Homegrown USB NES Controller

Now this is a cool hardware hack.

Dude at work (let’s call him 2Swing) took it upon himself to mod an original NES controller to work over USB, so he could play NES games on his PowerBook. While already commercially available (and a knock-off), 2Swing did this on his own… as a one-off… at home. To me, that’s the coolest thing about it.

Here’s how he did it.

2Swing bought an original NES serial-bus controller, and spliced on your standard USB cable with a Type A connector. Then, he reprogrammed the NES controller’s chip; instead of sensing the individual DIs (digital on/off inputs from the buttons), he took the original stream of serial data and converted it to standard USB. Sure, USB is a serial bus… but it’s a way newer technology (and standard) than that used on the NES.

The final piece of the puzzle was the Nestopia NES emulator for OS X. In the following photos, 2Swing is running a 1.33GHz G4 PowerBook (12”) and OS X 10.4.x (Tiger) complete with Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!!



You may be asking: “Didn’t 2Swing just buy that Retrozone thing and fool you, Gary?” I seriously doubt it… considering one of his many responsibilities at work is… um… USB hardware engineer.

Posted in Mac