“Yell to Press B” Mod Makes N64 Controller Worse

There’s probably no reason anyone would actually desire a mod like this. Well, no good reason. But [William Osman] had been pondering what it would be like to play some classic games with inputs other than buttons, and decided to make an audio sensor responsible for pressing the B button on an old N64 controller. This “Yell To Press B” mod was also something unique to show his hosts when he visited the YouTube video game aficionados, [Game Grumps].

[William] acknowledges that the build is a bit of a hack job, but the project page does a good job of documenting his build process and covering the kinds of decisions involved in interfacing to a separate piece of hardware. After all, most budding hackers have sooner or later asked themselves “how do I make my gadget press a button on this other thing?” [William] ends up using a small relay to close the connection between the traces for the B button when triggered by a microphone module, but he points out that it should be possible to do a non-destructive version of the mod. Examples exist of reading the N64 controller’s state with an Arduino, which could form the basis of a man-in-the-middle approach of “Yell To Press B” (or anything else) instead of soldering to the button contacts. A video is embedded below, in which you can watch people struggle to cope with the bizarre mod.

N64 controllers have a special significance to its fans, who are prepared to go to impressive lengths such as a re-engineered N64 analog stick thanks to 3D printing. The N64 console itself has been modded to be portable, complete with a screen embedded into a cartridge body. Even the software gets hacked, as we’ve seen with Ocarina of Time rendered in stereoscopic 3D, with a VR “stage” taking the place of a screen.

8 thoughts on ““Yell to Press B” Mod Makes N64 Controller Worse

  1. Even easier than reading and injecting a button state into the relatively fast serial stream to the n64 would be to directly drive the button pin. If the buttons are read in parallel then it is as easy as pulling it low for press and set the pin to input (Hi-z) when not pressed (assuming the buttons are active low with pullups). If the buttons are read in a matrix then just use a pin change interrupt to wait for the row/column scan from the controller and then set the output pin to the according state to trigger the button press during the scan event and release after.

  2. In 1987, Access Incorporated released a C64 game called ECHELON, which came with an oddball controller called the “LipStik” (by analogy to joystick, I hope?). The LipStik was a headset with exactly this circuit — yell to press the Fire button on port 2! Your regular joystick plugged into port 1.

    The manual cautions against laughing during combat, as it may inadvertently fire your weapons, if they’re armed. (Thankfully, disarming was a quick smack of an F-key, so you could talk to people!)

    I played this game a lot as a kid, and just recently at VCFMW, I picked up a sealed-new-in-box copy of it. I’m sure the mic windscreen foam has turned to dust, but the rest might still work!

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