Peripheral Vision: Turbo Touch 360 for the NES
Its no secret that the good old days of gaming were used extensively as a guinea pig for many strange, unique and down right useless peripherals. Many companies threw outrageous products onto store shelves in hopes it would catch on and become part of the video game craze. Today I will be taking a look at possibly one of the most unique controllers that came out of the vintage gaming era, the Turbo Touch 360 for the NES.
At first glance many gamers will notice its Sega Genesis controller shape. Turbo Touch controllers were available for the NES, SNES and the Sega Genesis, with only the color and button configuration changing between them. Shortly after they will undoubtedly notice the fact that there is absolutely no D-pad, but don’t let that scare you quite yet.
I picked up a Turbo Touch 360 a while back and featured it in Sam’s Scores. At that time I only had one complaint, which was that they only made them in the Sega Genesis shape. Well after playing with it for a while I came up with an additional complaint; if you need to hold down B to run and press A to jump, the A button often times becomes stuck. More recently I acquired yet another so I figured I would give it a once over to make sure everything worked, yet again the exact same problem plagued this controller as well, so I assume this is just inherent all NES versions.
When I got my first NES I started with a stock rectangle controller, graduating to a 3rd party controller shaped more like the Famicom controllers (rounded edges) with built in turbo buttons, since then I’ve adopted the NES Dog bone as my favorite NES controller. All that being said, the point here is to say all those controllers are tiny compared to the behemoth that is the Turbo Touch 360.
The Turbo Touch 360 has built in turbo buttons that work quite well, but since the A and B buttons are significantly larger I sometimes find it difficult to transition back and forth between them. This may just be a slight issue, but it may also be compounded by the fact my mind is telling me that I’m playing NES games with a Genesis controller.
Now we get to the most unique part of the Turbo Touch 360, as well as the feature that gave the controllers their name. As you can plainly see there is no D-pad, at least not the design we’re familiar with, rather there is a small plastic disc with a sort of braille built in to let you know what to expect as you move your thumb around the octagonal hole. It may take a little while to get used to but it is quite easy to use.
For lack of a better name I’ll be calling it a D-pad from here on, and in terms of D-pads the Turbo Touch 360 is no less accurate than any other third party controller I’ve ever owned. Super Mario Bros. is a great test for new controllers as you can quickly and readily use any of the buttons on the controller at any given time. In doing so this style of D-pad made me jump into holes and slide into enemies, but again no more so than any other third party controller.
The depth of the concave octagon is a little deep when you’re used to a raised D-pad, so there may be a slight learning curve all around when using a Turbo Touch 360. The edges of the octagon are rounded off nicely, which makes using the d-pad slightly more inviting. The controller’s overall shape is rounded in many areas but still too blocky for its own good, although it resembles it in shape its nowhere near as comfortable as the Genesis controller.
I haven’t dared to take the D-pad apart and see how it work because I’m afraid I may never be able to get it back together. The D-pad doesn’t have a spring/gummy feeling like normal D-pads, so I don’t see there being any carbon pads underneath. However it works it does quite well, but I’m not brave enough to take it apart and find out.
I love to collect weird controllers, as I’m sure I’ve documented quite well here on the site. While the Turbo Touch 360 isn’t something I would use all the time, thats just personal preference and has nothing to do with the controller itself. Perhaps I could take the controller apart and fix the sticky button issue, play with it more often to get over the strange feeling of using a Genesis controller on my NES and enjoy the controller a lot more than I do, but I just prefer the simplicity of using the controller I’m already accustom to.
Now I leave you with this strange ad I found for the Turbo Touch 360 while doing research for this article, enjoy!
Sam’s Scores: Game over, man! Game over!
As hunting has slowed to a complete stop as of the past few months, I feel it best this series come to a close and take a graceful and final bow. Thrift stores and flea markets are drying up, and if they do have something I want its usually priced too high to be a considered a score. So this series will end with a handful of pickups that I’ve found, but I never got around to posting. As most of these are outlet store finds I can’t price them all, because everything is purchased by weight, making giving them individual prices too much math for me. But there is one small lot of items that I do know the exact price of because I bought it specifically just so I know what I paid for it.
8)Sega 32x Cables and Information
This is a bit of a mixed bag, quite literally. I picked up a bag of christmas lights for a project and while looking through it I spotted this bag of 32x information. It had various cables and stuff for the 32x, but for some reason I never checked the bottom of the bag to see if there was a 32x inside! Its been too long to start worrying about it now, but if I happen to find one I’ll have the information and cables to use it.
7)Super Mario Bros. 3 Valentines Cards
I remember actually receiving some of these when I was a child, but back then I didn’t own an NES nor did I have the collectors mind that I do now. The outlet store had a tub filled with vintage valentine’s cards of all kinds, but the only pack I was interested in was this one, which are still factory sealed! Had there been more I would have gotten as many as I could, but sadly this was the only one they had. Regardless its a pretty cool little collector’s item from the glory days of Nintendo and their keen promotional tactics.
6)Masters of the Universe – Intellivision
You simply never know what you may run across when you’re peering into the seemingly bottomless blue bins at the outlet store. Often its just filled with endless junk nobody else wanted, and sometimes treasures nobody else wanted. The box pretty much tells the tale as it was crushed under junk, while the cartridge was in another bin and the manual and overlays were in yet another. After putting it all together I was pretty excited, even though I don’t even have an Intellivision.
5)Sony Dual Analog and White PS Controllers
Playstation controllers, especially the dual shock, are a penny a pound, but there were a few uncommon controllers I was actively seeking. First up is just the standard white controller, no analog, no vibration, just normal controller functions in a strange color, since they didn’t release a Playstation in white until the PSOne. Secondly is a controller I’ve ran across before, but didn’t want to pay the insane price for, and that is the Dual Analog. The Dual Analog has no vibration feature, but offers 2 different analog settings, concave thumbsticks and also sports handles that are longer than any other PS controller. From what I understand the Dual Analong was a failure and now is considered to be rare, but when it comes to anything vintage gaming, isn’t it all nowadays?
4)Sega Saturn Model 1 and Games
At the beginning of the year I potentially risked my life to go pick up a Sega Saturn model 2, which turned out pretty well. I had Guardian Heroes but I also went to Disc Replay and picked up FIFA, but for the longest time I couldn’t find anything in thrift stores. Later I happened to find Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and a broken copy of Daytona USA hidden inside a Playstation case at a Goodwill store. Later the outlet store gave me Virtua Cop 1 and 2 as well as a working copy of Daytona USA. But the biggest find was when I found a dusty old Saturn model 1 sitting in a bin, it needed cleaned and the laser adjusted but it was worth the outlet store price!
3)Super 8 SNES Attachment
I am enthralled by pirated and just downright strange attachments, controllers or anything that has to do with video gaming really, and the Super 8 delivers that four times over! When I found this at the outlet store I thought it was something else, but I was still pretty damn excited to have found it. I’m not sure video game peripherals get any more weird than the Super 8.
2)Game Genie and Book for NES
This one is a bit of a tricky situation, the book came from the outlet store and cost me 25 cents while the Game Genie actually came from a local thrift store called The Recycle Bin for 99 cents. For about $1.50 (tax included) I have to say this is a pretty decent grab! I already own a Game Genie and book, but they’ve been packed away in a box for years. Could you pass up these for that price for the sheer luxury of not having to dig through boxes to find your other one?
1)NES-101 aka Top Loader
Yes, you read that correctly. I found an NES top loader at the Goodwill outlet store, where almost everything is sold by weight instead of some ludicrous price the managers found online. I had always hoped I would run across one at the outlet store, yet I never honestly thought I would, and if I did it would be in the possession of someone else.
I was doing my normal digging when I ran across an NES dog bone controller (the third one I’ve found there), then I noticed a normal rectangle controller as well as an NES RF adapter all in the same bin. Now, for some reason all of the cables get tangled together, causing you to slow down and untangle whichever item you want (controller, AV/RF cables, power supply, etc.), but also when you pull on any given item you have the resistance of the whole ball of wires pulling against you. As I pulled on the dog bone controller I felt that resistance, so I wasn’t thinking there was anything on the end, apart from a huge mass of phone cables, misc. power cords, coax cable, etc.
I slowly snatched up the rectangle controller and the RF adapter and went back to pulling on the dog bone controller. The more I pulled the less resistance I received, so I assumed this rat’s nest wasn’t too large, but as I kept pulling out popped a small, dark grey bit of plastic with a shiny silver sticker on the bottom that said NES Control Deck NES-101. It couldn’t be! It was smaller than a normal NES, but this just simply couldn’t be my luck, an NES top loader from the outlet store? Surely not! I must have done something right, because it was.
Jumping around like a ninny and stopping only long enough to snap a pic of it in front of the bin I had just resurrected it from, I made sure that all I was going to purchase was the control deck, both controllers and the RF adapter. I rushed to the counter with a massive grin on my face, failing miserably to hide it, and paid what the cashier asked. Once outside I snapped a pic of the receipt, because nobody would otherwise believe what I paid.