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Raspberry Pi Zero + Nintendo Controller + 3D Printing = Nostalgic Gaming Experience

by • January 19, 2016 • No Comments

nin7If you are into gaming and 3D printing, you may be part of the craze for nostalgic gaming experiences. The kids who came of age when video games quite took off yet have those fond memories of sitting on the floor with those old consoles, spending hours playing video games to their heart’s content. Nintendo, of course, the company that brought you both Pokémon and Super Mario, is at the center of this old time video game nostalgia. In order to pay homage to the early gaming days, hackers take old controllers and game consoles, recreateing them for 21st century ends. One such project, covered here, has you “stuffing” a Raspberry Pi Zero into a Nintendo controller for that old school gaming experience. But you will need to do a few 3D printing to manufacture this work!

Let’s start with the Raspberry Pi Zero. This tiny desktop is the penultimate in high end hardware at an inexpensive
price. For just $5.00, you get most awe-inspiring showcases that translate into a fully programmable desktop–talk of a 21st century innovation! But it gets actually advantageous as you use your Raspberry Pi Zero, placing it within an old Nintendo controller and wiring the Pi through the controller buttons.

nin4The 3D printed portion of this project is to create and print a new back for the controller, as the old back becomes too tiny to contain the new Raspberry Pi Zero within. Not a problem. In fact, you have two various options here. The initially create comes of Tom Van den Bon of South Africa, who explains how he merged a Raspberry Pi Zero with a Nintendo (NES) controller:

“The nes controller is wired onto the gpio and I’m via the gamecon_gpio_rpi software for interface to the nes emulator. I decided not to dremel the back part of the controller, but pretty create and print a new one with proper pi zero ports.”

The create is quite straightforward. Applying no rafts or supports, Tom instructs you how to 3D print your own back, hotglue the Pi Zero into the case, connect Nintendo controller wiring to the Pi Zero, set up your software, and play games!

nin3“W3ace,” or Craig, takes this thought a little additional by providing the file for a fancier design of Tom’s create. Craig explains that he upgraded the create and introduced “a thicker base and mount points to screw down the Pi Zero.” The 3D printed portion of this was printed on a Prusa i3 with solid infill at 0.4 resolution for the initially layer and 0.2 resolution for the other layers. This print job did not need rafts or supports, and Craig reports that the end outcome is taller than Tom’s, but it is “yet quite manageable as a controller.” (Make certain you go to Craig’s comments to find out that NES wires go to that GPIO pins.) Craig in addition reports that he may soon be putting an Instructable together for his controller.

And there you have it: two various designs of the same thought to rejuvenate an old Nintendo controller via 3D printing and a few serious commitment to old school gaming. Is this a fewthing you can like to try building? Tell us of it in the 3D Printing Retro Gaming with Nintendo and Raspberry Pi forum over at 3DPB.com.