Several months ago, we took a look at a peripheral released for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Nintendo themselves called the NES Advantage. The device was created to bring an arcade-like feel home for players of the NES, and offer a few additional flourishes such as turbo functions for the buttons and a slow-motion option.
Oddly enough, Nintendo never created a follow-up for their successive platforms. However, that doesn’t mean that no one else would, and they were quite blatant about what they were doing, at that:
Licensed by Nintendo (as evident by the Official Nintendo Seal of Quality), the Super Advantage was released under the Asciiware label of the ASCII Corporation in 1992, the year following the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in North America.
The Super Advantage sported a design which matched up well with the North American version of the Super NES, including a wavy-ridged bottom side similar to that found at the base of the console, and the two molded purple details resembling its Power and Reset buttons. And of course, the color scheme and log was designed to match, too (well, mostly — more on that in a moment).
Functionally, it duplicates most features of the NES Advantage, and even adds in a few of its own. In addition to the eight-directional joystick, there is a slow-motion function, and each of the six main action buttons feature various turbo functions. The lower set of turbo sliders enables automatic hands-free turbo-fire, while the upper set allows you to set it manually. The sliders themselves allow you to adjust the rate of slow-motion or turbo-fire to your liking (up to 30 presses per second).
The button design differs from the standard Super NES controller in a few ways. In addition to being like the larger, flatter buttons seen on the NES Advantage, the L and R buttons are moved down to where they can be more easily reached, since most people wouldn’t be grasping the joystick like a normal controller. Plus, the A, B, X, and Y buttons are each red, yellow, blue, and green, respectively, mirroring the buttons found on the Super Famicom and European Super NES controllers, rather than the North American version — an odd choice, to be certain.
With all that said, the biggest difference between the NES Advantage and the Super Advantage functionally may be the latter’s lack of a 2-player function. Whereas one NES Advantage could serve two players in games such as Super Mario Bros., the Super Advantage’s design meant that either someone would have to switch which controller port it was plugged into, or each player would require their own. And given the smash arcade hit Street Fighter II: The World Warrior was coming home to the Super NES around the same time this ad was running, that was no doubt the more desirable option (even though the built-in 2-player function would be useless in a game like that, anyway).
Sadly (unless someone out there can correct me), this more or less ends the lineage of Advantage joysticks on Nintendo consoles. As noted previously, a company named Emio released their own interpretation for the NES Classic Edition based on the NES Advantage, but never did the same for the Super NES Classic Edition. Meanwhile, full-fledged arcade-style fight sticks have become something of a hot commodity among the fighting game community, perhaps rendering the need or desire for a lower-cost alternative somewhat moot.
Top image via Evan Amos, Wikimedia Commons