Watch on YouTube:

Cheap DIY Neo Geo Joystick Adapter To Atari, Amiga, Sinclair and More! OJTRTA Part 1


One Joystick To Rule Them All! In the first of a new series, learn how to make a simple adapter to use your Neo Geo AES arcade controller with everything that uses the Atari joystick standard, including (but not limited to): Atari 8-bit, Atari 2600, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, C64, Commodore 128 & Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

All Episode Playlist:

This is a series so subscribe for more adapters as I figure them out, and if you have an idea for a system you’d like to see the Neo Geo stick hooked up to, let me know down in the comments!


Hey everyone, Rees here. Now you may remember this. It’s an original 1990 Neo Geo arcade stick, and I bought it to use with my supergun for playing arcade boards. In this new series I’m going to show you how to use it with a whole lot more!

If you’re not familiar with this joystick, it was the controller that was shipped with SNK’s Neo Geo AES, a Japanese games console from 1990 that’s famous for two things - having the best home arcade conversions - and being very expensive. The reason for both of these things is that the console hardware was essentially identical to SNK’s Neo Geo MVS arcade machines from the early 90s, and that same attitude also influenced the design of the controller.

You see, this stick is widely considered to be one of the best first party console controllers ever made, owing to the fact that it was built with proper arcade buttons and a short throw microswitch joystick, just like a real arcade machine. [show photos of insides]

I bought this from a Japanese auction site for around 20 quid and it was pretty disgusting but otherwise in working order. I thoroughly cleaned it inside and out and fitted some new feet and it was practically as good as new.

I decided I really loved using this thing and so I got thinking about how I could put together some adapters to use it with the other computers and consoles that I own. I spent some time researching pinouts for the various joystick ports and putting together some schematics. My goal with this project is to do this as cheaply and simply as possible by using breakout connectors and a handful of passive components.

So in a first for the channel, I’m starting my very own multi part series, starting simple and getting more advanced as the project progresses. In this first episode I’m going to show you how to build an adapter to connect the Neo Geo joystick to anything that uses the Atari joystick standard, including Atari’s own 2600, their 8-bit home computers, the ST, and so on, Commodore machines including the VIC-20, 64, 128 and Amiga, and even the Spectrum with a Kempston compatible interface.

This adapter will also make the stick mostly compatible with the Master System, Megadrive and MSX computers, but you’ll only be able to use one button. I’ll show you how to build a fully compatible adapter for these systems that supports all of the buttons in the next episode.

In this video I’ll also show you a small modification you can make to the adapter to make it even better, which long term followers of this channel should be familiar with from my CX-78 mod video.

So without further ado, lets get started. I actually bought a 9-pin female breakout connector, but due to the design of some of the machines I’m using here it wouldn’t reliably plug into most of the sockets. So I’m going to have to cannibalise an old joystick for its cable. I had this broken Commodore joystick that I got in a box full of bits a while back so it seemed like an ideal donor.

After disassembling the joystick and cleaning the cable I needed to confirm which wire went to which pin, so I used my multimeter. This is where I ran into my first issue - try as I might, I couldn’t get continuity on either the blue or green wires, which should’ve been pins 2 and 3, or down and left. I assume this is why the joystick didn’t work and ended up in a box of junk. I wanted to check that the fault wasn’t due to a break in the cable itself somewhere, so I cut it as short as I could but still got nothing.

Thankfully I had an old Atari joystick that’s been awaiting a cable replacement due to some damage to the insulator towards the plug end. It won’t give me a very long cable, but at least all of the pins seem to work in this one, so this is what I’ll be using.

On the joystick side I’ll be basing all of these adapters around a male DA or DB-15 connector. If you want to order one of these make sure you don’t end up with a DE-15, which is most commonly used as a VGA connector. I’ll be using this one to put together a joystick adapter for the Atari Jaguar in a future video.

Now it’s just a case of wiring up the pins as per the diagram. Electrically this is the simplest of all the adapters I’ll be putting together, with up going to up, down to down and so on. As the Atari joystick only originally had one button it’ll leave a lot of buttons on the joystick unused, unless you want to connect all of them up to pin 6 of the Atari connector with some small jumper wires, but I didn’t bother.

Now to test this with some systems. This is miles better than the standard Atari joystick for my favourite Atari 2600 games like Ms. Pac Man, River Raid, and Jungle Hunt.

The same goes for some of the great Atari 8-bit home computer arcade conversions like Donkey Kong here, and another one of my all time favourites, Frogger.

Like I mentioned before, this mod also works with the Amiga, which is something of a first for my channel. Yep, I do indeed own an Amiga. But hey, it’s been getting on for 40 years now, maybe we can finally bury the hatchet and learn to live together in peace?

Unfortunately as you can see my Amiga needs some work, hopefully something I can address in the near future.

Finally the Atari ST, and as you can see it works really great here too.

But there’s a further mod I want to do, and if you’ve seen my CX-78 gamepad video you’ll probably know what’s coming next. You see, by adding a small jumper wire connecting the B button of the Neo Geo stick to the up joystick direction, we now have a button that can be used as an accelerator for racing games and as a jump button for platformers, making a great joystick even better!

Now in Bubble Bobble on the Atari ST, instead of pressing up to jump we can press the B button on the arcade stick. Or in Buggy Boy we can hold down B instead of holding forwards on the joystick all the time.

It even works on the 2600 in games like Pole Position.

So there we go. A really useful adapter that massively transforms the playability of these old computers and consoles. Also as the stick itself is unmodified it still works with my superguns and with an AES should I ever get my hands on one.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m working on adapters for the Master System, MSX and Megadrive for my next video, and further down the line I’ll show you how to build adapters for the Atari Jaguar, 5200 and even the PC. If that’s something you’d like to see please do consider subscribing to the channel.

If you have any suggestions for adapters you’d like to see or any comments or suggested improvements let me know down in the comments. Finally if you’ve found this video helpful or interesting please do give it a thumbs up, it helps me grow the channel.

Thanks for watching, and I’ll hopefully see you next time for more retro computing and gaming shenanigans.

If you liked this video please consider subscribing to ctrl.alt.rees on YouTube!