Making a Left-Handed NES Controller

Making a Left-Handed NES Controller

The controller for the original Nintendo Entertainment System is a classic, but perhaps not best known for its adherence to good ergonomic principles. Regardless, it can grow awkward to use for long stretches of time. To help alleviate this, [Taylor] whipped up an easy way to convert a NES controller to left-handed operation.

The mod board in question, installed on a NES controller PCB.

The crux of the hack is simple, with the controller’s buttons swapped left-to-right to enable the controller to be flipped upside down. In this orientation, the D-pad is used by the right hand and the action buttons by the left–the opposite of the usual way. Thus, left and right on the D-pad must be switched, as well as A and B, so all the controls are otherwise in a logical layout.

This is achieved through the use of a little mod board of [Taylor]’s own design. The original HD14021BP chip is desoldered from the controller’s PCB, and installed in the mod board instead. The modboard can then be soldered back into the controller, rerouting the traces to swap the buttons. There’s also a version that [Taylor] designed that can flip between right-handed and left-handed operation thanks to some onboard DIP switches.

It’s a tidy hack that could save the thumbs of some dedicated Tetris players. Alternatively, you can always make your own NES controller from scratch. Video after the break.

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