Adapting a Super Nintendo Joystick to a PC

The same way it is possible to adapt a Genesis or a Playstation joystick to a PC, we can do the same with a Super Nintendo one. The process is similar, but since the Super Nintendo joystick plug is different, the scheme to make the adapting cable is a little different, too.

You will need to buy the following parts: 5 1N4148 diodes, 1 DB-25 connector (male, with box, also kwown as 25-pin D-Sub), and 6′ 11 (2 meters) of 6-wire cable. Besides, you will need a solder iron and know how to solder! The best would be to get a male plug to fit in the Super Nintendo joystick, however such plug is not easy to find.

With this material we will build a cable that, at one side (25-pin connector) will be installed in the parallel port of the PC and, at the other side, will be where the Super Nintendo joystick will be installed.

In the figure we show the electric scheme of how the assembly of this cable should be made. The diodes must be soldered directly into the DB25 connector.

Super Nintendo Schematics

Figure 1: Super Nintendo to PC cable schematics.

The most important thing to take care with while soldering the cables and the DB-25 plug diodes is watching the pinning of the connector. If you watch it closely, at the very connector there is the number of each pin (a very small number, next to each pin, numbered 1, 2, 3, etc). Looking from behind, that is, at the side that is soldered, the pinning of the connectors is shown in the figure below.

DB-25 (25-pin D-Sub)

Figure 2: Male DB-25 (25-pin D-Sub) pinout.

In the case of the SNES connector (joystick connector), we show the pinning below. Pay attention to the numbering not to make mistakes. We count the pins with the connector that comes from joystick as seen from its front, with the round side of the plug to the right.

SNES Connector

Figure 3: Super Nintendo Connector.

After assembling the cable, you will have to install a driver in your PC. If you use Windows 9x or ME, you should download DirectPad from If you use Windows 2000 or XP, download NTpad from

To install the driver in Windows 9x or ME, install the joystick in the PC, uncompress DirectPad in a directory in your PC (for ex.: c:joystick) go to the Control Panel, double click in the Game Controllers icon, click in the Add… box in the window that will be shown and then select Add Another, clicking in the box With Disk and indicating the directory into which you uncompressed DirectPad. Windows will recognize the control, click in Accept and then Finish. After installing the driver, you will need to select it, click in Properties and then, in Configuration, you have to select the type of joystick installed, which will be SNES in our case.

In Windows 2000 or XP, all you have to do is uncompress the file and run install.exe file. Select SNES as the joystick.

You may also use the Super Nintendo joystick in the DOS, which is very useful in case you are running any DOS emulator. All you have to do is download SNESKey program from After uncompressing the file, run it using the command SNESKEY SNES.INI /t before running your emulator. What this program does is to convert each joystick button into a keyboard key. Editing Snes.ini file you may configure which keys will be controlled by the joystick.

One important reminder: for this to work, the parallel port should be configured as ECP in the setup of the computer.

Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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