I tried Hyperkin’s new Oscar Mayer hot dog controller for the Switch, and now I’m hungry for more

The Hyperkin Pixel Art Hot Dog controller next to its matching case and a real hot dog
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Adding some flair to your gaming setup isn’t as easy as it used to be since limited edition consoles are few and far between with this console generation

While there have been several limited edition variants of the Nintendo Switch, Sony and Microsoft have taken a different path entirely with the PS5 and Xbox Series X. Instead of releasing special edition consoles to go alongside big game launches, Sony has gone with a more modular approach with PS5 faceplates. Meanwhile, Microsoft only recently added magnetic console covers for the Xbox Series X to its online store.

Although you may not be able to get a beautiful limited edition console that easily anymore, you can still make your standard console stand out with one of the best Nintendo Switch controllers with a custom design. There are dozens of licensed controllers featuring Nintendo’s lovable characters but now Hyperkin has done something completely different with its new line of Pixel Art controllers ($40, Hyperkin) for the Switch and PC.

Some of them celebrate the game Tetris while others have tie-ins with the kid’s show Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir; there’s even one for the heavy metal band Spiritbox. However, the ones that really caught my attention are based around food. There’s one for Huy Fong Foods’ popular Sriracha sauce, a Kool-Aid one depicting the juice’s infamous Kool-Aid Man busting through a wall and my personal favorite, an Oscar Mayer controller shaped like a hot dog.

Since I had so much fun trying out the Chicken McNugget Tetris handheld console last year, I asked Hyperkin to send over a hot dog controller for me to check out. Here are my thoughts on this one-of-a-kind controller.

Adding some flavor to an iconic retro controller

Playing Overcooked on the Switch with one of Hyperkin's new Pixel Art controllers

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Regardless of which Pixel Art controller from Hyperkin you pick up, you’re getting a gamepad that puts a modern twist on the iconic Super Nintendo controller. While the D-pad and face buttons are right where you’d expect them to be, there are thumbsticks in between them along with a home button on the bottom right and a capture button on the bottom left.

Each of Hyperkin’s Pixel Art controllers have a different design on the front, while the Oscar Mayer, Kool-Aid, Sriracha and several of the other variants have a transparent back. Unlike with the original SNES controller though, the back is slightly curved where you rest your middle finger, making these new controllers more comfortable to hold. Hyperkin has also added digital triggers behind the bumpers so that you can play all of the best Nintendo Switch games with its new controllers, though they also work on PC, Mac, Raspberry Pi, iOS, Android and even on your Tesla.

I tested out the limited edition hot dog controller along with the Hyper Gradient version of the Tetris controller on both my Switch OLED and on PC. Connecting the controllers wirelessly was easy enough and I like how there’s a switch at the top to change between connecting to the Switch or to other devices via Bluetooth. There’s a USB-C port at the top for charging but you can also plug in this controller and play in wired mode while the battery recharges.

A side by side shot showing an 8BitDo controller next to a Hyperkin Pixel Art controller

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Besides the hot dog theme, another reason I really wanted to check out Hyperkin’s Pixel Art controllers is that they remind me of one of my favorite controllers for the Switch: the SF30 Pro from 8BitDo. However, 8BitDo’s modern SNES-style gamepad uses button combinations to switch between input modes and it feels slightly less comfortable in your hands. It does have larger thumbsticks though and its D-pad feels closer to one from Nintendo.

On the Switch, I played a few levels of one of the best Nintendo Switch multiplayer games, Overcooked  — this is a food-themed controller after all — along with a bit of Super Mario RPG. (I’m playing through that game while working on my review.) On the PC, though, I put Hyperkin’s Pixel Art controllers through the paces while playing the skateboarding game Session just like I do with all of the best PC game controllers,. Even with digital triggers instead of analog ones, I managed to pull off quite a few impressive tricks. 

As for the design of the Oscar Mayer hot dog controller, I couldn’t help but smile every time I looked down at it, and I feel that the Kool-Aid one would produce a similar effect, especially given how Family Guy helped bring back the Kool-Aid man in a big way. At $40 a pop, Hyperkin’s Pixel Art controllers are much cheaper than picking up an extra set of Joy-Cons or even a Nintendo Pro Controller. While they may not be ideal for a more action-packed game like Tears of the Kingdom, they’re perfect for Nintendo Switch Online and other retro titles.

With accessories to boot

The Hyperkin Pixel Art hot dog controller next to its matching case

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you want to complete the look, Hyperkin has you covered. Alongside its new Pixel Art controllers, the company also sells matching hard shell carrying cases for your Nintendo Switch. 

At $20, they’re not too expensive, and these cases are a great way to help keep your Switch and your friend’s consoles from getting mixed up. They have a cartridge pocket for storing Switch games and an accessory pocket that you can use to store a charging cable. One neat thing that I haven’t seen before though, is the included foam insert that lets you use this case for the Nintendo Switch Lite in addition to the standard and OLED Switch models.

All told, for $60, you’re getting a very unique controller that’s small enough to fit in almost any bag and a matching case to go with it. Not a bad way to give your old Switch a glow-up, but I could also see these controllers being a hit at LAN parties when you have all of your friends together in the same room playing Mario Kart or even Super Mario Bros. Wonder.

It’s not just about game preservation 

The Hyperkin Xenon in red, black, white and pink

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If this is your first time hearing about Hyperkin, they’re one of the few game accessory makers that’s helping to preserve video game culture by introducing classic controller designs to a younger audience. Since 2006, the company has released a number of different controllers that provide a modern take on the classics like the Duke controller for the original Xbox or more recently, the Hyperkin Xenon which is an updated replica of the Xbox 360 controller.

It’s one thing to play classic games with your kids or younger family members but it’s another to hand them a replica of the exact same controller you used when you first played Halo on the original Xbox or Gears of War on the Xbox 360.

Hyperkin’s new Pixel Art controllers are a bit different from the replica controllers it’s made in the past. However, with plenty of different designs to choose from, there’s something here for everyone.

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Anthony Spadafora
Senior Editor Security and Networking

Anthony Spadafora is the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to password managers and the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. Before joining the team, he wrote for ITProPortal while living in Korea and later for TechRadar Pro after moving back to the US. Based in Houston, Texas, when he’s not writing Anthony can be found tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.