Just the right controller for any game

[Patrice] hacked all of his classic controllers for use when playing games on an emulator. He made the base station starting with a USB gaming controller. From there he soldered wires connecting the PCB pads for all of the buttons to the pins of a d-sub connector. The same is done on the classic controller, allowing him to switch them out at will. If you do the wiring correctly you only need to configure your emulator buttons once. This is a lot easier than trying to find and use classic controller connectors but you do have to alter that vintage hardware.


  1. Rocks25 says:

    Now that’s awesome.

    (first comment)

  2. emilio says:

    this is a simple hack that shows some love and dedication – it’s great!

    suggestion: make a series of controller adapter cables with original connectors OR use a moldable material (silicone or that custom earplug stuff) and some bits of Molex connectors. that way, no modification is necessary to the cables, the adapter box remains compact, and you can still use original connectors if you come across them.

  3. Ryan Leach says:

    i was planning on doing this one day but reverse engineering all the protocols or using already established librarys, MURDER, but if your fine with that go ahead.

  4. This is F-in AWESOME!!! This has totally made my day! I’ve spent to much on usb adaptors…

  5. MissingFrame says:

    Good collection, but I want to see a neGcon!

  6. strider_mt2k says:

    VERY nice!

  7. Osgeld says:

    “i was planning on doing this one day but reverse engineering all the protocols or using already established librarys, MURDER, but if your fine with that go ahead.”

    considering upto the playstation almost all game pads worked the same way you must have not researched your plan well

  8. mike says:

    Perfect timing, man. I was planning to do similar with some DDR pads I’m building so they can be used on more than one type of machine (or PC).

  9. sillyzombie666 says:

    thats a waste of the super game boy controller, i looked em up and they are about $50 +

  10. Liam Crayden says:

    This is very similar to the retro adapter by Paul Qureshi, which was covered by the BBC: http://denki.world3.net/retro_v2.html

    All the hardware is open source and the support is brilliant. Anyone looking to use old controllers on emulators using a standard USB HID device should definately attempt to make one, just for old times sake if nothing else.

  11. pat47200 says:

    New Photo with all 14 hacked classic controllers here:

  12. MS3FGX says:

    So nobody is bothered by the fact that all of those retro controllers were destroyed in the process?

  13. loans says:


    I wouldn’t say they were destroyed. He modified them such that he will be able to continue to use them.

  14. nubie says:

    I don’t get why he didn’t just make a version with controller ports and an Atmega running http://www.obdev.at/products/vusb/index.html like everyone else does.

    I get that some of the controller plugs are hard to source.

    I suppose this way frees him of the tangle of cords problem.

    Why not make a wireless dongle at this point too?
    Use industrial velcro to hold a transmitter with a cellphone battery to the bottom of the controller.

    Neat, at least he is thinking outside the box, would be cool if he can connect them to an Xbox for emulation, or some other console capable of emulation. Or even make a smartphone/PDA cradle version for on-the-go gaming with retro controllers.

    (Are all those 2-button retro-cons NES? The black ones look funny.)

  15. nubie says:

    Wow, I am impressed after checking out the site (too bad he missed the VirtualBoy, but 3D emulators for that are hard to run on a PC, hardware wise)

    I like that he includes an external USB and onboard USB 4GB for emulators.

    Some of his modified controllers:
    Super Gameboy
    Master System

  16. Hirudinea says:

    I am posting this to alt.nerd.obsessive as we speak.

  17. Jake Turner says:

    This kinda makes me jealous a bit, I thought of this years ago after I retrofitted both an xbox1 and SNES controller in this manner. I wired a 15 pin connector into the button traces of the xbox1 controller, leaving the rest of the circuitry stock, then proceeded to cut the traces that led to the IC in the SNES controller, and wired the button traces on it to a cable with the corresponding DB15 connector. You could plug it into the xbox1 controller, and use the SNES controller with Zsnesbox. I had plans to install a rumble motor inside the SNES controller for use with some games. I also planned to make a unit that would work with multiple controllers.

    Here’s my post on xbox scene:


  18. Amos says:

    Waste of time since all you need is an SNES pad (best pad EVAR!) unless, like nubie said, you want to play VB (BTW, have you tried Mednafen 0.9b, nubie?)

    Still, an impressive piece of hackery. I thought the bubble-wrap and instruction manual were a bit overkill, but to each his own…

  19. PocketBrain says:

    I did something similar with a SNES joystick and a $4 PS1 controller. I used a PATA ribbon cable (40-cond.) to make the connections. You can open up the stick and swap between SNES and PS controllers. I had an idea to make a cartridge/cord so I could adapt it to any system in the future; it wouldn’t be much of a task to add this to USB. Hmmm… I do have that USB wireless controller still sitting in a box…. hmmmmm….. MayHapp I can play SF4 as intended. I wonder where I could pick up extra buttons?

  20. DanAdamKOF says:

    This method of padhacking has been around for a while but it’s still nicely done in this implementation.

  21. Scott V. says:

    …. and there that is. There’s nothing new and groundbreaking here, but how he implemented it is very cool, and having one cable to use them all is really nice for organization and freeing yourself up from clutter.

    Yes, he used some more rare controllers, but let’s face it, if you have the money for these mods, you probably have the money to get another genuine controller! :)

  22. monkeyfart ninja man123 says:

    I have no idea how to do anything. :(

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