Why it matters: 8BitDo's new mod kits are a fool-proof solution for purists looking to retain the retro look of classic gamepads. We can't speak on whether or not modded controllers will retain their exact same feel as you are replacing internal hardware but in terms of pure aesthetics, well, you can't beat original equipment.
Third-party video game hardware specialist 8BitDo has a solid reputation for turning out quality retro-themed game controllers. Due to copyright concerns, however, the company can’t offer exact carbon copies of classic controllers… but it apparently can let you modify the hardware you already own to add wireless capabilities.
8BitDo’s new mod kits, now available for the NES, SNES, the Sega Mega Drive (the Genesis), the NES Classic and the SNES Classic, require no real technical skill. Simply unscrew your original controller, open the casing, remove the original PCB and replace it with the board in the kit. Put it all back together and now, your original wired controller is a wireless, rechargeable Bluetooth controller.
The hole where the cable once entered the controller is now where you’ll plug in the charging cable. It also has an LED indicator that provides a visual reference for things like active connections and battery levels.
Once modded, your new wireless controller should work with any device that natively supports Bluetooth controllers including the Nintendo Switch, Windows PCs, Macs and Raspberry Pi-based projects. Note that you’ll need a Bluetooth receiver to use the controllers with platforms that don’t offer native wireless connectivity.
8BitDo’s mod kits are available as of writing for $19.99 each and come with everything you need to get up and running, including a screwdriver.