SNES Game Pad Interface

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I wanted to connect a game control pad to a microcontroller, so I started by finding an old Super Nintendo (SNES) controller. The controller is interfaced to the game console by a five-wire connection. The pad itself contains a 16-bit shift register, of which only 12 bits are used. The photo shows the scope trace when a single button is pressed on the game pad. The upper trace shows the data, and the lower trace shows the clock. The data signal goes low for one bit-time of the clock, corresponding to the button that has been pressed.

Scope trace of SNES interface

The scope is a fine old HP 1980B.
Other web pages with information on the SNES controller and protocol:
TV game joysticks for infomation on all sorts of game console pinouts from Atari 2600 to the PlayStation
Super NES Controller Data
SNES mouse on a PC
SNES/NES gamepad to USB adapter PowerGlove Mouse for information on modifying the NES Power Glove

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