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Awesome Controller lets you play retro video game systems with modern wireless controllers.

Awesome Controller lets you use your Wii and PS3 controllers to play your classic game consoles. Ditch your tangled mess of old, broken controllers, but keep all of your favorite old systems and games. Breathe new life in to your NES, SNES, N64 (and more!) with Awesome Controller.

How does Awesome Controller work?

Getting up and running with Awesome Controller is a snap.

Awesome Controller plugs directly in to your favorite console's controller port via a special dongle. From there, just wirelessly sync your Wii or PS3 controllers to your Awesome Controller and you're ready to dodge red shells and blast bad guys.

Who are you?

We're five gamer dudes in Indianapolis, Indiana. Kyle (our fearless leader) decided he was tired of his "nearly-wireless living room" and convinced the rest of us to spend nights and weekends building Awesome Controller. Our four software engineer + one electrical engineer team won a Startup Weekend event by demoing Super Mario Brothers played with a Wiimote from across a packed room. It's not fair that we're the only kids on the block playing Mario Kart 64 with Wiimotes, so we launched this Kickstarter to bring equality to the retro gaming universe.

Left to right: Alex, Kyle, Wes, Anthony, R.O.B., Kail
Left to right: Alex, Kyle, Wes, Anthony, R.O.B., Kail

Tell me about the prototype.

An early prototype of the Awesome Controller.
An early prototype of the Awesome Controller.

The prototype is running on an Arduino board and is hooked together with wires. We have a USB host shield that has a USB Bluetooth dongle, hacked together with some code to make everything basically work together.

The prototype works pretty well with Wireless Wii and Wii Classic Controllers. We still have to do some work on the PS3 wireless and getting multiple controllers simultaneously connecting.

The hardware is capable of supporting additional systems, and if we hit higher funding goals, we'll certainly add more support. Even better, because we're an open platform, some badass on Reddit could give you Atari support for free.

So why do a Kickstarter?

We are trying to raise $15,000 to prove that more than just the five of us want an Awesome Controller. That's the level where a production run won't be too expensive for you, and won't lose money for us. When we tell our friends, they tell us they'd love one, so we're hoping you're just a friend we haven't yet met.

The money will cover shipping, manufacturing, and parts, with some left over for previous expenses and future development. Some of the money raised will go toward FCC certification/verification.

We have a ton of ideas for cool enhancements, and the more interest we see, the more of those cool things we can build.

How many Awesome Controllers do I need?

One Awesome Controller can connect to two Wii/PS3 controllers simultaneously. That means you probably only need one, unless you want to play 4-player N64.

What are dongles?

Dongles are the system-specific removable plugs that connect your Awesome Controller directly to the console. Each console has a slightly different controller port, so these dongles allow you to buy just one Awesome Controller, and switch dongles to play a different system. If you have multiple console systems you'd like to play, you'll want to pick up a dongle for each.

A sample dongle (going into the system, the other end would be connected to the Awesome Controller)
A sample dongle (going into the system, the other end would be connected to the Awesome Controller)

How will this be implemented?

We've identified parts suppliers and manfacturers, and figured out the costs of various batch sizes. The Hackers Tier will be assembled by hand, and we'll work to assemble the other tier rewards.

Awesome Controller's future

Awesome Controller is a completely open platform, with the source code and schematics on github. Members of our community are absolutely encouraged to add console support, add features, and generally do all of the awesome stuff that happens when folks collaborate. We've added the Hacker's Tier specifically to encourage tinkering from anyone who is familiar with the popular Arduino open hardware platform.

How can I help?

Spread the word! Know any retro gamers? We'd really appreciate if you sent them our way.

If you're a developer, we'd love feedback, suggestions, or (even better) pull requests.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

If our project is successfully funded, we will spend our time and effort on bluetooth coding, the case design for the product, testing, and adding support for additional controllers and consoles.

The current prototype works pretty well with Wireless Wii and Wii Classic Controllers. We still have to do some work on the PS3 wireless and getting multiple controllers (of any type) simultaneously connecting.

Our prototype currently works for the NES, SNES, and N64 systems, but only one at a time. To switch to a different console, we currently have to recompile the software. For product release, we need the device to auto-detect which system is connected and function appropriately. We've already begun to build our code in a way that makes this possible, but we need time and effort to finish this task.

The case design for the Awesome Controller currently exists only in our mind's eye. We need to create an actual design that can be sent off and manufactured.

Awesome Controller carries risks like any other engineering project. Some design flaws can delay product releases by months. Since this is a hardware product, having things work right before shipping is of utmost importance.

If we have time and resources, we would love to add support for more classic game systems. So far we only support Nintendo systems, but this is not out of one-sided fanboyism. We'd like to support Sega, Atari, Playstation, etc. as well.

FAQ

  • Sure! We just limited our shipping to the US so that PAL-loving Europeans wouldn't try to buy it. Because Canada shares the glorious NTSC-U/C standard, we can ensure that Awesome Controller will be fully compatible. You'll be able to play all the NHL '95 you want!

    We'll work with you to make it happen, although we'll likely have to charge an additional shipping fee.

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  • Everything from our code to our schematics to the Kickstarter copy you are reading is available online and free at our Github page. If you're a developer, be sure to check out the Hackers Tier that allows you to easily flash your Awesome Controller and upload new code. Want to add support for the Atari Jaguar? Awesome! We'd love to get a pull request and release it back for everyone to benefit.

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  • Yup.

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  • It depends on how adventurous you feel! We don't have PAL or NTSC-J devices available for testing, so we can't guarantee that the Awesome Controller will work as advertised. If you're handy with an oscilloscope and not afraid of code, consider investing in the hacker tier. You could be the person responsible for taking Awesome Controller global!

    We'll work with you to make it happen, although we'll likely have to charge an additional shipping fee.

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  • Nope.

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  • We're going to shoot for a battery-backed solution (ideally rechargeable), but for now it requires A/C power. This at least isn't the kind of wire that stretches across your room and trips your dog, which causes your Nintendo to tumble to the floor and freeze on the final dungeon of Zelda when you haven't saved in hours! (Ed note: This actually happened, and was at least 10% of the reason Awesome Controller exists.)

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  • We ship it. We are only shipping to the United States. Shipping cost is included in the tier costs.

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  • Wes

    Awesome Controller lets you use your Wii and PS3 controllers to play your classic game consoles.

    Imagine using your Wiimote to play a game of Contra on your original NES. Later, you battle your friends on Block Fort in Mario Kart 64 with your PS3 controllers!

    If the past, present, and future had a baby, that baby would be Awesome Controller.

    Kyle

    Hi, I'm Kyle and this is team Awesome Controller. We're five life-long gamers in Indianapolis.

    I am a little bit of a wire-management freak, and I got tired of untangling the wires on my Super Nintendo controllers every time I wanted to replay Chrono Trigger. I Tom Sawyered four of my good friends and we built a working prototype of Awesome Controller in one weekend. Since then, we've worked hard to add support for new systems and new controllers. Now we want to share our hard work with all of you.

    We launched this Kickstarter because it allows us to perform a larger production run, saving the maximum possible number of retro consoles from obscurity.

    Anthony

    Awesome Controller acts like a translater between your Wii or PS3 controllers and your game consoles. We built on existing research to translate the Bluetooth signals to the protocols that the various game consoles understand. You connect your Awesome Controller via an interchangable dongle to your favorite system, sync your controller, and start playing. You'll only need one Awesome Controller, but you'll need a different dongle for each game console.

    Kail

    We strongly believe that open hardware and software result in a better experience for consumers, so we've already released all of our Awesome Controller work under open source licenses. Our goal is to create a community around the Awesome Controller, so others can freely customize their version. We're also releasing an Arduino shield version of Awesome Controller for developers and hardware hackers.

    Alex

    Our goal with Awesome Controller is to help people have more fun with the consoles they already own, and we need your help. Don't let your princess be in another castle. Support Awesome Controller. It's awesome. Controller.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    11 backers

    THE BACKERS TIER - Interested in supporting Awesome Controller development, but don't want to break the bank? Pledge at least $5 and we'll keep you in the loop with product updates, and we'll add your name (plus a message of your choosing) to the `KICKSTARTER_BACKERS.md` file in our github repository. Invest in your geek cred, markdown style.

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    8 backers

    THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE TIER - We will phone, email or Skype call you (your preference) and tell you how much we love you, how attractive with think you are and how fashionable your footwear currently is. (Plus The Backers tier)

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    4 backers Limited (46 left of 50)

    THE GOOD PIXEL DAY TIER - After the Kickstarter is over, send us a (non-nude; never-nude cutoffs acceptable) picture of yourself and we'll do a small sprite rendition of you doing something hilarious like standing or walking. Friends and coworkers will think you're a regular Rory Calhoun!

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    2 backers Limited (98 left of 100)

    THE HACKERS TIER - About a month before the "retail" launch, we will send you a parts kit with everything you need to solder your own Awesome Controller Arduino shield (minus the soldering stuff.) With this kit, an Arduino Uno and our free tutorials and documentation, you too can be a baller hardware-hacking machine (BHHM). If you have a cool idea, we'd love to help you make it happen. Also includes 1 system dongle of your choice (add $10 for each additional dongle you'd like). Free shipping in the US.

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $85 or more
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    7 backers

    1 AWESOME CONTROLLER, MAINSTREAM COLOR - You get a gorgeously-designed, fully-functional, envy-causing, (and green-case colored) Awesome Controller. You will love it, or Kail will eat a sock. Seriously though, satisfaction guaranteed. Also includes 1 system dongle of your choice (add $10 for each additional dongle you'd like). Free shipping in the US.

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $95 or more
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    8 backers

    1 AWESOME CONTROLLER, COOL CUSTOM COLOR One Awesome Controller in any of the classic gem colors (choose from Ocean Blue, Rosy Red or Royal Purple). These orders are guaranteed to ship before the Green versions. Also includes 1 system dongle of your choice (add $10 for each additional dongle you'd like). Free shipping in the US.

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $3,085 or more
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    0 backers

    THE SYSTEM-BENEFACTOR TIER - Have a favorite system/console that Awesome Controller doesn't support? What about a Bluetooth peripheral you'd like to use to control your console? Become a system benefactor and we'll work with you to add Awesome Controller support to that system. Plus, heck, we'll throw in an Awesome Controller for free. Actual estimated arrival... Based on difficulty.

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Funding period

- (30 days)