Posted on Oct 9, 2009

Retro GamerDrive

When cleaning out the garage a few weeks ago, I found my original Nintendo Entertainment System. Rather than sell it on ebay, I decided to do a few projects using this iconic video game system.

At first, I simply wanted to turn the controller into a flash drive and be one of the thousands of videos and blogs of people turning everyday objects into external memory, but ever since I got my first arduino working, I’ve been itching to do something different. I thought, wouldn’t it be cool to add a security feature that required someone to enter the classic contra “30 lives” code before they could access the data?

A few prototypes later, I had it working on the breadboard. It’s fairly straight forward. The arduino constantly polls the controller for button states. When you push a button, it stores that value in an array which always holds the most recent 10 values. Whenever you push the start button, it checks the stored array against a separate array which contains the values for the konami code (Up,Up,Down,Down,Left,Right,Left,Right,B,A). If valid, the arduino sends a pulse to the relay which switches power to the embedded flash drive and hence fully connects to the computer.

In practice, I’m not sure if this security feature is practical, but it’s pretty fun! There’s nothing like entering the classic konami code on the original NES controller!

Blog post about connecting the NES controller to an arduino

Wikipedia page about the Konami Code

Arduino Development Platform

Sparkfun Electronics (Where I order my parts from)