Building your own arcade controls isn't for everyone. If you're looking for something more than keyboard control, but aren't quite ready/willing to build or buy a full blown arcade control setup, something here might suit the bill. Interfacing a game console controller to your PC, hooking arcade controls to your game console, etc... Those are the things you might find here.
NOTE - information
on buying arcade cabinets and desktop arcade consoles has been moved to
it's own page.
New page - Game Console Hacking moved to it's own page.
Section being revamped!
|Console Controller Adapters
|Game Console Hacking
|(Click link below for more information)
|Gravis GamePad Pro
|SNES Pad Support Site
|Stephan Hans' Nintendo 64 project
|Simon Nield's N64 & Playstation USB interface
|Simon Nield's MegaTap - 4 PSX pads via LPT port
|N64 & PSX parallel port adapter writeups
|(Click link below for more information)
|PSX adapters from Emulition
|Dreamstation PSX to Dreamcast adapter
|INTV2PC Intellivision controller
|For Macintosh folks - the Joyport!
|Game Station X's technical info
|Stephan Hans technical info
|Imagination Works Computer Technologies
|NeoGeo Pad on PC
|Axman's N64/PSX interfaces
|NES pad to PC adapter
|JUMP - Joystick Unit Multi Port
|DigitalPuppy's Escape: SNES Gamepads to PC Parallel Port
Generally though, the vendors currently mentioned in this FAQ are great people to work with. Many of them regularly offer their expertise for free on the message board, giving away advice and techniques that could conceivably be costing them in lost sales opportunities. Whenever possible, I post feedback both good and bad in the reviews section of the main FAQ.
The best place to get opinions on a vendor you're thinking of doing business with is on the message board. Also, I'd strongly urge you to do two things: 1. Pay by credit card - this gives you various protections. 2. Insist that the vendor not charge your card until the product actually ships.
SUGGESTION: Before you do business with a vendor, ask on the message board as to their current status. Things tend to change quickly :) Also - if you've had noteworth service, be it good or bad, post it for all to see!
This section is about hacking game consoles to accept arcade controls, interface game consoles into arcade cabinets, etc... It is not about mod chips, running burned games, etc... If you're looking for hacking the internals of the console check out GameStationX.
If this section gets big enough, it'll warrant it's own page. This section will *only* grow by user submissions, as I have little to no experience with game consoles. This is very much a WIP right now.
|Gravis Gamepad Pro
The Gravis Gamepad Pro Unofficial Tech Page (*phew*) has some information on getting this programmable gamepad to function in a variety of games and emulators.
|There are multiple sites on the web offering products to interface existing Sega Genesis/Nintendo/Super Nintendo/Atari style joysticks and gamepads to your PC. These come in a variety of flavors/styles. Some interface to the joystick port, some to the keyboard port, and some to the parallel port. Some require software drivers, some don't. The sites offering such things that I've found are:
|DirectPad Pro is a combination software/hardware interface for hooking up various game pads to your computer. It currently supports Nintendo 64, Sony Playstation (force feedback!), TurboGraFX, Saturn, Genesis, Jaguar, SNES, NES, and Atari VCS controls. Because the hardware plans are for you to build, the cost is only your time and the cost of the parts. These devices hook up through your parallel port, and should be automatically useable by any DirectX game.
is a freeware software package by Benji York. It is the software interface
used to connect a parallel port adapter device to your joystick/gamepad.
Benji has circuit diagrams online for building your own interface.
SNESKEY features support for up to 5 SNES/NES controllers (in addition
to the normal PC joystick) for up to 6 player action. Other devices are
supported as well as NES/SNES. His latest addition is for Playstation controllers!
SNESKEY is no longer under development unfortunately. Benji last
posted an update to Sneskey called Sneskey9x for Windows95. He's
also added support for arcade controllers! From a message he posted:
|Dennis Brown has started a new project to interface Nintendo 64 controllers to a PC, most likely via a parallel port. He is seeking any information on the Nintendo 64 controllers available, and can be emailed about it here. This page appears to be dead. See next link.
|Stephan Hans (Many
projects), Simon Nield, Earle F.P. III (DirectPad),
and Benji York (SNESkey)
have been collaborating on connecting a Nintendo 64 controller, and it
is now a reality. Stephan has posted the hardware portion of it,
along with some test programs, on his Nintendo
64 controller page. DirectPadPro has been updated to include
drivers for the N64 interface now! Excellent work guys! Stephan
has replaced the Y-adapter previously being sold with a new dual-interface
adapter (in other words, instead of two single interfaces and a Y-adapter,
now you just need one dual interface). This requires at least version
5 of DirectPad Pro.
Stephan is no longer selling N64 adapters. Information left up in case he starts again.
|Apparently with Stephan's blessing (in fact, linked off of Stephan's page), the PC-Doctor is also selling N64 interfaces based off of the above circuit. His pricing matches that of Stephans, and can be purchased online.
|Stephan Hans has updated
to include some information for people who have had problems getting their
adapters to work with their parallel ports. Apparently, not all parallel
ports are built the same, and there are some voltage problems. Electronics
being Stephan's bread and butter, he zaps
this problem handily :) Furthermore, he discusses this:
|Simon Nield, one of the folks who worked on the N64 parallel port adapter with Stephan, has been at work on a USB console adapter interface. Currently with support for N64 and Playstation pads, he's looking at possibly adding SNES pads next. Circuit diagrams and construction notes are up on the site now, so those of you with the desire and expertise should take a look :) There's some thought that it might work for Mac USB ports as well as PC! He's indicated that there is someone who might be willing to offer pre-made interfaces soon.
|Simon Nield also has a page up for his modification of the Playstation/DirectPadPro interface, called the MegaTap. It allows for 4 (or more?) Playstation pads hooked up at once via LPT port! His warning, the circuit is not for beginners and he won't be doing email support on it, but it looks good :)
|I found an excellent
writeup of the N64&
parallel port interfaces on Emulatronia.
It's written in Spanish, but has incredibly detailed graphics
and a very easy to follow circuit diagram. If you've been thinking
of building one of these interfaces, even if you don't speak Spanish, you
should take a look. A downloadable English version of the PSX interface
writeup is available from their web site here.
Thanks to Dennis, we now have an English
translation of the N64 writeup! Thanks Dennis!
Also, ^Techie^ has written up a review of the parallel port N64 interface from Stephan and Simon. He has pictures, an English component list, and a step-by-step guide to building the interface. Hosted at EmuHQ.
|Ultimate Videogame Accessories is selling the Smart Joydapter that allows you to hook up your N64 or PSX controller to your PC. Details on the product are scarce, but it's $35 per adapter, plus $10 for shipping/handling (what exactly is handling anyway?). It now supports up to 20 buttons, and has USB capability. There is no force feedback/rumble pack support. Anyone ordering one want to comment? Thanks to Ben for the news!
|Nthero sent me an email that he'd found the Smart Joydapter available from the A.I. Trading Co. for $17.00! The downside is that it's in HongKong, so shipping & handling may eat up the savings from the $45 price from UVA. Anyone who finds out please let me know? Thanks for the email Nthero! The interesting thing I saw on their page was that it is 4 or 6 button joystick compatible, so you will get limited use as compared to building the do-it-yourself interface.
|INTV2PC - Division Software has released an interface for hooking up Intellivision controllers to your PC. It works with the Blue Sky Rangers Intellivision PC emulator, and does not appear to function with other programs or with the Mac version of the emulator. You must supply your own Intellivision controller. This looks like a must have if you're an Intellivision fan!
|Jafu sells a PSX gamepad adapter for the PC for $17 shipped, and has several good feedback comments on his message board about the quality of his cables.
Works Computer Technologies is another vendor selling console adapter
interfaces. They sell a bunch of adapters for game console controllers
that use either SNESKEY or DirectPadPro.
|SNES Pad Support Site - Chippy has put together a wonderful site dedicated to disseminating information on hooking up SNES controllers to your PC, and also urging various game/emulator authors to add native support for SNES pads. In his own words, "I have created this site in an effort to raise awareness among people about the SNES game pads they probably already own. Did you know that with a simple adapter, and software support, you could use this excellent joypad on your PC?" His site includes how to guides, links, information on what emulators currently support SNES pads, etc. Definitly worth a visit if you want to use SNES controllers!
|Kernel Productions JoyPort for the Macintosh - Kernel Productions has a product called the Joyport that will allow you to connect Atari, Playstation, N64, Sega Genesis, and PC controllers into your Macintosh. Models exist for the ADB port, and USB port (iMac). It even supports the N64 Rumblepack and the Sony Playstation Dual Shock controllers! PC users are already turning green with envy. The cost is $54.95 including shipping. Big thanks to Bryan for the tip!
|Game Station X has a great section called Controller Data, with a good primer on on Controller Theory (analog, digital, etc), as well as pinouts and details on 7 different console controllers. A good read if you're interested in the general principles or want to design a hack.
|While surfing through
the Build Your
Own Arcade-Style Controls site (no affiliation, but a good site), I
came across some interesting links, including this one: Ultimate
Video Game Accessories sells a product called the Dreamstation that
apparently lets you use your PSX controllers in a Dreamcast machine, with
the Dreamcast rumble stuff supported. You can read a review on the
- there are some drawbacks to the Dreamstation so read the review first
if you're considering one.
Several folks have asked recently if anyone knew of any arcade stick hacks for the Dreamcast, as it has a fairly unique controller. Now you might consider hacking a PSX pad, and hooking it up via this adapter to your Dreamcast, and... *presto* -- Anyone doing this please let me know how it works!
|Magnet Eye passed on
to me heads up about another N64 to USB interface called the Adaptoid.
It not only allows you to use your N64 controller on a PC via USB port,
it also supports rumble-to-force feedback. If you've already gotten
one, you need to download the latest drivers if you haven't. From
their web site:
The latest driver is 1.2.78 (beta) which has a brand new rumble effects engine which greatly improves DirectX force feedback over the previous driver. As with the last driver release, it has support for Win2000, rumble support for multiple adaptoids simultaneously, allows rearranging of the controller button ordering, and has a driver installer/uninstaller. See the readme file for complete details.
Zerofil clued me in to his site, Zerofil's Neo Pad on PC. This is a write up of how to use a Neo Geo game controller on a PC using an SNES pad as a relay. Very cool. Thanks Zerofil!
NES gamepad to PC Adapter
J.U.M.P. - Joystick Unit Multi-Port
DigitalPuppy's Escape: SNES Gamepads to PC Parallel Port
The Twisty Grip page started as a StarWars style yoke controller. They have since expanded to offer blueprints, spinners, and free build-your-own spinner instructions. The creator is a great guy, with quick responses to my emails, and is another contributor to the message board. Nothing but good reports on TwistyGrip.
From their web page:
By 1997 the game was headed towards oblivion. Fortunately, today's personal computers were able to play the original Star Wars program for free. They used a special program called Mame. But that special controller was nowhere to be found.
Twisty-Grip is a yoke that acts like an analog joystick! It uses a two-handed grip to control the X and Y position of a game. It has a trigger for each finger and a fire button for each thumb. The electronics of the yoke are identical to a 4-button, 2-axis joystick. Currently, some MAME-emulated games have trouble with a joystick (e.g. RoadBlasters and Super-Sprint ). If you want to use the yoke with an unlisted game, make sure you can play the game with a joystick first. The Twisty-Grip connects via joystick port.
The link you were looking
for can now be found on the ForSale
page. If you linked from somewhere else in BYOAC, please email
saint to update the link (full details please).