Using An NES Controller With An Atari 2600

Instructibles user [Danjovic] managed to get his hands on an Atari 2600, but all the joysticks were damaged beyond repair. Instead of building an atari joystick from scratch, he looked to a slightly newer generation of gaming and decided to us an NES controller instead. This was done fairly easily with the aide of an Arduino.

This seems like a nice easy mod that could breathe a little new life into some old games, but we just can’t imagine playing without that original joystick!

17 thoughts on “Using An NES Controller With An Atari 2600

  1. I’m all for Micro controllers, and sure you spare hacking apart a perfectly good NES controller, but all you really needed to do was open her up, take out the shift register, and solder the atari wires to the right DIP hole.

    1. When i was about 11, My Dad did exactly that to convert a spare nes controller for use with my C=64.
      I’m fairly certain he ditched the nes cord, pulled the shift register and soldered the leads from the 9pin lead wire to the appropriate points on shift registers through holes.
      This must have around 1990.

      1. My dad also did this back in the day without a microcontroller. There were two cables coming out of the controller, one with normal NES and another with the standard Atari plug. It was quite handy to have.

  2. isnt the arduino just as powerful? lol ironic isnt it?

    ah, marr the old and new, you know the old saying;
    “whats old is new and whats new is old again!” XD

    PS: in case its confusing,,, im not for or against this hack, unless the arduino is temporary until a better solution… in that case its awesome cuz it takes 5 mins to solder and code to get the atari up and running, until appropriate parts are accuired. :)

  3. I did this over 10 years ago. Still have it too. Keep it simple. I did the same thing Ravyne suggested. Just solder the wires from the Atari’s joystick cord to where the connections are made when you press a control on the NES. Easy!

    1. You’ve either never truly played an Atari, you’re trolling or joking. Not sure, don’t care. But for those who don’t know, the Atari controller was prone to breaking. They used to sell repair kits for them. Not to mention the blisters you could get from it.

  4. Nothing can beat the original controller when playing Asteroids! I hook mine up from time to time just for it! And for replacement joysticks, just like for flashback ones, they’re the same thing basically!

  5. I just acquired a 2600 from the side of the road and have been progressively getting it working again. I tried a Megadrive (Genesis for Americans) controller but the UP direction didn’t work. Are they definitely 100% compatible or just 80% compatible?

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