Tag Archives: NES

Rewind: 30 projects from 2015 that gamers will love

A look at some gaming-inspired projects that caught our attention over the last 12 months. 


A credit card-sized device that allows you to play, program and share 8-bit games.


A shrunken-down cabinet that lets you relive the golden age of arcade games.

8-Person NES

A system that transforms 8-bit side-scrolling games into a totally immersive multi-player experience.

Tetris MicroCard


An ATmega32U4-powered gadget that puts Tetris right in your wallet.



A hardware anti-cheat solution for online gaming.

MAME Game Machine

A game machine driven by a Cosino Mega 2560 (running the AdvanceMAME) with a 7″ LCD display and an Xbox-compatible joystick.

Grand Theft Auto iPhone App

An Arduino Leonardo, an Ethernet shield and a PC enables your iPhone to be used as a GTA controller.

Auto-Leveling Destiny Robot

A robotic mechanism comprised of a servo motor, an Xbox controller and an Arduino Uno that allows you to level up in Destiny without even lifting a finger.


A creative way to play classic video games on your TV from an overclocked Arduino Pro Mini.


A glove that lets you sense and interact with virtual objects onscreen and in your VR headset.

KADE miniConsole+

An open source gadget that allows you to play all old-school games with their original controllers.


An Arduino-driven band designed to make it feel as though you’re hitting and being struck in VR games.

Bedroom Cockpit

A full-scale Cessna 172 cockpit simulator, complete with everything from pedals that control actual airplane rudders and brakes, to a steering yoke, to an Oculus Rift running Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D software.

Scrapyard Simulator

An actual dashboard for a truck simulator.

Dashboard Simulator

A real dashboard for your car simulator.

Arduino Game Boy

A super-sized Arduboy.

Tetris on an ARM Cortex-M4 MCU


A game of Tetris on an Atmel | SMART SAM4S MCU.


An Arduino-programmable keychain game.

Super Hexagon

An Arduino Nano attached to a fan blade displays Super Hexagon in a more “circular” format.

Claw Machine

A DIY claw machine that’s faster, fairer and more controllable than anything found in yesterday’s arcades.

Storefront Pong

An interactive storefront game played on a giant 6 x 8 pixel grid display comprised of 18.5” bulbs illuminated by ultra-bright NeoPixel rings.


A fully-interactive bike trainer specifically designed to deliver engaging fitness sessions through VR headsets and external screens.

Doorstop Game

A one-dimensional dungeon crawler game that uses a doorstop spring as its controller and an LED strip as its display.


A motion control ring that enables you to play games and control apps with simple gestures.

Pico Cassettes

An old-school gaming cartridge for your smartphone.

TeleBall BreakOut

A retro-style handheld gaming device.

DIY Game Boy

A portable, 3D-printed console embedded with a Raspberry Pi and Teensy 2.0.

Barebones Console

An extremely low-cost, minimalist gaming console that will take you back to a much blockier 8-bit era.

Arcade-Style Puzzle Box

A vintage, arcade-style puzzle box that resembles the ubiquitous wooden audio equipment of the ‘70s.

UFO Escape Keychain Game

A game of UFO Escape on your keychain? Sure, why not?


An 8-bit instant photo camera masquerading as a toy gun, which consists of an old Game Boy, a camera, a thermal printer and an Arduino.

Turning an NES into the ultimate 8-bit game console

This system transforms 8-bit side-scrolling console video games into totally immersive multiplayer experiences.

There’s no denying the nostalgic appeal of blowing into a Super Mario Bros cartridge, slipping it into your Nintendo Entertainment System and immersing yourself in an 8-bit world of blocky graphics and chiptunes. The side-scrolling game that we all grew up playing in our family rooms is pretty limited, though. You constantly move forwards, jumping over obstacles and hitting blocks, until you get to the end of a level — that’s about it. There’s no going back, you can’t zoom out and you can only have a maximum of two players.


What if there was a way to transform the beloved game into a collective, totally immersive experience? That’s exactly what a group from ETH Zurich and Disney Research set out to accomplish by developing the world’s first cooperative 8-player, 8-bit NES capable of continuous, panoramic side-scrolling.

For this endeavor, the team employed a real NES with real cartridges, giving it a true old-school effect. And it should be pointed out that there was no hacking of the actual console; instead, its creators enhanced the game using DIY hardware and software that multiplexes eight gmepad inputs to automatically handoff control from one pad to the next.


To connect eight controllers to the NES, they used an Arduino (ATmega328)-based multiplexer. Video from the NES is fed through an upscaler to get the output up to a solid 576p at 50Hz, whereas audio output goes directly from the NES to the room’s sound system.

Meanwhile, the NES output video signal is first captured and sent for analysis. A “tracking PC” running custom software processes the video stream, tracks the background and creates a wide, panoramic image. This image is then sent to a media server, which outputs the stream via eight projectors — two for each wall. Ars Technica notes that the tracking PC also has a real-time GPU algorithm to correct any distortion, enabling it to display clear graphics.


The Arduino multiplexer has two modes of operation: it can either cycle through each gamepad after a fixed amount of time, or the tracking PC can let the Arduino know to change to a specific gamepad, depending on where the players are in a level.

Once complete, the researchers tested the impressive system at a gathering with over 400 guests inside a Swiss night club. As you can imagine, it was a hit! The hope is that it will bring an entirely new level of social interaction to traditional game play. Think about it: Partygoers can swap in and out as they attempt to go from level to level, all while adding a unique ambiance to the environment. (Not for anything else, it can surely make for one heck of a drinking game!)


For those who don’t happen to have several projectors or giant walls, not to worry. The platform supports a virtual reality version as well, which reproduces a similar environment using an Oculus Rift headset.

Intrigued? Head over to the researcher’s official page to see how they’re ‘unfolding the 8-bit era.’ You can also head over to Ars Technica’s writeup or simply watch it in action below.

[h/t Ars Technica via ETH Zurich]

Retrofitting an NES console with a Nexus Player

This project doesn’t just boast the features of a media player, it still works as an NES system as well. 

Chances are that, if you have an old Nintendo system lying around, at one time or another you’ve thought about tearing it apart and rebuilding it with a Raspberry Pi. While Maker Adam Haile could never find the time to get around to doing that, he did recently manage to cram a Nexus Player inside his NES console. Even better, the weekend project doesn’t just work as a modern-day media player, it still functions as a gaming system should he want to relive the days of Mario Bros., Donkey Kong and Blades of Steel.  


The low-cost Nexus Player runs Android and packs much more power than the original Chromecast. With this in mind, Haile  knew that this would surpass the capabilities of the Raspberry Pi and even enable him to run NES emulators.

“My main desires for this build was that the NES look completely stock and unchanged from the front and that original, unmodified, NES gamepads worked via the original gamepad ports. Fortunately, this turned out not to be too bad,” the Maker notes.


Unlike today’s gaming consoles, the NES turned out to be pretty simple to pull apart, requiring nothing more than removing a few screws and the motherboard. To do this, he also had to disconnect the power connector and two gamepad connectors.

The Maker used a custom PCB, an Arduino Pro Micro (ATmega32U4) and an NES gamepad library to interface the original controllers to the Nexus Player. 3D-printed brackets were employed to ensure that everything fit nicely inside the NES case, too.


“The reason I use an Arduino Pro Micro is that it is based on the awesome ATmega32U4 (just like the AllPixel) which includes on-chip USB functionality. This makes it really easy to make the board show up as a USB keyboard and send keystrokes to a computer. 100 lines of code was all it took to convert the gamepad button presses (for both gamepads simultaneously) into keystrokes that could be used on anything that supports USB keyboards,” he explains.

Intrigued? Head over to the project’s official page, where you’ll find a step-by-step breakdown of the build along with all of the necessary files and software.

Dual port RAM interface debugs NES games

While writing a game for his old-school NES console, Andrew Reitano realized that live debugging on real hardware would definitely be a step up from the usual software-based fare.

The original solution? Firing variable information out the second controller port to serial every NMI. However, Reitano ultimately decided to take a shot at designing a new Atmel-powered PCB to interface with the console.

“The board routes the left port of the dual port RAM (Cypress CY7C136) to the DIP footprint on the NES and the right port to an AVR (ATmega164 MCU), this allows me to read and write any location at runtime without bus conflicts,” Reitano explained in a recent blog post.

“Control is provided through the UART and two additional pins are soldered directly to the 2A03 to control /NMI and /RESET. AVR control code was written mainly in C with some assembly sprinkled across for the memory control portions.”

The ATmega164 – tasked with “waiting” for serial commands – performs a number of functions including:

  • Read/write of any memory location
  • Quick dump of an entire 256-byte page
  • Freezing of memory addresses (rewriting a single value constantly in the busy loop)
  • Single frame stepping by controlling the NMI
  • Remote reset of console
  • Applying auto increment to tables to a single variable (fun for sine waves on x/y positions)

“[I] had pretty great results with using 250000 baud with the Genesis flasher project which is plenty fast for what I’m trying to do here,” he added. “As far as I can tell from the datasheet leaving CE low shouldn’t have an effect on the opposite port but it most certainly does. Next revision could definitely use a few pullups on the AVR side, other than that I’m pretty happy with the layout.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official page here.