So beautiful, yet so bad.
Don't get me wrong. Back in the day I loved this thing. We all did, but that nostalgia fades away when faced with this relic of our youths.
It was old as the stick that gave us the experience of a real arcade joystick. The problem with that was the flimsy Japanese design when most of us who were in arcades in the mid 1980s were used to machines that had parts from Wico or Industrio Lorenzo. If you played Donkey Kong in the arcades you know the joystick was a medium-short metal shaft with a big red ball on top of it. What we have here is a fairly thin metal shaft with a small plastic ball on top of it and a matching black plastic cover on the shaft. The buttons, instead of having a plunger mounted in a sleeve above a microswitch like arcade buttons did put the plunger over a membrane on the PCB.
The stick is pretty lightweight with mush of the weight being in the ball on top. Consequently, the ball would snap off at inopportune times. Not that any time where part of your controller breaks off in your hand would be opportune. It doesn't stick like the buttons do if you press it too far, but it does have some rebound if you get it NOS, meaning that if you press hard to the right and you let go the self centering springs will overcorrect and often register as pressing left for a couple frames.
The result of the sleeveless button design is that if you push the buttons too hard they could slide under the housing of the controller and get stuck. They could get stuck anyway because of how snug the fit was and the friction of hard plastic on hard plastic without any lubrication or even slick surfaces (a problem that would continue to haunt Nintendo over the years as you'll see in upcoming reviews). The end result being that even though the buttons were nice and big, you had to press dead center, negating the benefits of those lovely large buttons. And they're kinda loud clicky clicky which shouldn't be a problem if you play on modern arcade controls, but can be distracting compared to the quiet of the NES pad and Wico leaf switch buttons of that era's arcades.
Now let's talk special features. The patented turbo function (patent expired last year if anyone wants to make clones of this thing now) allows you to dial in the speed of your turbo with a nifty little potentiometer and see how fast it works with an led that lights up when the button is active. This is probably the most awesome of features the Advantage. The other two features are slow motion which just presses start rapidly and is actually pretty useless for all the games that play a tone when you pause or display a menu. Also useless is the two output plugs and a switch for which one is active. Nobody used this feature ever because you don't want to play two player games where you take turns. You, as a gamer want your two player games to have both players on screen and active at the same time like in River City Ransom or all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games beyond the bizzare first game in the series.
My verdict is Thumbs Down for the Advantage
If you are looking to play NES games on the original system the classic NES pad is sufficient or the Max if you really need turbo. If you are looking to mod a controller for playing classic games on a newer system there are much better arcade sticks out there for pretty much every system. Also the space beneath the buttons is too small to to move the led to from up above if you were planning on replacing the opaque red plastic buttons with something partially transparent so that the buttons themselves light up with every press.
In conclusion, you can do better.