One-Handed Retro Game Controller

This controller design is to help make older game systems like the NES and SNES become more accessible. While it looks like a regular joystick, this was inspired by automatic shift knobs seen in modern cars. The hand rests on top and moves the stick for D-Pad inputs. The thumb controls the action buttons (A B X Y plus START/SELECT), while the index and middle fingers hit the L and R shoulder buttons (much like clicking on a mouse).

The action buttons can be placed on both sides of the stick to make this for both lefties and righties, OR another set of L and R buttons could be included to achieve the same dual functionality (the shape of the stick would need to be symmetrical). However it would be more comfortable, and better for button-mapping, if a dedicated version was made for right hands, and another for left hands.

While it could be wielded like a regular joystick, this controller may need to be placed in a spot that is similar to the aforementioned car shifter knob. The user would need to be sitting in a reclined position, with the controller parked next to their knee. This layout would yield the most comfort, especially for prolonged gaming sessions.

SNES was used as the example here, but the idea could be applied to most 8-bit and 16-bit systems, or other systems that had a single directional input (Saturn, Dreamcast). I already designed a one-handed controller for the Atari.

Google Keychain

Google Dinosaur pocket handheld game keychain design

Another keychain design, this time commemorating Google’s famous dinosaur video game (which occurs when you have no internet connection on the Chrome browser). It’s a fun game that helps pass the time, and it would be nice to have in a pocket-sized package.

This design borrows a screen and solar panel from a calculator (engineering or scientific calculator for a fancier dot matrix screen), the idea being you’d have this to play with when your phone dies. It features one recessed button, which is pressed for 2 seconds to power the device on or off.

The solar aspect could be removed for a more traditional battery-based device that can offer numerous features like a power bank or USB drive, but personally I’d rather have one less gadget to charge all the time.

Mini Bluetooth Arcade Controller

This is a small Bluetooth arcade controller that is based on TV plug-and-play systems from 10 or so years ago. I was shopping for this very thing and to my surprise, it doesn’t exist*, thought I’d draw it up. Sorry for another Arcade-related post!

I like the small form factor of those plug-and-play systems, they were slightly bigger than an Atari 2600 joystick. For the majority of older games that I like to play, only two buttons are needed.

One possible scenario is if such a controller doubled as a streaming remote. Maybe Amazon would bundle this with their Fire Stick? Or Apple could include this with their Apple TV as a handy way to enjoy their Arcade service? Some plug-and-plays had a joystick that rotated (to play racing games like Pole Position), so that feature could be used as a volume control here.

My original goal was to buy such a controller for my PS4, where I own several arcade classics. I also considered buying an old plug-and-play too, but sadly they all use RCA composite cables. I was hoping this controller would enable a more modern HDMI solution.

*This device was close, but is too tall and lacked a mechanical joystick. You can buy mini fighting sticks too, but they have 6 or 8 buttons and are too big to fit in your hand.

Transforming Simpsons Arcade Cabinet

This design is a bit gimmicky and doesn’t really need The Simpsons deco, but I like the idea of a large floor TV that transforms into an arcade cabinet. This way you can play old-school consoles or arcade games in one device. Plus it sorta looks cool in my opinion.

The Simpsons floor TV from their first 20 or so seasons is iconic, and meshes nicely with their highly-regarded arcade game from the early 90’s, so I went with that look. Another way to go is an all-wood finish, as was typical for these old TVs, which doubled as furniture because they were so big.

Had to make the TV wider to incorporate flaps that both conceal the inner workings and serve to prop up the screen and controls for arcade mode. The monitor has struts that would slowly drop it into place when it is upright, the animation here doesn’t fully reflect that.

The VCR/cable box would store the arcade electronics and speakers. The antennae would need to be folded down for the transformation. I believe all of the internal cables would function here in both modes, but external devices (like game consoles) may need to be unplugged to allow for the transformation. A flatscreen with a 4:3 aspect ratio is ideal here, but a 16:9 screen can be enclosed and cropped by the outer frame.

TMNT Party Wagon Arcade Cabinet

I often wished the arcade cabinet for the TMNT games looked like the Party Wagon, thought I would share my weird idea today. This design made more sense when 4-player cabinets were huge and had large CRT televisions inside, but you could put a driving cabinet inside to make this an actual vehicle of sorts (similar to this old design of mine).

The blast shield folds up to reveal the screen, controls, and marquee. Otherwise it would look like the Party Wagon is parked in your living room.

Tried my best to make it look built of plywood and t-molding, so I do feel this is a very plausible design. Hatchback struts would be needed to hold the blast shield up, and the wheels would need to come from a riding mower, methinks.

Arcade Keychain

I own a few of these Tiny Arcade toys made by Super Impulse, and they live up to their name. However they are still too big to function as a keychain, one of their intended features (see more here), so I made this redesign of sorts. This version is smaller, and has a rounded shape so it will be easier to pocket.

A new feature I added was a key that plugs in and activates the video game, eliminating the need for a power switch. This feature mimics the “insert coin” function from original arcade machines.

Kiddie Ride Flight Stick

To fully experience Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, you need a serious flight stick. Behold, a design based on those kiddie rides of yesteryear! If you are not aware, a “kiddie ride” is a coin-operated machine, usually located in a mall or department store, that allows a toddler to ride a small vehicle or animal. These rides aren’t as fun as they look.

This is merely a joystick with a toy plane attached. Holding the tail will allow you to tilt the plane in all directions, so the plane in-game will mimic the behavior of this flight stick plane.

Turning the rudder will… turn the rudder in-game. That takes care of all 3 axis of movement! Many joysticks can be rotated as well, so the plane could be turned in this fashion too, if the rudder is a pain to use.

The coin box can operate as the acceleration thingy planes use…looks like a big lever? It’s a bit gimmicky but that is what this controller is about. There are a few buttons on the stand as well.

This was a fun design, I enjoyed making it. When I first started my goal was to make an accessible flight stick (like this accessible steering controller) and it was pretty basic: a small plane balanced/perched on a raised stand, which can be pivoted and turned with a single finger. It couldn’t work, the user would be constantly adjusting the plane and it would be tedious and slow.