|My Bluetooth-powered Arcade Controller|
I'll start out with one I built a few weeks back. I wrote about this project in greater detail for GeekDad.com and you can read the original post here, but here's the nutshell version:
I like to play old Atari 2600 games as well as 80s/90s-style arcade games on my computer and I've been wanting to introduce my 7 year old (and maybe my 4 year old) to some of these games. I found an interesting project over at Adafruit.com involving creating a small handheld box with a joystick and a few buttons on top... pair it up via Bluetooth to a computer or laptop and play away. I also have a Mac laptop and an Apple TV connected to the flatscreen in our living room, allowing me to put whatever is on the screen of my laptop on the big screen... this was looking good.
|Some of the components for building the Arcade Controller.|
Here's a link to the online instructions to build your own.
And here's a link to Stella, the Atari 2600 emulator.
And here's a link to grab some of the Atari 2600 games. (I own a LOT of original cartridges, so I don't think I'm violating any laws here...)
|The Atari 2600 game Adventure on a flatscreen.|
Total time to wire it all up was about an hour... drilling the holes and painting the box actually took the most time. I highly recommend hunting down those special jumper wires that insert onto headers... saved a LOT of headache not having to solder to header posts... which I hate doing. Radio Shack Part # 2760151 and worth every penny.
You'll get some practice on using your multimeter to verify connections as well as with your soldering rig. Follow the instructions carefully and you'll also understand how the joystick works -- each position (Up, Down, Left, Right) is nothing but a signal that is triggered by four small switches inside the joystick device. These are interpreted as keyboard presses -- the Stella or MAME software that runs games uses keyboard presses to simulate firing, jumping, etc... you're just using the small Bluetooth device to send a handful of signals as keyboard presses to your computer. It's really quite cool.
|A peek inside the box as wiring was being done.|