Step 1: What You Will Need.
- First, and obviously, an old NES controller. If you don't have one that you are willing to modify, try a thrift store. The one I used here cost $3 or so.
- A non-powered USB hub. The one I chose has three ports on the front and one on the side, which is ideal.
- A USB memory key, as small as possible. The Verbatim Tuff N' Tiny key is perfect. I got a 4Gb key on sale for $15.
- Screwdriver (Phillips).
- Rotary tool (aka Dremel)
- Glue gun
Step 2: Take Apart and Gut the NES Controller.
Take out the circuit board and rubber padding beneath the buttons. You won't need these.
Next, use your rotary tool with a cut-off wheel to clean out all the plastic bits that are sticking up on the inside of the controller. You can keep most of the pillars for the screws, or you can remove everything and just glue the unit back together.
The photo shows a partially cleaned out controller. I went on to smooth out the insides a bit more.
Step 3: Cut Holes for USB Ports and Glue Down Buttons.
You won't be using the buttons, but you'll need them for looks. Just glue them in place.
Step 4: Glue Down the USB Hub With Memory Key.
Step 5: Accessorize! (Optional).
Step 6: Reassemble the Controller.
At this stage, the controller is a functional three-port USB hub and 4Gb memory stick. But we're not finished yet.
Step 7: Add Emulators, Games, USB Controllers, and a Menu.
You can plug in whatever USB controllers you want to use. You could get a USB adapter and use NES controllers themselves, though I recommend something that will work with other consoles as well and are a bit more comfortable. The advantage of using a hub is that you can plug in multiple controllers for two-player games.
Next, you can create an autorun menu that lets you choose your console. As a demo, I made the example below using a trial of SamLogic's CD Menu Creator. The background image I made in an image editing program. This is optional -- you could simply make shortcuts to the various emulators if you prefer.
That's it! Now you can take your games with you wherever you go and play them on any computer.