Best third-party N64 controllers for Nintendo Switch in 2023
Get the N64 experience with your Nintendo Switch thanks to these fun controllers!
The Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack has brought some of the very best N64 games to Nintendo Switch. However, playing those retro titles using Joy-Cons or a normal Switch controller feels strange. The official N64 controller is the best way to play, but there's a shortage of stock. So, if you want to play those games more easily, you'll want to nab a third-party N64 controller for Switch.
Get your old-school gaming on with these N64 controllers
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While sporting more of a GameCube controller design, this gamepad does have the button layout and C-button input to allow you to easily play N64 games on Switch. It pairs via Bluetooth and has a design that feels great in your hands. You can get it in black or blue.
This sweet N64 controller works with the original console but includes an adapter that will help you plug it into your Nintendo Switch. Just make sure to follow the company's directions to update its firmware. It has a great wireless design and feels good in your hands while still giving you all the buttons you need.
Corded USB controller
This gamepad has the same exact layout as the N64 controller, but features a USB you can connect to your Switch dock for wired play. Just note that it does not feature the ZR button or the Home screen button which makes interacting with the Switch much easier.
Now obviously, this is a GameCube-style controller and not an N64 one. However, it has a layout more akin to the N64 controller, so it will be easier to use while playing your favorite N64 games. It comes in this red Mario theme or a black and gold Zelda one, and it works wirelessly on Nintendo Switch.
C Button Joystick
With its D-Pad and dedicated C-button joystick, this knockoff controller is more in line with an N64 controller than the normal Joy-Cons. They also include motion controls, rumble, and can be charged using a USB to USB-C cable.
Time to adapt
Already have an original N64 controller lying around? This adapter lets you connect up to two N64 controllers to your Switch. Just plug the USB side into your Switch Dock, plug the N64 cables into the adapter, and you're good to go.
Retro-Bit takes the design of the original N64 controller and brings it more in line with modern gamepad designs. This works explicitly with the original N64 console, so you will need an adapter in order to get it to work on Switch.
The affordable knock-off alternative
With its constantly low stock and expensive price, many fans aren't sure if the official N64 controller for Switch is worth it, even if it allows them to play classic games the way they were meant to be played. Fortunately, there are a few third-party options on the market that work with Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack as well.
I highly recommend getting the Retro Fighters Brawler64 USB Wireless Edition. It's a wireless controller that works with the original N64 console but also comes with an adapter that allows it to work on the Nintendo Switch. It has all the buttons you need to play your favorite N64 games but the layout is more manageable and feels good in your hands.
If you already have an N64 controller lying around, I suggest grabbing the Mayflash N64 Controller Adapter. You and a friend can play through your favorite N64 games with the controller they were made for.
Of course, not everyone wants to play with an N64 controller, and for those folks, we also have a guide to the best Nintendo Switch controllers in general. No matter which controller, you choose, it'll be a blast to play some of the very best Nintendo Switch games on them.
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Gaming aficionado Rebecca Spear is iMore's dedicated gaming editor with a focus on Nintendo Switch and iOS gaming. You’ll never catch her without her Switch or her iPad Air handy. If you’ve got a question about Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, or just about any other Nintendo series check out her guides to help you out. Rebecca has written thousands of articles in the last six years including hundreds of extensive gaming guides, previews, and reviews for both Switch and Apple Arcade. She also loves checking out new gaming accessories like iPhone controllers and has her ear to the ground when it comes to covering the next big trend.