Nothing ruins a gaming session quite like a bad controller. Here’s what to do if you think your Famicom controller is losing it’s responsiveness or nothing happens when you press a button.
Most controllers stop working because the thin rubber pieces inside break. Once they get ripped, suddenly the buttons feel mushy and unresponsive and you start getting your butt kicked by whatever space alien, monster, robot, etc., is attacking you. Famicom controllers have three rubber parts: one each for the direction buttons, Start/Select, and A/B buttons. Usually the A/B and directional rubber pieces are the first to go, depending on what game you are playing. Button masher games like Hyper Olympic, where in order to run fast you’ve got to mash the A button as fast as possible, tend to destroy the A/B rubber piece. Flying games tend to stress the directional rubber piece.
So How Do I Fix My Controller?
Easy. Take it apart and replace the rubber pieces. There are six tiny screws holding the Famicom controller together. Carefully unscrew them and pull the top and bottom halves apart. Gently pull up the cable and you should be able to get to all the parts.
Now carefully inspect the rubber pieces for rips, cracks, tears. Replace any rubber parts that look like the picture below.
Where do I get new parts?
That’s the tricky part. There are no new parts. But there are options…
Scavenging: I usually scavenge parts from other controllers. Usually, used #2 controllers are a great source of good rubber pieces. The #2 is generally used less than the #1, especially if the poor kid who previously owned the Famicom lived in a rural area and had no friends to play with, or was considered strange by his peers. Even if he did, in fact, have friends, the #2 controller probably has good parts, so if you don’t have any friends that use your #2, then use the rubber parts in your #2 until you can locate some replacements.
Buy online: retrogamerjapan.com usually has replacement controllers and parts in stock. eBay? Google?
What about other console controllers like the Super Famicom, AV Famicom, NES, etc.?
Everything you’ve read here is applicable to just about any controller pad you come across. Locate the ripped rubber pieces and replace them.
I hope this helps anyone with a bad controller. Enjoy the vid!