Controller Recommendations for N64 Games

I had trouble getting the latest retrobit tribute series N64 controller to configure properly in Retroarch. I returned it to the vendor today, but was wondering if there is any controller remotely capable of being easily configured in retroarch that has the same or similar type of buttons and directional pads as the N64. I’m wide open to suggestions and success stories.

This isn’t the answer you’re looking for, but standard Playstation and Xbox controllers with the default mapping are actually really great once you get used to them. The mapping is based on the Wii VC’s mapping for Classic Controllers.

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Oh that’s perfectly fine actually. If they do everything that the N64 ones do and can be easily configured particularly at the port binds menu then we’re good here.

Any particular make or model you’d recommend?

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If you’re using Windows, I would recommend an official Microsoft pad, as they’re well-constructed and are automatically detected without any additional software. Sony’s pads need DS4Windows or Steam to convert their inputs to xinput-friendly signals.

I’m using Mac. Any suggestions there?

oh, hmm. I’m not really sure there, unfortunately.

But how do you deal with games like Killer Instinct Gold where C-buttons act as “real” buttons, as opposed to Mario 64 for instance where the C-buttons move the camera, so they can be mapped to the right stick (which is the default configuration) ? i mean, using the right analog stick for punch or kick is not really ideal…

In ParaLLEl-N64, at least, it has some hardcoded exceptions for certain games like KI:G, but I’m not a huge fan of those exceptions. You can always use the ‘independent c-button mode’ to put them all on digitals and save a game options file and game-specific remap as needed.

Hmm, I tried KI:G in Parallel, and the punches and kicks are still mapped to the right stick of my XBox One controller…

Ok- for people who have the legal right to run N64 ROMS on Retroarch, this set up may work on a 64Bit Windows 10 system running RetroArch 1.8.9

Launch Retroarch with a USB N64 controller plugged into the PC.

  1. Set core to “Mupen64Plus-Next”
  2. Go to Settings->Input->Port 1 Controls

What I have here:

(if you hit “reset to default controls” you will get these settings; sometimes the system changes them for reasons I don’t yet understand)

Device Type: RetroPad Analog toDigital Type: None Device Index: USB Joystick Reset to Default COntrols (nothing to enter here) Save Controller Profile (nothing to enter here) Mouse Index: 0 B Button (Down): Auto: 6, (N/A), (Key: z) Y Button: (Left): Auto: 8, (N/A), (Key: a) Select Button: Auto: 8, (N/A), (Key: rshift) Start Button: Auto: 9, (N/A), (Key: enter) D-Pad Up: Auto: Hat #0 up (N/A), (Key: up) D-Pad Down: Auto: Hat #0 down (N/A), (Key: down) D-Pad Left: Auto: Hat #0 left (N/A), (Key: left) D-Pad Right: Auto: Hat #0 right (N/A), (Key: right) A Button (Right): Auto: 1, (N/A), (Key: x) X Button (Top): Auto: 0, (N/A), (Key: s) L Button (Shoulder): Auto: 4, (N/A), (Key: q) R Button (Shoulder): Auto: 5, (N/A), (Key: w) L2 Button (Trigger): Auto:: 7 (N/A) R2 Button (Trigger): Auto: 7 (N/A) L3 Button (Thumb): — R3 Button (Thumb): — Left Analog X+ (Right): Auto: +0 (N/A) Left Analog X- (Left): Auto: -0 (N/A) Left Analog Y+ (Down): Auto: +1 (N/A) Left Analog X- (Up): Auto: -1 (N/A) Right Analog X+ (Right): Auto: 1 (N/A) Right Analog X- (Left): Auto: 3 (N/A) Right Analog Y+ (Down): Auto: 2 (N/A) Right Analog X- (Up): Auto: 0 (N/A) {everything else on the list is blank.}

Ok- once that is all set (and again, I can get this from just clicking “Restore Default Controls” at the top of the screen")

  1. Launch a game. (I launched Mario 64 for this write up)

  2. When the game is Launched, go to the in-game menu (ie, hit F1)

  3. Scroll down to “controls” and click “controls” 6 Scroll down to "Port 1 Controls and open that.

Here are my settings there: Device Type: COntroller Analog to Digitial Type: None Auto: 6 (N/A), (key z) A Button (C3) Auto: 8 (N/A), (Key: a) B Button (C2) Auto: 8 (N/A), (Key: rshift) — Auto: 9 (N/A), (Key: enter) Start Auto: Hat #0 up (N/A), (Key: up) D-Pad Up Auto: Hat #0 down (N/A), (Key: down) D-Pad Down Auto: Hat #0 left (N/A), (Key: left) D-Pad Left Auto: Hat #0 right (N/A), (Key: right) D-Pad Right Auto: 1 (N/A), (Key: x) (C1) Auto: 0 (N/A), (Key: s) (C4) Auto: 4 (N/A), (Key: q) L Shoulder Auto: 5 (N/A), (Key: w) R Shoulder Auto: 7 (N/A) Z-Trigger Auto: 7 (N/A) C Buttons Mode L3 Button (Thumb): — R3 Button (Thumb): — Auto: +0 (N/A) Control Stick X + Auto: -0 (N/A) Control Stick X - Auto: +1 (N/A) Control Stick Y + Auto: -1 (N/A) Control Stick Y - Auto: 1 (N/A) C Buttons X + Auto: 3 (N/A) C Buttons X - Auto: 2 (N/A) C Buttons Y+ Auto: 0 (N/A) C Buttons Y-

That should work. Good luck.



Ah, wish you chimed in before I sent my N64 controller back. Well, maybe someone else with problems like mine can try and write if it worked. (fingers crossed)

Oh well. You can always grab another controller if you want to try it again. :slight_smile:


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I have found this controller to be perfect for N64. Speaking in N64 controller language, it has 6 face buttons for A, B, and C1-4. It has L and R, 2 Z triggers, a Dpad, and an Analogue stick.

That’s just one variant, outside of color there are 2 different D-pads you’ll run into. One is a “dish” style and the other more like a D-pad.

Cool. Was it easy to configure in Retroarch though? No problems getting the directional pads distinguished, or C and Z triggers set logically in the port bands? As well as A and B and start?

David, as follow up quesiton which type of controller (make and model) were you using to get your setup to work?

Its a generic USB clone controller someone could pick up from BestBuy, Amazon or NewEgg online. I think it was about $24 or so. I just looked at it; it does not have any specific logos on it. It has the plastic molder for where the rumble pack would go, but there is no actual metal connector inside for an N64 rumble pack to actually connect. Oh well. :slight_smile:


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Ok, so I repurchased the Retrobit N64 tribute controller and I was able to get it configured properly. I played the first stage of Star Wars Shadows of the Empire exactly how its supposed to be played with the original controller configuration.

Some problems still persist:

  1. The up-most yellow arrow button on the controller for some reason defaults to pause no matter what I do.

  2. I can’t seem to purge the droid prompts featured at the beginning of level 2 that would allow me to begin the stage. I’m not sure if this is because I don’t have ‘start’ configured correctly or something else. Maybe its a bad ROM?

Anyone encounter these problems?

Actually, I just realized that if I use enter on the keyboard I can purge those prompts as it can act as the games start button as it would on the N64. Aside from this, the controller works mostly as it should in level 2 and 3. Its still a little quirky, and its odd that you can’t use the start button the way you should (it defaults to the F1 command) and that the yellow buttons are a little off as well in regards to what you can configure them as but at least rest works alright.

I just bought the Retrobit N64 controller today, and managed to get it working like a real N64 controller in Retroarch (Parallel64 core).

First, there was no autoconfiguration of the inputs of the controller in Retroarch, so I mapped each input manually, using the second picture on this page ("Mupen64plus) :

The trick was to map the C-Button “down” to both “A” and “right analog down”, and the C-button “left” to both “X” and “right analog left”. Save the configuration, relaunch Retroarch, launch Parallel64 and use the “Independent C-button mode”, and voilà ! Now and can use the C-buttons as actual kick and punch buttons in Killer Instinct Gold, like on a real N64 controller.

I realized that I also had to change some mapping in the core button mapping settings too, because I had some weird results like R trigger being also mapped to a Z button, stuff like that.