A few years back, 8BitDo released a wireless mouse styled to resemble the classic NES gamepad, making it the perfect peripheral for the retro gaming faithful. Surely, though, a retro mouse deserves to pair with an equally retro keyboard and that’s exactly what you’ll get to do with the 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard.
Styled to look like classic gamepads, the keyboard gives you a fully-functional modern keyboard that’s been done up in the same as game controllers from the 80s, so you can go full vintage on your desktop setup. And it’s not just some two-bit peripheral, either, as this is a proper mechanical keyboard with a bunch of niceties that discerning keyboard users are likely to appreciate.
The 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard is a tenkeyless keyboard, so you get the full set of standard keys but no number pad, giving it a more compact profile. It comes with 87 keys, complete with two accessory keys labeled in large letters (A and B, just like the gamepads they were based on) that you can program to perform any shortcut you want, while a pair of knobs and three buttons on top let you control the keyboard’s wireless, sound volume, Wi-Fi connection, and other system functions. The keys use Kailh Box V2 White switches in a top-mounted design, which should make for a click-filled typing experience, although you can always swap them out for quieter switches if that’s your thing (it has hot-swappable PCB).
The keyboard supports n-key rollover, which should make it good peripheral for gaming, while an aluminum plate ensures it will hold up to plenty of typing and keyboard-mashing sessions. It works in both wired and wireless modes, too, with an included USB cable, built-in Bluetooth, and a 2.4GHz dongle.
The 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard comes in two flavors: N Edition and Fami Edition. As you can tell by those coded names, the N Edition mimics the likeness of the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) with its black, gray, charcoal, and red palette, while the Fami Edition takes on the aesthetics of the Famicom, the Japanese version of the NES, with off-white, black, and burgundy colors. Aside from the main keyboard, it also comes with two large programmable buttons (they call it Super Buttons) on a separate box that’s hooked up to the keyboard via a 3.5mm cable, which you can use to assign specific actions for various games. Hey… retro games are always more fun with giant buttons. Seriously, though, we would have preferred if they just put giant knobs on there instead of giant buttons, but we guess buttons would be more appropriate for a retro gaming theme.
The keyboard is equipped with a 2,000 mAh battery that’s rated to let it run for up to 200 hours between charges if you use it wirelessly. You can, of course, just hook it up via USB if you don’t want to bother with keeping the darn thing charged. It’s designed to work on Windows and Android systems.
The 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard comes out August 10th.