The QwiicNES

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For people of a certain generation, the Nintendo Entertainment System packs more nostalgia per bit than any other game system. Thanks to the continued popularity of this "vintage" hardware, original and reproduction controllers are readily available! Why not put some of these excellent controllers to use in your next robotics project? OR hook up the USB cable and use your favorite vintage controller as a modern gamepad? It's easy with The QwiicNES!

The QwiicNES features an NES Controller connector and a row of 0.1" output pins. Press a button on the controller and the corresponding pin goes from LOW to HIGH. It's that easy! Don't want to give up eight GPIO on your project? Then connect The QwiicNES over I²C using a Qwiic cable. The I²C address of The QwiicNES is software configurable which means you can hookup over 100 on a single I²C bus!

Finally, if you want to use your NES controller as a USB gamepad, simply connect it to your computer using the onboard USB-C and hold the SELECT button on your controller for 5 seconds (until the button status LEDs flash). Now The QwiicNES will enumerate as a generic gamepad device, perfect for playing your favorite ROMs (or modern indie games!)

Heads up! While there are pins and LEDs labeled after NES Zapper functionality, there is currently no firmware support for the Zapper. The relevant connector pins are exposed to the microcontroller, so it is theoretically possible but you would need to implement that yourself.

The SparkFun Qwiic Connect System is an ecosystem of I2C sensors, actuators, shields and cables that make prototyping faster and less prone to error. All Qwiic-enabled boards use a common 1mm pitch, 4-pin JST connector. This reduces the amount of required PCB space, and polarized connections mean you can’t hook it up wrong.


Experimental Product: SparkX products are rapidly produced to bring you the most cutting edge technology as it becomes available. These products are tested but come with no guarantees. Live technical support is not available for SparkX products. Head on over to our forum for support or to ask a question.
  • Works with any reproduction or original NES controller
  • Arduino Library Available
  • 3.3V Logic on all pins
  • Status LEDs show when each button on the controller is pressed
  • USB HID Gamepad Mode accessible by long SELECT press
  • Default I²C Address: 0x54

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