I’ve never been tempted to use a mechanical keyboard — but 8bitdo’s new NES-styled one might change that.

It’s beautiful to look at, has programmable buttons, volume dials, works both wired and wirelessly (200 hour battery life), is an 80% width (i.e. compact but not cramped), has 87 keys, and, best of all, costs a mere $99.

The price point alone is certifiable impulse-purchase territory.

8BitDo’s mechanical love-letter to the NES

“Uhm, what’s this keyboard got to do with Ubuntu?”, you ask.

Well, nothing – not strictly.

See, the software 8Bitdo provide to actually configure the keyboard’s fancier features is not available on Linux (or macOS, which is some consolation). That means this keyboard only “officially” supports Android and Windows — which is a bit of a bummer.

But as some of you pointed out to me on Mastodon when I started sobbing about it: the keyboard itself should work okay on Linux (and macOS) – though the inclusion of giant A and B buttons in the standard key set might require some layout tweaking/custom mapping.

A pair of big red buttons come with the keyboard too:

We all love a button – and this keyboard comes with 2!

So my reason for writing about it is partly selfish.

I’m hoping a talented open-source dev sees this post, falls in love with the keyboard, buys one, and then works on filling in the Linux-lacking gaps so I—ahem, I mean we— can all benefit.

I never had a NES as a kid (it was a touch before my time) but I have always loved the retro aesthetic of Nintendo’s formative home console. The colours, the shapes, the patterns – it’s all *chefs kiss*.

Testament to my adoration – as those of you who follow me/omg on social media will know – my Raspberry Pi 4 lives in a NES-themed case that boasts sweet hot-swappable SSDs in NES game cart enclosures. And, naturally, I use an 8BitDo SNES style controller for all the retro gaming I do on it.

Volume DIALS, man – c’mon

So yeah: this mechanical keyboard — which uses Kailh Box White Switches V2 and supports N key rollover, whatever those mean 😅 — would match my setup magnificently well.

The 8BitDo Retro Mechanical Keyboard (for that is its full name) isn’t being released in the UK until October but those in the US can buy from Amazon.com* or the 8BitDo website.

Indulge me, my mechanical keyboard friends – does this actually sound good?

*Affiliate, fyi :3.

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