Tag Archives: Baron von Brunk

Maker builds a giant LEGO NES controller

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.

Relive those Super Mario Bros. days with these musical LED sprite pieces

Remember the days of slipping a Super Mario cartridge into your Nintendo console? Who could forget those distinct chiptune soundbites that ensued hitting a power-up?

If you recall, the retro game included a multitude of power boosters, such as Starmen and Super Mushrooms, which allowed Mario to morph into Super Mario and experience temporary invincibility, respectively.


Inspired by the ‘80s pop culture phenomenon, Maker Baron von Brunk has created mini 3D pixelated versions of the iconic Starman and Super Mushroom entirely from LEGO pieces, and impressively, rigged with a circuit to play sound and flash LED lights. Inside each model lies an ATtiny85, which is programmed with an Arduino code that enable the eyes to blink in sync with the tone music (not WAVs or MP3s) with a push a small tactile button.


First, von Brunk designed three stars (glowing yellow, ice blue, gold) to play the invincibility theme, whilst the fourth star (rainbow) emits the Super Mario Bros. 3 “Coin Heaven” music and uses color-changing eyes.

Similarly, in his second build, the Maker tasked various colored mushrooms with various sounds. For instance, both of the green mushrooms (white with green dots and green with white dots) use an Arduino melody version of the “1-up” tune traditionally used in the Super Mario franchise, while the red hat variants sound small segments of both Super Mario World’s “Overworld” and “World Ending” themes.


“You’re absolutely free to deviate from my musical codes and swap out any music you’d like, so long as you know how to tweak the Arduino code and manipulate notes. I personally recommend using the Super Mario World and Super Mario 3 songs for their corresponding mushrooms to maintain video game accuracy,” von Brunk notes.

Ready to spark up some gaming nostalgia? You can access a detailed breakdown of both projects on the Maker’s official Instructables page here. Meanwhile, watch both creations in action below!