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The Advantage
OriginSacramento, California
Years active1998–present
Labels5 Rue Christine
MembersRobby Moncrieff
Ben Milner
Carson McWhirter
Spencer Seim
Past membersNick Rogers
Forrest Harding
Cassie Stewart

The Advantage is an American rock band from Sacramento, California that formed in 1998 and specialises in doing covers of music from old NES games, also known as Nintendocore. The band is named after the NES joystick controller of the same name.[1]

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  • ✪ Super Nintendo Advantage Controller (SNES) | Friday Night Arcade
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Welcome back to Friday Night Arcade. This week I'm going to take a look at the Super Advantage for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. So this week I'm taking a look at the Super Advantage for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. This was released by Asciiware so it is not a first party controller. Unlike the NES Advantage for the Nintendo Entertainment System, this was released by a third party company. You wouldn't know that to look at it. For starters the controller is massive. This thing is big enough to be its own console. So it definitely kinda looks like a Super Nintendo. You have got the two buttons up here. Unfortunately these don't actually work. But it has got a similar color scheme the same way the NES Advantage looked a lot like the Nintendo. This thing is big enough to be its own console. It is practically as big as the Super Nintendo. It's actually almost the same size as the original Nintendo. And just like the original NES Advantage, it has got all sorts of additional options for your buttons. There is a Slow Motion button which if you are not familiar how that works, the Slow Motion buttons on these controllers from the older consoles, what they would do is it would basically be the equivalent of pushing the Start button over and over again like this. It would be as if you are just sitting there hammering on the Start button so it is pausing the game rapidly and it will make the game slow down. For some games it works better than others, but if there is a particular spot in a game you know maybe like a shmup or something like that that is really hard to get by, you could turn on the Slow Motion and that would give you a little bit of an advantage. Also there are all sorts of controls for the buttons. These are basically rapid fire triggers. On the original NES Advantage they had these knobs you could use and you could just adjust these, turn them on and off with these buttons. Basically what this would do is control how fast the rapid fire is working. So if you have this enabled, you can just hold down the button and it is as if you are pressing the button quickly. And then you can control how fast the rapid button pressing is going. If you have got it turned all the way up, it is going really fast. If you turn it all the way down, it is maybe just kind of a steady pressing kind of like that. The Super Advantage has something similar. But instead of knobs they went with these sliders. You can kind of see that there. With these sliders you can control how fast the button is being pressed. And then you have got multiple options here. There is full auto. So you can engage the turbo and then there is also a full auto mode. So each one of these you can turn it all the way onto automatic or you can just turn on turbo. I think if you have it turned onto auto, you don't even have to be pushing down the button. That is my understanding of it. We are going to test this out in a little bit. I don't have a manual for this, but my understanding of it is that if you have it turned all the way to auto, you could feasibly just be playing the game without actually pushing the button and then just have your auto slider turned all the way up and it is like you're hammering on the button. So maybe if you are playing Gradius III or something like that. We are going to test this out in a bit. But another thing I wanted to show you and one of the criticisms that I have read a lot about this controller is the button placement. A lot of people weren't happy with the way the buttons are placed on this. So here you have got the standard four main buttons that come on a controller. You have got Y, B, X, A just like a normal controller. And then the buttons that are on the top of the controller, the L and the R buttons, are over here off the the side. I think most people for fighting games especially would have rather just had three buttons all the way across each row rather than having four down here and two up here. We are going to try this out. I have never gotten a chance to actually use one of these so I cannot say for sure myself if that is going to be annoying or not, but if you are definitely wanting to go with an arcade setup and you are wanting to use this controller, I could see why that would be a criticism of it. You also do have a slider for the Slow Motion button so they really just put a wealth of options on here. It is kind of overkill. The only thing that would be even better is if these buttons actually turned the power on and off for the console and you could reset it. That would be special, but for now this is what we have got. I told you we are going to test this controller out in a bit, but one thing that I am noticing is that first of all this thing is just filthy. When my wife and I moved into our new house, there was a whole treasure trove of old video game stuff in the basement and this was one of the things that I found. I was really excited to find one. I have never actually seen one of these in person before. I had only seen pictures of it. The NES Advantage was kind of a dime a dozen. You can find those for $8 at a thrift shop now. There were just a lot of them sold, but I think this came out a little later in the Super Nintendo's life cycle and because it was third party maybe it just didn't get circulated as much. So for this, I've never seen one before! So I was really excited to find it, but it definitely looks like it is a little gross. It is definitely a little yucky and these buttons kind of stick a little bit so we are going to actually take this apart and see if we can clean it up a little bit and then we are going to test it out on some games and see how it works. Okay so the first thing I am going to do is I am going to go ahead and just take everything apart so that I can clean the exterior without damaging any of the internal components. So I am going to go ahead and take the joystick apart and just use a regular Philips head screwdriver to go ahead and start taking these screws out so that I can take off this top piece and see what we have on the inside. Okay so now that I have got all of the screws out, I can go ahead and take this top piece off. I am just going to kind of do this very carefully because I don't want all of these little buttons and switches to fall out the back side. You have got to be real careful when you are taking this apart because all of these go in a certain area when it goes back together. So we will just kind of gently pull this off and okay so that is easy enough. I was expecting more things to be connected to this part. That is good to know. Okay. So I am going to set that up here out of the way for now. We want to be real careful here because this is where the joystick connects and there is a ribbon here. So when we take this piece out, we have got to be real careful that we don't damage this ribbon that connects it to the main board. So it looks like we have got some more screws to take apart so I am just going to keep going and we will see what we find. So this little piece comes out and it looks like there are just a couple of plastic pins that stick up from here and they go in these two little holes right here. So there is really only one way to put it back in there and that is good so that when you go to put all of this back together it is pretty straightforward how it all comes apart and goes back together again. And then this little piece just comes out and this is where the arcade stick goes. It kind of just goes here. And we can see the little rubber contacts where that connects. They do look a little dirty so we have definitely got a little work to do there. So we will just keep going and see what we can find. Okay so we have got this apart now and we can see where the buttons connect to their counterpoints on the board here. It is really not in as bad a shape as what I thought it would be. There is a little bit of scuffling on here. Mostly what I am concerned about is the inside of these buttons definitely need a little bit of work. I think it is just kind of like if you remember the old computer mouse would have that little trackball on the inside of it and then it would basically just get a whole bunch of lint caked up in there. I think that might be kind of the case here. There is just a little bit of kind of lint and fuzz and stuff like that if we take these buttons out and look at them. So I am going to do a little work on this. I've got - this is not Alka Seltzer - I have got this is just kind of a little bit of soapy mixture and I am just going to take a toothbrush to this. I am going to take that to the exterior of the control pad as well as the interior of these buttons. You do not want to use rubbing alcohol with these little rubber pieces like this. Rubbing alcohol works well in extreme situations, but rubbing alcohol can actually damage the plastic and rubbing alcohol specifically if it is left on these little rubber pieces for a long period of time it can actually start to eat away at it and that is the last thing you want. Because that is going to damage the connectivity that is going to have with the board so we are going to start gentle with just a little soapy mixture. It is just a little dish soap and water so we will start with that and we will use a toothbrush and some Q-tips and we will see how that goes. Okay so I gave this top piece a good scrubbing with some soapy water and a toothbrush and you can already see it looks a hundred times better. I went ahead and rinsed it off in the kitchen sink and now it just - I don't know how it is going to function, but cosmetically it certainly looks a hundred times better. So what I am going to do for now is just set this aside and let it air dry and now I am going to focus my attention on these buttons and see if I can clean these up a little bit as well. So for these buttons they have got - it is plastic on the outside and then on the back of it they have got a little rubber connection piece. So what I am going to do for these, I am going to use the same solution that I did with the exterior and I am just going to dip these in the soapy solution here and clean off this little layer of fuzz and lint that is on the back of these rubber contacts. And once I am done cleaning these off with the soapy water, I am just going to dip it in a glass of clean water to rinse it off. So I cleaned off the arcade stick and the inside of it already looks a hundred times better. I am not sure how much of that has to do with the contacts, but there was a ton of just kind of lint and a little bit of corrosion even on that metal piece in there. So it is definitely starting to look like new. Now that I have got all of these pieces cleaned the way I want to, I am going to set them aside for a little bit and just let them air dry before I put everything back together. So while those are air drying, I am going to turn my attention to the circuitry and board components of the interior of the controller. So this piece is the interior where the buttons connect to all of the little areas on the board and then this portion here with these little rubber connection points is where the joystick would rest. So I don't know if you can see it very well on the video, but there is just a little bit of scuffling here. I am not sure, maybe something was spilled on this controller at one point or another, but there is definitely just a little bit of scoring here and maybe just a little bit of building from something. I don't know if it is just lint over time or if maybe something got spilled on this, so what I am going to use is - first I am going to clean this portion and then I am going to worry about the portion where the joystick rests - what I am going to use here is basically just kind of an alcohol mix. I am just going to use a little bit of isopropyl alcohol on this and a Q-tip and just kind of go over it real gently just to kinda get some of that off and kind of buff that out a little bit. You can already see quite a bit of build up and gunk that is coming off of there just in that little bit of time with the Q-tip so we will definitely keep going and see what we can get off of there. Now I am just going to take the dry end of the Q-tip and just kind of go over this a little bit and just buff it out. Okay so now that we have cleaned that off, that looks pretty good, and the rest of this actually looks like it is in really good shape. I don't think that we need to do any soldering or anything like that. Everything looks like it is pretty good. The Slow Motion switch looks okay. So now I am going to turn my attention to these rubber contacts where the arcade stick rests. For this I am just going to very carefully go over this with the Q-tip and the soapy water. I am going to do it very carefully so as to not get water down around the sides and on the board. I don't think that these come off... oh, maybe they do. Okay. So these actually do come out. Yuck. So the little pieces of the fold just kind of flip down in there. So if you tuck this down in, that is how that goes. So we can tuck that in there to get it back in so what I am going to do is take all of these out and go ahead and clean them as well as try to clean off that little portion of the contacts. This is good because I can clean this off without having to worry about getting soapy water on the internal components here. So at this point everything has had a chance to dry overnight and now it is just time to put all of this back together and see how it works. Okay so everything is back together and it definitely looks a hundred times better. I think I got everything back together the right way. Everything seems to be functioning as it should. The buttons don't seem to stick nearly as bad as they did. In fact, they are not sticking at all now. So cleaning the contacts definitely helped out a lot. Everything looks good. So now it is time to test it out and see how it works! First up, Super Mario World. I've never really been a fan of using controllers like this for platformer games such as Super Mario World. I always feel like the regular SNES controller just feels right for a game like this as opposed to using an arcade stick. But it is responsive and it gets the job done if that is something you want to try. Next up is Gradius III. This is one of my all time favorite space shooter games. I remember renting this game a ton when I was a kid. I have got to say I do like using the arcade stick for this. You can put it into full auto mode and I don't even have to push down on the fire button. You can just let it kind of do its thing and steer. This game has rapid fire anyway whenever you hold down the fire button so you do not really need to use the sliders for anything, but you can use Slow Motion if you want to and that could come in handy. Wing Commander. This is one of my all-time favorite Super Nintendo games. It is a 3-D combat space simulator. I think I actually like using this controller for the game. I'm not sure if I would want to play through the whole game like this, but having the arcade stick to control the 3-D movements of your space fighter is a lot of fun and it is actually very precise. The rapid fire features of the controller are not really applicable and I find myself still wanting to just control the firing mechanism in real-time, but this is a lot of fun and I could see where this would get very addictive. I think this is a lot closer to what the developers were trying to accomplish especially considering the game was originally meant for PC and you would probably be using a PC flight stick in order to play it if you were playing on computer. Next up is Super Mario Kart. I do have to say that like using this controller for this type of game. The 3-D effect is a lot of fun to control with the arcade stick. I never was very good at this game - at least not the Super Nintendo version even before. Probably my version of choice is still the Nintendo 64 version, but this definitely adds a new element to the game and it is quite a bit of fun to play. I would definitely recommend trying this one with the Advantage if you can. Star Fox for Super Nintendo. I actually like using the Advantage on this a lot. The controls on this game were always a little wonky, so the precise movements of the SNES Advantage control stick are actually really helpful. I also like turning on the auto-fire mode and then you can just sit back and steer through the level. The only time you have to be careful with it is if you are trying to bail out Slippy. Otherwise though, this is a lot of fun. I also like the placement of the buttons for this. Having the shoulder buttons on the left and right actually makes a lot of sense for this game and lets you roll left or roll right very easily. Overall, this is a great way to play the game. Next up is Desert Strike. This is a lot of fun to play with the Super Advantage. Controlling your helicopter takes a little getting used to because you have to turn left or right and then throttle forward or backward, but once you get the hang of it, it is actually a lot of fun using the arcade style controller. The only thing that is not really applicable here is the is the rapid fire. Since your helicopter does have limited ammunition, you are going to want to stick to manual mode for firing for this one, but this is a lot of fun and I could definitely see playing through the whole game this way. Super Punch Out! I'll admit, I never was really very good at any of these Punch Out! games. They are a lot of fun to play and certainly the nostalgia factor is high with these games, but I just never was really very good at the precise button combinations that you needed to have in order to beat a lot of the other characters especially on the Nintendo version with Bald Bull and all of those guys. I never really could get very far in that game. Nevertheless, playing this with an arcade stick is a lot of fun. It is just button mashing goodness. I think this is kind of more what the developers were going for when they made this type of game. It is a lot of fun just sitting here mashing the hell out of these arcade buttons and the Super Advantage is definitely sturdy enough to take a little bit of a beating here. Having the Super Advantage probably doesn't really give you a huge edge when you are playing this type of game, but it is just a lot of fun and that is kind of the whole point. F-Zero. This game is pretty much the poster child for Mode 7 3-D graphics on the Super Nintendo. I'll admit I did not play this game very often when I was actually a kid growing up with the Super Nintendo. This was one that I didn't own and it seemed like it was just never in at the movie store where I used to rent games. So I'll admit, I'm actually not very good at this game and I have to say that using an arcade style controller with these 3-D Mode 7 graphics actually feels like I'm getting a legitimate advantage. It feels like the controls are a little more tight especially when I'm steering around narrow curves. I don't really find a need to use the Turbo features on this game since you want to have more precise control over your vehicle's acceleration, but the arcade stick is definitely an improvement over the D-Pad for steering. I have to say that I like this a lot. NBA Jam - now there is an arcade game that everybody has probably played at one point or another. I'll admit though I played this game in the arcade, but I am more familiar with actually playing it on the Super Nintendo. So for me playing this with an arcade style controller actually feels a little foreign. I am more used to playing this with the regular Super Nintendo controller and although this is fun, I think I would actually prefer the regular controller over the arcade stick. Still though this is easy to pick up and play and I could see how it would probably be a lot of fun if you had two of these and had a couple of friends over for an NBA Jam marathon. So for me I would say this controller is not bad for this game, but I would stick to the original. However, if you were used to playing this in the arcade, you might actually like the Super Advantage. Whatever works best for you. Street Fighter II - This is probably the one that everybody is curious about. For me, I'm used to playing this game at home and not in the arcade so I'm actually more used to using the Super Nintendo controller as opposed to an arcade stick. My biggest complaint with these types of games in general when playing with an arcade stick is that I can never really get the special moves to work right. It is a lot more precise when you are using the D-Pad to try to pull off your character's special moves. So for me that is kind of a deal breaker when using this type of controller for a fighting game. I also have to say that the button placement probably isn't optimal for this type of game and I can see why that would be a complaint. These types of games are usually separated into three types of punches and three types of kicks. So having two buttons on the top row and four buttons on the bottom row is a little confusing. You can kind of draw a line between the two sets of three buttons in your mind and know that the punch buttons are going to be on the left and the kick buttons are going to be on the right, but it is still a little awkward when you are in the middle of combat trying to remember which is which. I am sure with a little practice I could probably get used to it, but I think I just like the regular controller better. I like being able to use the controller to pull off the special moves and frankly the controls feel a little loose for this type of game. I am not sure if that is an issue with this game specifically or with this controller, but it is just something I noticed while I was playing. I am not really sure how I would use the Turbo feature on this game either. One thing you can do is is if you're playing as Blanka, one of his special moves is if you just rapidly attack, he will stand there and charge like a bolt of lightening and any time the other character touches you, he takes damage. So theoretically you could sit here and put it in full-auto mode, crank the slider all the way to the right and then just not even touch the controller. It's a little cheeky, but it's an option. So overall for using the Super Advantage on Street Fighter II, I'd have to say thumbs down, maybe thumbs in the middle. It is alright and if you are used to playing this game in the arcade, you might have a little better luck with it, but it is just not for me. Ms. Pac Man - An arcade classic with an arcade controller. This just feels right. If you don't have an arcade nearby or the money to buy an arcade cabinet, this is probably one of the best ways to play this game in the modern era. What can you say, it's Ms. Pac Man. This is just the way the game is supposed to be played. In fact if you like arcade games, pick up a copy of Williams Arcade's Greatest Hits and just go to town. This is awesome and definitely feels like being back in the arcade again! Defender, Joust, Robotron - this is definitely one of the best ways to play some of these arcade classics. Just wanted to say thank you for watching and thank you for checking out the channel. If you enjoyed this, feel free to Like the video and you can also subscribe for all of our other retro gaming goodies. Thanks for watching everybody and we will see you next time on Friday Night Arcade.



Founding drummer Spencer Seim first began playing video game music after going to a talent show in Nevada City, California, where he met a duo who played songs from game soundtracks.[2] He then joined that group, but its two other members moved to Milwaukee soon after, so he founded The Advantage with three high school bandmates (Nick Rogers, Carson McWhirter, and Ben Milner) to continue playing video game music.[2] The group attracted the attention of Kill Rock Stars subsidiary label 5 Rue Christine, who signed them and released their self-titled debut album in 2004.[2] The album featured 26 covers of songs from Nintendo games.[3] Initially, McWhirter arranged the compositions for the ensemble, but over time, they began working out their own parts independently by listening to the game soundtracks.[4]

During the tour of their debut album the band released, Da Advantage EP, in 2004 through their own label T.A.R. (The Advantage Records) and sold it at shows. Rather than relying on keyboards or sampling to evoke the band's source material, their recordings covered tunes from the games through standard rock instrumentation - guitar, bass, and drums.[5] Pitchfork Media praised the album, noting, "the simplicity and melodic strength of the source material focuses the players, and the players flesh out the source material beyond its original technological limitations."[6]

In 2006, Rogers left the group and guitarist Robby Moncrieff joined for their second full length record, Elf Titled, also released on 5RC Records.[2] Allmusic noted that Elf Titled featured several covers of songs from less-well-known Nintendo games.[7] This album featured vocals on one track, as well as introducing some synthesized instrumentation.[8] The band released their second EP, Underwear: So Big! EP, through their own Advantage Records label during their 2006 tour and sold it at shows. After the release of Elf Titled, the band toured for a short while before entering a hiatus. By this time Seim and McWhirter had released several albums as part of the group Hella.[9]

In 2010 a compilation album, B-Sides Anthology, was released by Obstructive Vibrations in digital download format. It contains all of the material from Da Advantage EP and all of the material from the Underwear: So Big! EP (except for track 3, Gradius II - Boss) plus a few extra rare tracks. The band also played a brief tour in 2010 mostly in Japan.

In recent years the band has been releasing material on their own label, The Advantage Records (T.A.R.) through their Bandcamp page. They released a compilation album of edited tracks in 2013 from the Self Titled, Elf Titled, and B-Sides albums titled Edits. In 2014 the band released the live album Live from: The Great American Music Hall. It contains tracks from the February 27, 2004 live performance at The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco where they opened with Ester Drang for John Vanderslice and Pedro the Lion at the 2004 Noise Pop Music Festival. The band also released a live album in 2013 called Rock Bottom: Live from Bottom of the Hill which consists of songs from the June 24, 2006 live performance at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco, CA. It was re-released on June 24, 2016 for the 10 year anniversary of the show with better audio and minor corrections. On June 25, 2016, Bottom Line: Live from Bottom of the Hill was released.

The Advantage have covered songs from these NES games: Air Fortress, Batman: The Video Game, Batman: Return of the Joker, Bubble Bobble, Bionic Commando, Blaster Master, Bomberman II, Castlevania, Castlevania II, Castlevania III, Contra, Double Dragon II, Double Dragon III, DuckTales, Fester's Quest, Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy III, Ghosts 'N Goblins, Goonies II, Gradius II, Gremlins 2: The New Batch, The Guardian Legend, Karnov, The Legend of Zelda, Marble Madness, Mega Man II, Mega Man III, Metal Gear, Metroid, Ninja Gaiden, Ninja Gaiden II, Solar Jetman, Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario Bros. 3, TMNT, TMNT II, Willow, and Wizards & Warriors.


  • Robby Moncrieff (guitar)
  • Ben Milner (guitar)
  • Carson McWhirter (bass)
  • Spencer Seim (drums)
  • Nick Rogers (guitar & bass)
  • Forrest Harding (guitar)
  • Cassie Stewart (bass)


  • The Advantage (April 6, 2004) 5 Rue Christine Records
  • Da Advantage EP - 2004 Tour CD (October, 2004) The Advantage Records
  • Elf Titled (January 24, 2006) 5 Rue Christine Records
  • Underwear: So Big! EP - 2006 Tour CD (August 2006) The Advantage Records
  • B-Sides Anthology (September 7, 2010) Obstructive Vibrations
  • Edits (Oct 31, 2013) The Advantage Records (T.A.R.)
Live releases
  • Live from: The Great American Music Hall (February 27, 2014) The Advantage Records
  • Rock Bottom: Live from Bottom of the Hill (June 24, 2016) The Advantage Records
  • Bottom Line: Live from Bottom of the Hill (June 25, 2016) The Advantage Records


External links

This page was last edited on 24 May 2018, at 16:39
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