Posted on March 17th, 2010 5 comments
Maker: Nihon Soft Hanbai
Release Date: 4/28/89
Price: 2600 yen
The Battle Pad, released by NSH/Bigclub simultaneously with the Battle Tap, is one of the few licensed PC Engine joypads released by someone besides NEC Avenue in Japan. The only other official one is Sur de Wave’s PC Blaster in 1992. (Hori released a few, but never became an official NEC licensee.)
As you can tell from the photo, the Battle Pad’s got something of a unique design, from its long, thin, boomerang-ish shape to its white-and-blue color scheme. Both the control pad and the I/II buttons are concave, molded to fit right below your fingertip, assuming your fingers are a lot smaller than mine. The pad itself also has fully rounded corners, avoiding the blunt edges seen on the official Famicom and PCE pads.
You could call this a well thought-out design — or, at least, one that shows a bit more originality than NEC’s pad, which more or less apes Nintendo’s. The extra ergonomics make this pad a bit kinder to your fingers, a fact backed up by how NEC Avenue’s Fighting Pad 6 (1994) and the standard PC-FX controller both use essentially the same design concept. (The chief difference between the Fighting Pad and Battle Pad: The grip ridges on the bottom, which are absent on NSH’s controller.)
Despite the curvy design, the Battle Pad feels tacky, its plastic body noticeably thin and flexible and its response a fair bit mushier than the basic PCE pad.
I’m not exactly sure how many Battle Pads are out there, whether by itself or packed with NSH’s tap in the 4680-yen Battle Set, but it can’t be that high a number. (The cheap plastic also gets discolored over time by the oil on your fingers, making pristine examples of this pad a bit tough to find.)