Baron von Brunk has created a fully-functional, Arduino-powered NES controller out of LEGO.
The original Nintendo controller is arguably one of, if not, the most iconic gaming accessories of our generation. After all, who could forget the clickety clack of the red “A” and “B” buttons and the black directional pad? Well, Maker Baron von Brunk — who you may recall from his Super Mario Bros. LEGO sprites — decided to pay homage to the device by building a freakin’ huge NES controller out of giant LEGO bricks and a series of tiles.
The gargantuan project was developed back in 2012 and released in 2013. At the time, it had used the circuitry from the original controller that was hacked apart and reattached to play actual NES games. Recently, von Brunk decided to revisit his earlier creation and make some changes, which included its aesthetics and electronics. In fact, he even used LEGO pieces to make the text.
The fully-functional LEGO gamepad sits atop a large folding table and features removable tiled plates as its ceiling. For this version, von Brunk removed the inner workings of the previous piece and employed an Arduino to serve as the brains of the operation. Unfortunately, this meant he could now only play computer games.
The embedded circuit powered is powered by an Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4), which is wired to eight momentary pushbuttons sitting beneath the large LEGO buttons suspended with Technic shock absorbers. When pressed, the bottoms make contact with the pushbuttons, thereby sending an electrical signal back to the Arduino, which is connected to the PC via USB.
von Brunk wrote an Arduino code that assigns the digital output pins to act as keyboard signals. He used an external gamepad and calibrated its buttons, which the computer reads as keystrokes. All of this is explained in his video below.
Interested? Be sure to watch it in action, as well as check out the first edition of the LEGO NES controller here.