Wireless Controllers For Retro Gaming

There’s no limit to the amount of nostalgia that can be minted through various classic platforms such as the NES classic. The old titles are still extremely popular, and putting them in a modern package makes them even more accessible. On the other hand, if you still have the original hardware things can start getting fussy. With modern technology it’s possible to make some changes, though, as [PJ Allen] did by adding wireless capabilities to his Commodore 64.

Back when the system was still considered “modern”, [PJ] tried to build a wireless controller using DTMF over FM radio. He couldn’t get it to work exactly right and ended up shelving the project until the present day. Now, we have a lot more tools at our disposal than analog radio, so he pulled out an Arduino and a few Bluetooth modules. There’s a bit of finesse to getting the old hardware to behave with the modern equipment, though, but once [PJ] worked through the kinks he was able to play his classic games like Defender without the limitations of wired controllers.

The Commodore 64 was incredibly popular in the ’80s and early ’90s, and its legacy is still seen today. People are building brand new machines, building emulators for them, or upgrading their hardware.

5 thoughts on “Wireless Controllers For Retro Gaming

  1. Adding bluetooth controller to C64: Neat!
    Rolling your own controller so you can use accelerometer controls instead of joysticks: Dumb, both because using motion controls on a C64 game is dumb and because even if you insisted on it there are already cheap bluetooth gamepads with that functionality.

    1. Hmmm… Did you ever wonder why there are so many puzzle magazines? People just like a challenge, there is nothing dumb about wanting to solve a problem that hunts you from way back. So this guy solved that problem and perhaps you might find the destination of his project not interesting I’m sure that the guy who build it found it to be a great journey.
      If you want projects that make sense, then perhaps hackaday isn’t the website for you.
      Fun project.

    2. Agreed. IMHO three options are acceptable. Take an original c64 joystick and make an interface for that, use a playstation 3/4 controller or use an xbox 360/one controller. Anything else is really a waste of time. I love the project, it’s just practicality goes out the window when you cobble together your own gamepad.

  2. So, will this work on the many flat screen TV’s my company has hanging in various workspaces?
    (they have a policy that prevents us from “attaching” personal equipment to company equipment)

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.