Tell Us Dammit: Best/Worst "Cheap" Gaming Accessory

We've all been there. The lure of a controller, or mouse, or other bit of gaming peripheral tat that's so much cheaper than the official kit.

What are your victory or defeat stories with third party gaming kit?

Image: Creative Tools

Sure, we all know it's a risk. The official kit is probably more sturdy, less prone to button failure or terrible clicky analog sticks or unresponsive d-pads. But in the real world, we've all got to live within a budget, and sometimes that means buying budget gear. Also, sometimes it's a risk that pays off.

My own recent tale in this regard relates to a "spare" PS2 that I ended up with quite randomly. When I say randomly I mean it, too.

I was walking back from dropping my kids at school one morning while an elderly neighbour of mine from just up the street was topping up the stuff in her red wheelie bin.

Including a PS2. So while I didn't know her particularly I stopped and chatted to her, mostly to point out that e-waste recycling would be a better option for a PS2, which I presumed was broken.

"Oh no, it's not broken. But it was my son's, and he doesn't want it any more"

I immediately offered to take it off her hands, because hey, free PS2. You'd do the same, I'm sure. Anyway, this left me with a "spare" PS2 and power supply, but no controllers.

PS2 controllers aren't exactly common any more, so I hit the wide bay of dodgy goods that is eBay, and ordered up some $10 PS2 "Dual Shock 2 style" controllers. From Hong Kong, naturally. For $10, I wasn't expecting much.

That was going to be OK, I figured. The PS2 was going to head to a relative's holiday place so I could unwind with a few games while away from home. I didn't need great controllers, because I wouldn't be doing any serious in-depth gaming with them. As long as they didn't send direct electrical shocks up my arms while I played, I'd be happy enough with mediocre.

I was pleasantly surprised when they turned up, partly because apart from the obvious lack of official Sony logos, they were cut-out clones of the actual DualShock 2 body. Really close, when I'd expected to perhaps end up with something that was going to be bright purple or something. What's more, they're just as good as the real ones I've still got for my primary PS2, and that I really wasn't expecting.

Sure, I've had my share of third party controller sob stories, but they're not always duds. Anyway, that's my story. What's yours?


    I *love* my logitech 360 guitar so much that I bought a second one.

    If Rock Band 4 ends up with backwards compatible support for instruments, that alone will be enough to make me buy a Xbox One.

    EDIT: So OK, I missed the "cheap" part. I did buy them for maybe $60 each though, vs the original couple of hundred!

    Last edited 21/05/15 11:18 am

      Yep, those ones are/were fantastic. I bought 2 guitars and 2 drums, absolutely love them.

    I bought a cheap extended battery for the Wii u gamepad recently, even though it had a dubiously fantastical claimed capacity.

    When it arrived it was only a few grams heavier than the stock battery, so flags went up from the get go.

    I cracked the case and found a small battery and a bit of lead inside.

    I ran the cell through my battery cycler to measure the actual capacity, and it came up 20% short of the original battery.

    I chucked the cell, and reused the plug and case to make my own extended battery with a new cell.

    Even after trying to take the cheap road and subsequently being ripped off, it all ended up costing me less than an official extended battery (which is STILL scarce).

    Last edited 21/05/15 11:29 am

      Different issue, but I have found that the official xbox 360 rechargeable battery packs are terrible. Some have lasted a couple of months before refusing to hold a charge, some have lasted a couple of days. Went through maybe 5 (bundled with controllers or on sale) before I decided that rechargeable AAs was easier, even if it meant I couldn't charge and play.

        This^^^ all my original official battery packs for my xbox 360 refuse to hold there charge anymore meanwhile my cheap as chips 3rd party Venom ones are still going as good as the day I bought.

        Yep, my battery just stopped holding charge out of the blue

        Oh yeah, mine launch ones crapped out way too soon. I never could be bothered to fix them, so I just treated my 360 controllers as wired.

        I DID replace the cells in my induction charged wiimote packs with high quality ones. The stock ones crap out the first time you let them discharge too far, so they all die. Super easy fix though.

        Personally I don't understand why people go so crazy about built-in rechargeable batteries over AAs. I mean for years I was running my Wii remote off a pair of those, and whenever they did die out I'd just go and grab a second pair from the drawer and use those while my "primary" set was charging. Way better than having to get out cables and tie yourself up, and no worries about whether you'll be able to replace some proprietary power source if it ever goes belly-up.

      Where do you get the legit ones from in Aus? I've only ever heard good things about them.

        Don't think I've ever seen one in store here, the only option I've seen is by very carefully weeding out the real ones on ebay. Or play Asia.

        The boost is pretty significant, the weight difference is negligable in practice, and they fit perfectly (there was a lot of space left for additional battery capacity in the gamepad shell). It's worth it for those times you get sucked into a game like bayonetta 2.

    Best: Sticker to place over the lightbar on the Dualshock 4.

    Worst: Any <$20 game controller.

    Worst: honey bee third party SNES controller: dodgy, platsicy knockoff with weird angles and spongy buttons that never felt right.
    Best: third party turbo N64 controller, had a switch for every button that could toggle to 'on' and 'turbo', nice piece of kit.

      My friend had one of those. Absolute piece of shit, it was.

      Yeah I had Honeybee snes controller that looked like a sega genesis controller. Had rapid fire etc.. but buttons we're in the wrong places (compared to snes) and it never worked quite right.

    Had to buy a cheap wired 3rd party PS3 controller once when I took my PS3 somewhere and forgot the controllers (and it would have been a 2+ hour trip to go home and get them). The buttons were pretty spongey and the left analogue stick didn't like working in some directions.

    I also had that controller in the main picture.

    I have only ever bought official stuff, as Nintendo stuff is usually top shelf. I have bought other cheap crap off the internet though, like a 5 in 1 solar powered toy kit. Didn't work at all.

      Man, I'm shirt, absolutely hate when shit is top shelf.

      You have to go and get someone to go and get it down & urgh...Such a hassle

    Any N64 third party controller is shit house.
    They're always flimsy with terrible joysticks.

    Got an alright GameCube controller though

    I bought my gba second hand from a furniture store(yep).

    It came with this ugly horrible contraption to shine two lights on to the screen.

    I actually ended up using it quite a bit.

      Was that the Floodlight? My sister had one of those for hers.

      I had a lighting accessory too, it had the light at the base of a cover which would protect the screen when folded down, plus it fed on power from the link port (with a through-connection to still enable communications) and had adjustable brightness, so I thought it was pretty great. Damn thing chewed through batteries like crazy though.

        I dunno, can't remember if there was even a brand name still on it.

        The lights fit snugly around the sides & then you pulled them up & adjusted the angle.

        It was shit, but it did the job.

    When you extend the definition of 'cheap' to include 'cheaper than you'd expect to pay' I unintentionally bought knock-off versions of a black DS3 controller (~$48) and a Hatune Miku figure (~$90 and yes it is a gaming accessory because I look at it while gaming, so there). Moral of the story, if you want an official product you should buy at a price that is within the range of what is being offered by most reputable dealers. If you see something that is 10-20% cheaper then be very wary, particularly with online purchases. With the DS3 the seller apparently didn't even know it was a knock-off.

    Best cheap accessory I got was probably the Vita grip I got for about $15-20. Fantastic, although I don't use it much anymore because my hands have evolved into Vita claws... heh heh.

    Last edited 21/05/15 12:03 pm

    Bought some cheap genesis controllers to use my with old master system (the original controllers have issues). They work but man are the buttons bad and wobbly.

    Microsoft mouse and keyboard in the 90s/00s. Unbelievably reliable and smooth compared to the cheap, tacky, flimsy 'pro gaming' crap that cost ten times as much.

      I bought the first Microsoft optical mouse, which looked like a traditional ball mouse (before the silver explorervwhich looks like a now common gaming mouse). It was revolutionary for gaming, I used it to dominate the seq counterstrike scene, and it was all the mouse!

        Same, I used one for Quake 3 Arena and smashed it.

        We had this too, it was a beast of a thing! I use a SteelSeries Rival now which actually reminds me of it in some ways.

    Cheap optical mouse for my laptop. Figured I wouldn't be doing any serious gaming, so I didn't need a 'real' mouse like I had for my desktop. For $5, what a bargain!

    It was a mini, wired mouse... that happened to have lights (which wasn't in the product description). Not just any lights, but really annoying flickering lights... and no way to turn them off. If it was plugged in, those damn lights were on and flashing at random intervals. It was awful. I ended up getting a set of long nose pliers and literally just tearing the light out.

    Worked ok after that, but I'm sticking with my decent peripherals now, thank you very much.

    Duracell Play and charge kit for XBox360.

    I thought it would be good to minimise how many batteries I go through but this is just crap. The rechargeable battery doesn't hold a charge for that long and the cable connector from the console to the controller is temperamental.

    I always end up hard-wiring back to my XBox like some kind of peasant from 2005.

    Back to batteries.

    Last edited 21/05/15 12:20 pm

    I forked out for a premium gaming mouse but on my desk at home the optical sensor didn't work properly. Apparently it was almost too sensitive for my crappy grainy desk. I was advised to pay huge $$$ for a gaming mouse-pad but instead bought $5 one from Target. Best purchase ever.

    Mayflash 4-port Gamecube adapter for Wii U and PC.
    Works like a charm for Smash Bros. :D

    The original Guitar Hero drums were obviously garbage. My friend was a bit of a dabbler in electronics and soldering, and he replaced all the internals for me for the price of the components; which, conveniently enough, ended up being a beer or two the next time we went to the pub.
    It worked perfectly for years after that.

    I am at present using a 3 year old Medion (Aldi) gaming keyboard and mouse set. They cost 60 bucks together, and have worked better and far longer than any similar much higher priced sets iv had in the past. Worst was probably the 20 buck wireless mouse i picked up for my laptop a few weeks ago. Worked for a few hours, then no longer connects at all :(

    I usually steer clear.. however
    Honeybee - Sega Master System controller - this was AWESOME (to a 5-10 year old lol)
    Xbox (original) - Logitech Precision Wireless - a bit worn and loose now, but this was an excellent controller.

    Every other 3rd party I have used has been pretty trash. I have a 3rd party wiimote which is ok, buttons are a bit uncomfortable - the nunchuck is trash though. I have yet to use a decent 3rd party PS/PS2 controller so I'm surprised at the ebay score with the $10 controllers.. I only have one PS2 controller atm maybe I should roll the dice..

    Edit: Forgot my other PS1 peripherals - I had a a:
    "Real Arcade Gun" - this had recoil and a pedal and was awesome.. I sold it cheap to someone on whirlpool.. I miss it lol - it outlasted my Namco GunCon by years.

    I still have a 3rd party Beatmania controller (and the Konami one) the 3rd party one lights up and is a lot more comfortable than the Konami one. It's called a DJ Man or something.. came with loads of broken english all over the box heh and some vibrating wrist band things lol

    Last edited 21/05/15 1:13 pm

    Cheap bulk packs of batteries with something in the area of 5 hours battery life

      Per battery, or for the entire bulk pack?

        depends on just how little you want to spend on 24 batteries I guess :P

    Ipega-9023 best nvidea shield ripoff. My only gripe with it is the right analog stick should be below the X,Y,A,B.

    I managed to score a Logitech Speed Force for the GameCube for only $10. That was fucking excellent.

    Shame more games don't use it though. But between Burnout 2 and F-Zero GX, what more do you really need?

    old madkatz n64 controller.
    We had 3 official n64 controllers at my house, and one cheap knock off.
    Whoever came dead last in goldeneye 4 player was then demoted to the madkatz controller as punishment!

    Best a 0.99 cent custom mouse pad with the letters PCMR written on it.

    Xbox 360 Play and Charge kit. Not just bad for a first party accessory, but a terrible one fullstop. Either that thing inexplicably discharges unused, or Microsoft cheaped on the batteries. Just terrible, especially since two AA Eneloops do a better job than a $35 accessory.

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