A Look at Bandai Namco’s Mousou Controllers

Vidyasaur
4 min readJun 22, 2023

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In 2010, Bandai Namco gave players a bizarre way to revisit retro games they felt nostalgic for. Mousou Controllers are handhelds without a screen. The point of these controllers is to imagine the game in your mind while pressing buttons and listening to sounds. The blue one is based on Xevious, an influential arcade shooter. The green one is based on Famista, a series of baseball games that started with Pro Yakyuu: Family Stadium on the Famicom. The game with the most controllers is Street Fighter II. All five controllers have two different modes of play and a “sound mode”.

The primary mode in the Street Fighter II controllers is called “Round Battle.” This is intended to replicate the the single-player arcade experience of the original game. You select one of three characters and input as many familiar commands (like a shoryuken) as you can in twenty seconds to win. Winning three battles in a row allows you to play the bonus stage where you try to destroy a car within fifteen seconds. “V.S. Battle” is a two-player mode where you and another person compete to see who completes the bonus stage the fastest.

Family Stadium is the most complex Mousou Controller. In “Pitching Mode”, you have to get three outs by throwing one of three types of pitches. Throwing the same type of pitch repeatedly will give the CPU a better chance at scoring a home run. Similarly, the CPU will have an easier time hitting the ball when you accumulate fatigue points by pitching. To catch a fly ball, you press the up button and press the B button together the moment the ball falls. The goal in “Batting Mode” is to hear the pitch and swing your bat at the right moment. Each type of pitch makes a different sound, so you have to adjust the timing of your swing. You can also improve your chances of hitting a home run by adjusting your position using the directional pad.

The last Mousou Controller is Xevious, and it might be the most challenging one. The two modes of play are “Xevious Stage” and “Bacura Destruction Battle”. The best way to describe “Xevious Stage” is that you can have the same experience by playing the original game while looking away from the screen. Your goal is to memorize the layout of the stage and reach the mothership. Along the way, you fire at enemies that are in the air and on the ground. Once you’ve reached the end of the stage, you have to destroy the mothership’s five weak points within fifteen seconds. Out of all the controllers, Xevious’s “Bacura Destruction Battle” is the one I find the most interesting. Bacuras are indestructible enemies that look like spinning iron plates. According to an urban legend, bacuras could be destroyed by firing two hundred and fifty-six shots at them. In this mode, that urban legend is brought to life. The goal is to destroy the bacura within twenty-five seconds.

https://www.asovision.com/mousou-controller/index.html

One downside with the controllers is that they can be difficult to play if you’re not familiar with the rules of the original games. I didn’t know much about Family Stadium, so playing it was a confusing experience for me. Of course, the point of these controllers is to bring the nostalgic sounds of classic games to players anytime. It’s like attaching a game’s “sound test” option to your keychain.

Bandai Namco’s Mousou Controllers were not released outside of Japan, and I’ve never seen them covered by popular YouTube channels that tackle obscure gaming devices. It’s difficult to buy a full set due to the obscurity of these controllers. If you find one, I recommend getting it. The Mousou Controllers are a fun novelty.

Footage of the Xevious controller:

Masanobu Endō — the creator of Xevious — playing the Mousou Controller:

Footage of the Family Stadium controller:

Footage of the Street Fighter II controllers:

Daigo Umehara playing a Street Fighter II controller:

The official website for the controllers also contain PDFs for them:

https://www.asovision.com/mousou-controller/index.html

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