CirKa Digital Controller for GameCube review

Because playing GBA games using the original GameCube controller is a painful and imprecise endeavor, I was searching for alternatives. There were basically two options:

I ordered the latter. Unfortunately, this controller is a downgrade compared to the original GameCube controller. The primary disadvantage of the GC controller is its atrocious D-pad, and I had hoped that the CirKa would be a significant improvement. However, in reality it's the opposite. The D-pad on the CirKa is a downgrade of the GC controller's D-pad.

The problem

The D-pad allows opposing directions (SOCD; that is, left+right or up+down simultaneously) to be input. Depending on your use case, this might already be a critical flaw. I certainly would not want to use such a controller in speedruns, and SOCD is banned in the Evo tournament rules for example. The controller also does not contain a firmware-side mitigation for this problem. It is also possible to press the center of the D-pad and input all four directions at once.

But it gets worse: Not only is it possible to input opposing directions, it is easy to do so accidentally. I first discovered this issue in the very first dungeon of Boktai 1, wondering why the protagonist stopped moving even though I was holding up+left on the D-pad (it was because there was an additional down input). This makes the controller difficult to use even for casual gameplay purposes. In the images below, you can see the inputs the controller generates on the Game Boy Interface input viewer at the top:

all four

Needless to say, I do not recommend this controller!

Tags: gba