So I did a commission for a forum member called [FarmerDwight] who was looking for a unique controller used for his emulated NES games on his PC. Though I’ve never been a fan of emulation for many reasons, after finding out his wants I really couldn’t pass up the chance to make this for him. Basically he wanted a controller for his emulated NES games with a USB input. Thats really not that difficult to find as the vast majority of PC controllers are USB anyway. The trick was to get that controller to work while using the original buttons in the Game Boy itself.
Now this really wasn’t much different in theory to many of the other controllers that I’ve built. You have two contacts, one signal, one ground and a tact switch (or PCB pad) that once pressed completes the circuit and registers as a button press for the duration you hold it down. However there was one key difference to what I’ve done in the past and that was the fact that the PCB pads in this case were already integrated with the mother board of the Game Boy.
To make a long story short, that doesn’t work so hot when you have two separate devices trying to function off of the same ground lines. I was getting all kinds of screwy actions when I first powered it on, not to mention the Emulator controller provided went against everything I knew about how PCB pads worked. This project took me over 10 hours. 2 of which were basic labor and putting together and 8 hours of “WTF is wrong with this thing” troubleshooting.
In the end though, all came out well and though the Game Boy will never work again as a Game Boy, he can still play all the NES, Atari and whatever other emulated consoles out there with 8 buttons or less, including Game Boy.
More info and pics on the MBB forums. But I’m happy with it, and so is the customer which is all that matters! Now I just have to figure out how I’m going to sleep tonight knowing that my router will be arriving in the afternoon tomorrow! Expect a few more cool updates when I break that package open!