Nintendo has gone and made the most desirable piece of gaming equipment known to man. We can get a pair of wireless NES controllers in one box for use with the Nintendo Switch and its various classic games as part of the Nintendo Switch Online Service.

There's just one problem: it's not quite as simple as walking into your local GameStop and picking up a pair. Nintendo makes you jump through a couple of small hoops to buy one, but we're here to show you exactly what you need to do.

How to buy the new NES controllers

The big catch to buying the NES controllers is that you need to be a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber to do so. There are a few guesses as to why, but the likeliest explanation is that the controllers are meant to be used with classic NES games, which you only get access to if you subscribe to the Nintendo Switch Online service. That also makes it a convenient bargaining chip for Nintendo in their attempts to get you to sign up, so it serves double duty as a marketing tool for them.

Beyond the cost of a subscription — which, at a minimum, will run you $3.99 per month, but you can pay $20 for the year to save money — you'll need to shell out $60 to own a pair. Reservations about value aside, that's the asking price. Seeing as that's the first thing you need to do, though, there are three ways to go about it:

  • Purchase a subscription at Nintendo.com.
  • Buy a prepaid subscription card from Amazon.
  • Sign up directly in the eShop on your Nintendo Switch.

How to sign up for Nintendo Switch Online

For the purposes of this article, we'll assume you're going through Nintendo.com. Here's how to subscribe:

  1. Head to Nintendo.com and sign in with your Nintendo account details.
  2. On the Switch Online landing page, click the "Sign up now" button.
  3. Select your subscription length and type. You can choose 1 month, 3 months, or 12 months on an individual membership, or 12 months for a family membership. After you've decided which type of membership you want, click the red "Purchase" button.
  4. You may be prompted to re-enter your password. Do so now and press "OK."
  5. Next, select your payment method. You can input a new credit card, pay through PayPal, or use funds which have already been loaded into your Nintendo account.
  6. You should now see your final total. If everything looks good, click "Proceed to purchase."
  7. On the next page, you'll see the total listed before, your payment method, and any other information relevant to the purchase. If all looks good, press the "Purchase" button.

It's worth noting that you are agreeing to an automatic renewal at your specified intervals when purchasing the membership through Nintendo. If you don't want this, be sure to head into your account details and cancel the automatic renewal option.

We should also inform you that this will effectively tie a default payment method to your Nintendo account. If you're going to do it then be sure you have proper parental controls in place if you have a child who will be using the Switch.

Alternatively, you can purchase a prepaid subscription card from Amazon if you aren't comfortable using a digital payment method.

$8 at Amazon

How to buy your NES Wireless Controllers

Once you have your subscription, you can order your controllers. Here's how to do it:

  1. Go to the landing page for NES controllers at Nintendo.com.
  2. Click "Login to Purchase". Sign into your Nintendo account if necessary.
  3. You should now see a red "Purchase now button". Click it.

  4. Enter your shipping and billing addresses, and then click "Continue to Payment".
  5. Now, enter your payment details. It's worth noting that you can only use a VISA or MasterCard here. Double check the total, too: it'll be a bit more than the listed retail cost to account for shipping and tax.
  6. Once done, click the "Pre-purchase" button. You'll see a confirmation page and your pre-order will be locked in.

Note that you can only buy one set of controllers per subscription, a limitation likely put in place to help preserve stock. One last caveat: you won't be able to buy the controllers if you spring for the trial membership, so the only way to snag them is to pony up at least an extra $4.

Get excited!

Are you planning to buy the NES controllers to play NES Nintendo Switch Online games? Do you already have them? Tell us what you think about them in the comments below.

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