko.
The original N64 Controller had a section on the back where you could stick the memory card and Rumble Pak in, altering the weight of the controller slightly in the process. The Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote keeps things simple and leaves the dongle (or the ‘home-hub’ as I’m now referring to it as) to do all of the hard work. They have also included an option for saving your game progress to a micro SD card which is pretty neat!
Throw Us Some Stats!
Ok, so what can the Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote do? Well for starters, it comes in the classic Grey colour that the very first N64 consoles launched with, another sign that Hyperkin are paying homage to both the original controller and the WaveBird. This remote is also compatible with all of the N64 consoles that we’ve seen over the years and, as aforementioned, will work with your PC, Mac, and mobile devices thanks to the Bluetooth connection. The neat little home-hub docking station can provide you with up to 30ft wireless connection in your home; now you don’t need to worry about dropping your controller when you run around the sofa doing your victory dance.
The controller itself comes with a built-in lithium-ion battery, so it already beats the WaveBird and the need to have a constant supply of AA batteries on the go to keep gameplay going. A single charge lasts 6 hours and can be recharged from any USB charge device or wall plug using the included Micro USB Cable. All in all, we’re pretty impressed, but we’re about to throw a spanner into the works that might make some purists feel a little hard done by.
While the home-hub dongle can back up, open, and transfer both old and new save data, you won’t be able to open up your Lylat Wars box and dust off your Rumble Pak to enhance your sessions. The Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote has no built-in rumble feature, nor does it have the ability to plug one in like the N64 remote of old. The Rumble Pak was mostly an added bonus feature that didn’t add much to gameplay except…well…a rumble, but it was a nice bit of kit and made games like Super Smash Bros. even more epic. We’re so used to having a built-in rumble in our controllers these days that this might come as a surprise, but I know that I can still enjoy playing Zelda, Mario Kart, Donkey Kong and more without it.
I’m always going to be biased when it comes to Nintendo products…unless they’re really terribly bad and I’m forced to break my unwritten rule, of course. The Admiral Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote has all of the benefits of the WaveBird (minus the rumble) on a console that never thought it had the capability to make a home for a wireless controller. This is why I love the retro gaming community so much; instead of leaving these consoles to be left on the shelf gathering dust while new Playstations and Xbox consoles take over the market, developers and classic gaming fans alike are constantly upgrading their favourite rigs. Did the N64 need a wireless controller? No, probably not, but it’s so freaking cool that there is one!
The Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote will set you back $39.99 (around £31.00) which is nothing if you play your N64 on a regular basis. It would even be worth getting four for when your mates come round for the next game night! There aren’t any in stock on the Hyperkin website right now, but orders are being taken for release on December 5th 2019. Head over now to find out more!
What are your thoughts on the Hyperkin Wireless N64 Remote? Will you be buying one for your own retro adventures, or will you be sticking true to the original controller and that world-famous Rumble Pak? Join the conversation over on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
More Content From The Retro Dodo Team!