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I want to be able to use an actual NES (or, SNES) controller to control an emulator on my PC.

Is this possible?

If so, how can I do this on a budget?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

RetroZone has a product which adds a NES port to your computer via USB. Also, you could buy an already converted NES controller which plugs directly into your USB port. (They also supply the same products for SNES.)

As for converting a controller yourself, Joystiq has a tutorial but it involves buying a kit from RetroZone.

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Perfect! Thanks! – John Gietzen Jul 7 '10 at 22:13
There are actually a lot of USB-to-controller adapters, for every popular console controller. They've been around for years. – MGOwen Jul 12 '10 at 1:12
A friend of mine in college spliced the wires to an old serial port cord directly o_o Not sure how he got it to pick up on the comp as a joystick – Garet Claborn May 9 '11 at 14:08

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