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Cheap DIY Neo Geo Joystick Adapter To Amstrad, MSX And Sega Master System! OJTRTA Part 2


One Joystick To Rule Them All! Continuing where we left off in episode 1, learn how to make a simple adapter to use your Neo Geo AES arcade controller with Amstrad computers and consoles, including the CPC and GX4000, MSX computers and the Sega Master System!

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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, welcome to the second video in my One Joystick To Rule Them All series. In my first video I showed you how to build a very simple and cheap adapter to use Neo Geo controllers with Atari compatible systems, and in this one I’ll be showing you how to adapt it for use with Amstrad, MSX and the Sega Master System.

All you need to build these adapters is a couple of suitable breakout connectors, a suitable cable to connect them together, and a joystick extension cable.

So just a quick recap. As I explained in my first video, the Neo Geo AES is a games console released by Japanese games company SNK in 1990 and is famous not only for the quality of its arcade ports, but also the quality of the hardware itself. Personally I’m a huge fan of the original Neo Geo stick, and it’s certainly a big step up from most of the bundled controllers that we got with our 80s and 90s consoles and computers.

In this series I’m using these breakout adapters. I bought them from ebay, and the search terms that you’ll specifically need for this episode’s adapters are “female DB9 breakout” for the console end and “male DB15 breakout” for the joystick end.

Thanks to a suggestion from a viewer on the previous video, this adapter is also compatible with the kidney bean style controller and the Neo Geo CD joypads which require a 5V feed from the console to function, except in the case of the Amstrad machines for reasons I’ll go into in a moment.

Because the systems featured in this video use the male DE-9 joystick port and are electrically very similar, I’m going to be using my Atari adapter from episode 1 as a starting point, which I’ve since rebuilt using a DE9 female breakout connector and an old SCART cable.

So without further ado, lets get started.

Just a quick note on the Amstrad. I don’t actually own one of these, but as Amstrad machines are compatible with the Atari joystick standard they’ll actually work with my original adapter design from my previous video as-is in a lot of games. [wiring diagram]

This includes the modification I made to be able to use the B button as an up button for accelerating in racing games and jumping in platformers. One thing that’s very important to consider is that the Amstrad joystick port doesn’t provide a 5V pin, so it won’t work with the kidney bean or Neo Geo CD controllers.

Bearing that in mind and also sticking with the original Neo Geo stick, there is a small modification that can be made for the 2-button Amstrad systems such as the GX4000. In this case the A button, which is pin 13 of the Neo Geo connector, moves from pin 6 to pin 7 at the Amstrad end, and the B button, which is pin 5 at the Neo Geo end, connects to pin 6 of the Amstrad.

As I mentioned, I don’t own one of these machines, so I’d love to hear down in the comments if anyone puts one of these adapters together.

In the case of the MSX, which thankfully I do own, there are a couple of very minor changes to our original design. The MSX is largely compatible with Atari joysticks, but like the Amstrad does support an additional button. And thankfully for owners of the later Neo Geo controllers, it also provides 5V, albeit on a different pin to the Atari.

With this in mind, when building an adapter for the MSX, the 5V feed for the later controllers is connected to pin 5 at the MSX end, with pin 8 staying at the Neo Geo end as before of course. Button A remains the same as the Atari version at pin 6, with button B, pin 5 at the Neo Geo end, being connected to pin 7 of the MSX joystick port. The ground, pin 1 at the Neo Geo end, moves from pin 8 to pin 9 at the MSX end.

The Neo Geo stick is a truly excellent way to play all of those top notch arcade conversions on the MSX, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Now onto Sega’s underrated 8-bit gem, the Master System. It seems like more and more people are starting to appreciate this console, and it’s a great thing to see. I actually really like the Master System pads, but there are more than a few games on here that work even better with a proper arcade stick.

It’s worth pointing out that this adapter also works great with the various Master System variants like the Sega Mark III and the Master System II. Although it won’t work with the Megadrive / Genesis for reasons I’ll explain later.

The Master System is yet another system that’s largely compatible with Atari joysticks, in fact the only difference from the Atari adapter is the addition of an extra connection for the second button, which goes from pin 5 at the Neo Geo end to pin 9 at the console end. A voltmeter confirms that we have 5V on pin 7, which is usually used for the light gun, and that means that this adapter should be compatible with the later Neo Geo controllers as well.

Now I just wanted to talk a little bit about the Megadrive, or Genesis, depending where you are in the world. My plan was to cover it in this episode, but it turned out to be a slightly more complicated beast than the other systems I’ve covered so far so I’m going to dedicate a whole episode to explaining how it works. It’s already in the works and I’m already playing with some prototypes so that should be along shortly.

And there we have it. A really inexpensive and easy way to connect these amazing controllers to your consoles, and a fun little electronics project.

I’ve already had some fantastic feedback from people who’ve built their own adapters from my first video, including an Instagram post of a really nice modded stick from a user going by the name of retro_glue_2.0. I also had some funny reactions to a picture I posted of my stick hooked up to my Atari 2600, so if you’re interested in that kind of thing I’ll put my other social media links in the description below.

Please do let me know if you build one of these, it really makes my day to see them out in the wild and I might even share it in a future video. Also if there’s a console or computer you’d like me to feature please do let me know!

Finally, as always, thanks for watching, and I hope to catch you all again soon.

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