This instructable shows you how to use NES controller in Atari 2600 or ZX Spectrum (with Kempston Interface)  with the aid of an Arduino.

Step 1: Background Talk

I have recently acquired a couple of Atari 2600s and a bunch of joysticks. Both consoles were working but all of the 5 joysticks were damaged beyond repair. Indeed, it is very easy to find It is easy to find an old Atari 2600 console working but it's hard to find an original joystick in useful condition.

On the other hand, I had a spare NES 'generic' controller bought in a flea market that was working perfectly.

I thought about using a microcontroller to convert the serialized signals in NES joystick to parallel signals required by Atari 2600, but then I wondered that if instead of a custom microcontroller board I could use an Arduino. So other people without many skills in electronics could assemble their own adaptors with easy. 

wow , lots of effort,years ago i got lucky and found that an amstrad game pad works fine on the 2600, i never did like those joysticks especially on games like maze craze
There's just no beating the NES game pad for retro gaming! I wanted one for my Amiga, so I just took a mouse cable from a broken Amiga mouse, used 7 wires from it - U,D,L,R,B1,B2, and Ground. Just popped the IC from the NES board, and traced and soldered each wire to it's respectable location. Worked like a charm and looked real slick!

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