10 Reuses for Old Video Game Controllers


Fashion the Finest Steampunk Controller of All Time

You can Steampunk your clothes and even your controller. Alex Potemkin/Vetta/Getty Images
You can Steampunk your clothes and even your controller. Alex Potemkin/Vetta/Getty Images

Steampunk is a science fiction subculture that showcases steam-powered technology and Victorian-inspired touches to modern, working technology. Think Jules Verne or the 1999 movie, "Wild, Wild West."

Better still, Steampunk is rife with possibilities when it comes to repurposing old tech. To accomplish this, outfit your old N64 controller in a wood veneer, add copper finials to the buttons and, literally, put the on/off function under lock and key. Instead of simple pushing a perfunctory plastic button to power on, you can insert an old-fashioned skeleton key into a brass lock.

Of course, you can create a Steampunk look all your own; Steampunk caters to the customized. Try layering your controller in a brass finish. Use wood buttons. And, if you can figure out a way to actually power it using steam, that's definitely extra credit [source: Kain].

Author's Note: 10 Reuses for Old Video Game Controllers

I may not have had an NES controller lying around when I started researching this article, but that hasn't stopped me from making a few DIY plans. I like the idea of creating an iPhone dock out of a retrofit NES controller and have plans to make my own -- just as soon as I can snag a bargain controller on eBay. And I probably won't stop there. An Atari 2600 TV remote control is next on my list. Who knows? I may just make a desk caddy while I'm at it, too.

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  • Hacked Gadgets. "Atari 2600 Joystick TV Remote Control." May 16, 2007. (Nov. 23, 2013) http://hackedgadgets.com/2007/05/16/atari-2600-joystick-tv-remote-control/
  • Instructables. "NES Belt: DIY Version." (Nov. 23, 2013) http://www.instructables.com/id/NES-Belt---DIY-Version/
  • Instructables. "Turn a NES Controller into an iPhone Dock." (Nov. 23, 2013) http://www.instructables.com/id/Turn-a-NES-controller-into-an-iPhone-Dock/
  • Instructables. "No Sew NES Controller Wallet." (Dec. 4, 2013) http://www.instructables.com/id/no-sew-Nes-controller-Wallet/
  • Kain, Erik. "Three Awesome Xbox 360 Steampunk Controllers." Forbes. Sept. 15, 2012. (Nov. 23, 2013) http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/09/15/three-awesome-xbox-360-steampunk-controllers/
  • Patent Storm. "Video Target and Sensing Circuit for Photosensitive Gun." June 10, 2007. (Nov. 23, 2013) http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/4813682.html
  • Personal Money Network. "Repurposing Retro Gadgets to Score Points and Save Cash." Sept. 20, 2012. (Nov. 23, 2013) http://personalmoneynetwork.com/moneyblog/2012/09/20/repurposing-retro-gadgets-3/
  • Plunkett, Luke. "How to Use a Console Controller on Your PC." July 23, 2013. (Nov. 23, 2013) Kotaku.com. http://kotaku.com/how-to-use-a-console-controller-on-your-pc-889800353
  • Preuss, Simone. "Ten Recycled NES Controller Mods." 1 800 Recycling. Feb. 8, 2011. (Dec. 4, 2013) http://1800recycling.com/2011/02/recycled-nes-controller-mods/#.UoUpNvmsim4
  • Racket Boy. "The Rarest and Most Valuable NES Games." (Nov. 23, 2013) http://www.racketboy.com/retro/nintendo/nes/the-rarest-and-most-valuable-nes-games
  • Retro Gaming Nation. "NES Power Pad." March 26, 2012. (Nov. 23, 2013) http://retrogamingnation.blogspot.com/2012/03/nes-power-pad.html


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