8BitDo’s mechanical keyboard takes us back to the Famicom/NES era

8bitdo keyboard

8BitDo has unveiled a new mechanical keyboard with a look and colour scheme inspired by the NES and its Japanese counterpart, the Famicom.


Already known for its range of game controllers, 8BitDo has announced a new mechanical keyboard, evidently inspired by the design and colour schemes of the NES and Famicom.

With chunky keys and a bulbous power status LED, the 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard may look like a throwback, but it also has a few modern creature comforts, including programmable keys, hot-swappable PCBs, and support for wired, Bluetooth and 2.4G connectivity.

The Retro Keyboard is available in two versions, one with a black, grey and red theme evidently modelled after the NES (it’s called the N model) and a burgundy, cream and gold theme based on the Famicom (it’s called, spookily enough, the Fami edition).

8bitdo keyboard

Credit: 8BitDo.

Both models come with a separate pad which houses two outsized, programmable buttons – perfect for bouts of old-school button-mashing sports games like Track & Field.

8bitdo keyboard

Credit: 8BitDo.

If you’re wondering why 8BitDo would reference 1980s consoles for its latest bit of hardware, Nintendo did actually release a keyboard of its own in 1984. Called the Family BASIC keyboard, it was part of a package designed to turn the Famicom console into something closer to a fully-functioning computer. A cartridge containing a suite of programming tools – Family BASIC, developed by Hudson Soft – was released alongside the keyboard, and Nintendo also launched a cassette player, which could be used for loading and saving data.

Family BASIC was moderately successful in Japan, and at least did well enough to coax a number of youngsters into considering a career in game development. Among them was Pokemon creator Satoshi Tajiri, who cut his teeth on Family BASIC and later released his first game, Quinty, for the Famicom in 1989 (it was published by Namco in Japan and later as Mendel Palace by Hudson Soft in North America).

The 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard will begin shipping on 20 September 2023, priced $99.99, or around £78.00.

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