When I was a kid I remember having my first encounter with a turbo NES controller and wanting one of my own immediately. At this point we didn’t have Gamestop or FuncoLand yet, but we did have a local chain of used video game stores, whose name I’ve forgotten over the years. One sunny Saturday morning, while my mother grocery shopped at the adjacent grocery store, I walked into the gaming store and took a look around. After browsing the games I walked up to the counter and asked if they had any turbo controllers for the NES. What the employee plunked down on the counter was the most amazing controller I had ever seen.
It was an NES Advantage, and my tiny little, childhood mind was about to explode. The controller was almost as big as the NES console itself, and the employee explained how it all worked. Not only does the NES Advantage have turbo, but you can choose to engage it for A or B, or both, and dial in the exact amount of turbo you need. Right away my child’s mind was alight with all the fun this controller and I were about to have. It has adjustable turbo, slow motion, you can select player 1 or 2, and it has a joystick. The best part though was that it can be placed anywhere and used like a real arcade joystick. I was sold, and I bought it immediately!
At that time I owned Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game, and I remember how much better that game was with an NES Advantage. I also owned almost every WWF game on the NES, and again the Advantage seemed to make those games more fun. The NES Advantage also helped me play Gyromite without every having R.O.B., but I might write about that in another piece soon. I loved my NES Advantage, but as things changed I became more a fan of the Sony Playstation. I tried to trade in my NES and Sega Genesis, which is a [horror] story in and of itself, thus the NES Advantage was gone. For years I used the NES Max and a third-part turbo controller I had bought a year or so after buying the Advantage, but it wasn’t the same.
After being screwed over by a horrible trade in scam at FuncoLand, my NES collection was significantly smaller. At that point I packed away my NES collection and turned to emulation to scratch the itch for the NES days in my life. I never really thought much about the Advantage or felt the need to buy another one. That all changed in 2010, when I decided to start seriously collecting for the NES. I turned to online auctions and found one for a very reasonable buy it now price and made the purchase. After a few weeks of waiting the seller contacted me and said they had forgotten to ship it, and as an apology they packed in a second Advantage and shipped them both immediately. When they arrived they were both in good shape, except one of them has a weird issue where it presses buttons without me actually pressing the button. Either way, I was playing my NES games like I did in the good old days.
As time has passed I found myself wanting to use the NES Advantage less, because of its size. I found a third-party turbo controller and stuck with that for all of my turbo needs on the NES. Although I still retain those memories of using my NES Advantage to beat TMNT II the Arcade Game on Thanksgiving as a little kid, now I just prefer something a little simpler when I need a turbo NES controller. These days I prefer to have them around for the nostalgia and collection factor, more so than functional usage. I even own a Camerica Supersonic, but since it’s wireless and I don’t own the receiver I’ll never be able to use it. The NES Advantage was such an amazing controller, so much so the Ghostbusters used it to control the Statue of Liberty, and to be perfectly honest I’m kind of sad I outgrew it.