8BitDo Retro Keyboard: Famicom Style

| #8bitdo | #computers | #famicom | #keyboards | #retroge | #videogames |

I have recently developed a real fondness for that dark retro red coloured plastic. There’s something about it that brings back memories of cool stuff. Like, I guess, the Famicom game system.

I picked up a Famicom keyboard back in Japan, and always wondered about converting it to a PC keyboard, ’cause why not? It’s not like I was going to use it for programming on the Famicom, right? Might as well hook it up to the PC and use it till it dies.

But then, 8BitDo.

They released a pair of mechanical keyboards, one based on the NES colour style, and one on the Famicom. They ticked every box, for me: No numeric keypad, so smaller. Both bluetooth and 2.4GHz wireless. USB-C direct connection. Mechanical hot-swappable key switches, in case I wanted to go with something other than the clicky tactile Kailh Box V2 White switches it ships with. Beautiful design. Ridiculous oversized outboard buttons. It just screamed fun.

And it had that retro red I craved.

Since my Corsair K95 Platinum was starting to act up, for the second time (replaced under warranty once already), I bought the Famicom keyboard.

And gosh, I could not be happier.

It’s amazingly well constructed. It feels solid, but the plastic is softer to the touch than Corsair’s aluminum base. It sounds great when typing, those clicky switches are just static music to my ears.

It took a little bit of getting used to the larger tops on the keycaps, compared to the ones on the K95, but I did get used to it and now I think I prefer these. And 8BitDo changed the Japanese katakana character print on the keyboard, so it matches modern keyboards and not the definitely non-standard layout Nintendo used.

It’s not exactly like the Famicom keyboard, but it elicits all the right feels without making any quality sacrifices. It’s just awesome.

Button Mapping:

This keyboard has only two definable keys, plus the two outboard buttons (and you can add up to three more pairs of these). On their own you can’t do anything fancy with them, the 8BitDo app only allows you to map them to standard keys including media keys, like play/pause.

I found this limiting, so I used a combination of 8BitDo’s own app to make the black A/B buttons volume up and down, and the PAUSE button became media play/pause so I could stop music when needed. I mapped the big buttons to Shift-Alt-PAUSE and Shift-Alt-SCROLL LOCK.

Then I used AutoHotKey to add some more detailed scripting to them: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and (ノ°Д°)ノ︵ ┻━┻ which I use a lot.

And with a full keyboard I was used to bashing the numeric ENTER key with my mouse hand, so I mapped one big red button to ENTER and put it between mouse and keyboard and …

Gosh, I couldn’t be happier. ^__^


The two big buttons are mapped to Shift-Alt-PAUSE and Shift-Alt-SCRLK (scroll lock). I reckoned I’d never ever press those combinations under normal circumstances, so they became keys that had no function.

Enter AutoHotKey, which took those keystrokes and did something useful with them. Here’s the AHK script I used:

+!pause::send "¯\_(ツ)_/¯"
+!ScrollLock::send "{enter}"
^+!ScrollLock::send "(ノ°Д°)ノ︵ ┻━┻"

So one button (ScrollLock) would either press enter on its own, or throw a desk in rage if I held control before pressing it. The other was just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

[ Jan 7 2024 ]

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