Best retro controllers in 2023

The best retro controllers; a photo of four people playing on a Switch
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The best retro controllers enable you to not simply feel the buzz of nostalgia as you use a gamepad from your childhood, such as the Sega Genesis controller, but they can also be essential for playing emulated games on PC, enhanced games on Nintendo Switch and remakes for PlayStation 5.

Some of the best retro game controllers can be Nintendo Switch retro controllers that offer replicas of gamepads for the NES, N64 and GameCube; these are perfect for playing retro games on Switch. Some of the best upcoming Switch games include retro remakes, and some of the best Nintendo Switch games include games that make use of retro controllers, such as Super Smash Bros Ultimate.

Retro controllers are also excellent for game development using PCs or Raspberry Pi, and there are some excellent PS5 retro controllers. If you own a mini retro console you may want one of the best USB retro controllers too. Read my guide to the best retro consoles for more, as well as my Sega Mega Drive Mini 2 review for news on the latest retro console.

In my guide below I've picked retro game controllers that can enhance the retro games you play, whether on a new console like Switch, a mini console, or a PC. Sadly right now there aren't any good PS5 retro controllers. Now, scroll down and see if there's a top retro controller that grabs your interest. 

Best retro controllers available now

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Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & Design

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.