5 Retro Inspired Keyboards Perfect For Old School Gaming Nerds

best retro inspired keyboards

I have gone through a wide number of keyboards over the last few years, testing many well known brands to find the perfect fit for my desk.

I found myself being drawn in by retro inspired keyboards, and they seem to be a trend recently thanks to the ever growing love for Sonic, Super Mario, Zelda, Pokemon and other classic game franchises.

I looked at my keyboard collection and found a few that I think would be a perfect fit for retro gamers who love their keyboards.

Here’s my favourite choices.

1. 8BitDo Retro Keyboard ($99)

8bitdo retro keyboard

By far, the favourite of mine which I have been using for almost a month straight is by a company called 8BitDo.

8BitDo are well known for creating gaming controllers and peripherals, but have now decided to create two stunning versions of this retro keyboard.

We have both in for review, but the Nintendo Entertainment System colour way is by far my favourite, it just screams nostalgia compared to the other Famicom version.

After using this keyboard, one of the most notable features is that its quite a lot larger compared to the other keyboards I have used in the past, and that in itself gives it a much sturdier, grippier feel to the keyboard.

It almost feels as heavy as an old school typewriter!

Inside, the Kailh Box White Switches V2 are set on an aluminium frame, giving the key press a soft, yet tactical touch and a satisfying click.

On the top of the keyboard you will notice the subtle nods to the NES alongside two twisting knobs that can change one of three connections (Bluetooth, 2.4g Wifi and cable) and the volume wheel, which i will admit, can be a little hit and miss at times with how sensitive it is.

It also comes with an oversize A/B buttons as an extra peripheral. This connects in the back and can be mapped, so if you literally want to smack control-alt-delete you can do so.

This combo certainly gets some looks in the office, that’s for sure and the best bit… it’s only $99 making it one of the most affordable on this list!

2. LoFree Block 98 Keyboard ($169)

The LoFree Block keyboard is my newest keyboard and was nicely sent out to us to review for this unbiased article.

It’s inspired by 90’s computers, taking the light and dark greys from the original keyboards, with subtle hints of modern tech.

For example, the Hermes Orange knobs (on/off and volume) are smooth, with soft clicks, and beside the enter button is a small screen that shows battery life and connectivity icons.

It’s a mechanical keyboard (for PC and Mac), so you’ll get the pleasant clicks and bouncy feedback from the TTC full POM switches, again, feeling just like the old school keyboards of the past.

It can connect via bluetooth or USB. The dongle is hidden in the back.

At the bottom you’ll find two large, orange metal legs, that click out and raise it off the desk slightly at a nice comfortable angle.

I love this retro inspired keyboard because it’s very minimal, and only fans of vintage PC’s will respect your keyboard, for the rest of the world, it will just look like junk, and that I kinda dig.

It’s very comparable to the 8BitDo Retro Keyboard in terms of size and weight, it’s a hefty one, but this offers one feature that 8BitDo does not… backlit keys!

The white glow is subtle, but welcomed. You can also change its effect to 14 different variations and patterns, alongside brightness, neat!

3. AYANEO x Nuphy Keyboard ($119)

You may have heard of AYANEO if you’re a fan or Windows handheld PC’s, they are well known for creating superb handhelds.

But they also make some awesome accessories too, one being their keyboard in collaboration with Nuphy.

Nuphy are well known in the keyboard space, they make incredibly good quality and minimal keyboards, one of them being this one!

Compared to 8BitDo and the Lofree keyboard this one is much smaller, more compact and far more portable.

In fact it’s my go to retro inspired keyboard when I go travelling for work, thanks to its slim lined nature.

The colour way on this keyboard is beautiful and takes inspiration from the original Gameboy that launched in 1989.

Keys have far less travel to them, it works on PC and Mac, comes with no back legs and oaky battery life. It’s primarily built to be paired with the AYANEO 2 and their other handhelds, it even has a AYASpace button which opens their custom OS on handhelds.

But, I have used it for many months straight thanks to it’s clean design, comfortable set of 84 keys and portable form factor.

It’s not super flashy, the only lights on it are two small RGB lines on either side that indicate if its synced and/or charging.

Overall, it’s sleek, modern and the best portable keyboard on this list.

4. Durgod Fusion Keyboard ($119)

The Durgod Fusion was one of my first retro inspired keyboards and I’ve had it ever since 2020, with it still getting some use in the office when I switch around my setup.

It’s a great medium sized mechanical keyboard with a colour way respectful of the Nintendo Entertainment System.

It can connect via bluetooth or using the hidden USB receiver under the Durgod logo, this logo is attached with magnets, so a simple press or slide will reveal the well hidden USB.

Unlike the AYANEO keyboard this has retractable legs to give it extra lift and a nostalgic clunky on/off switch at the top right that feels like it’s taken from an old 90’s retro console.

The keys have a good amount of travel on them, and when pressed release a high pitched click, unlike others on this list. The spacebar also has a similar sound/touch.

The buttons are big for a keyboard of this size and are well separated, so for those of you that like less “finger travel” this is a keyboard you may like.

Although, it is a fairly thick keyboard which makes it hard to travel with should you want both a desk and a on-the-go keyboard.

I did also notice that the legs grips are getting loose, i often find myself pushing them back into it’s plastic shell so that it doesn’t fall out… but hey, i’ve had it for 3 years, so there’s going to be some wear and tear!

As of writing this article I am seeing a wide difference in pricing. The UK Amazon store are selling them for £99 ($119) but their official website are selling them for $249. It seems like DURGOD may have stopped making them, making it harder to find them for a reasonable price outside of the UK.

5. Higround X Pokemon Mechanical Keyboard

pokemon higround keyboard

It’s not often a premium keyboard manufacturer teams up with one of the biggest names in pop culture history, but as of December 2023 it’s a thing.

Pokemon has teamed up with Higround to create a range of premium mechanical keybaords featuring well known Pokemon and Pokeball designs, alongside some awesome desk mats too.

I get hands on with the Higround Blastoise keyboard and it’s the perfect keyboard for anyone wanting to show off their love of Pokemon.

These keyboards are based on Higround’s flagship “65” keyboards which are compact, portable and feature the arrows keys too, which many keyboards have located away from the main keys, which adds more “size” to the board itself.

The keys are soft, and have warm clicky sounds with thick pads below them to soften the presses and feature high grade printing on each key so that you can see every detail of Blastoise.

This is the ultimate keyboard for Pokemon fans, and well worth a look.

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