When you get really excited about something, and you’re about to jump in headfirst, something always seems to go wrong. That’s exactly what happened to Heather and I when we decided that we wanted to play some Nintendo 64 over the weekend. We got excited, set up our chairs and recording software, fired up the game and received a “No Controller” message. Heather’s ancient Atomic Purple controller had bit the dust.
So there we were. Unable to play. Disappointed. Devastated at the loss of a long-loved controller.
Monday morning I started shopping around. We had to have another controller if we were going to play, and sooner rather than later so we could capitalize on the excitement we still had. Our options were pretty clear. Pay $20 for a plain grey controller from the local store, or buy another Atomic Purple edition online and wait for it to get here. I decided to go for the third option: Revive it.
Some quick research told me that N64 controllers weren’t that difficult to work on. Gaming hardware was pretty basic back then, even for something as “advanced” as the Nintendo 64. I broke out the tools and went to work:
It was pretty clear where the problem most likely was when I opened up the controller. In order to line everything up correctly and to keep the cord from being pulled out of the controller, the wires were snaked around in an S-shape that over time would no doubt cause problems. I removed about 2 or 3 inches of the wires where they were most kinked and spliced everything back together. In less than 2 hours we went from broken controller to gaming once again. The repair actually appears to be more solid than what was there once it all went back together.
All in all I was very pleased with myself. I saved us some money and a lot of time. I was also able to salvage part of Heather’s childhood that would otherwise be lost. If anyone is interested in more information about the process from start to finish, I would be happy to write up more of a how-to post. I just didn’t figure there were too many people out there who were interested in repairing a controller for the N64.
Have you ever worked on a piece of gaming hardware? Have you ever fixed something that most people would’ve just thrown away? We’d like to hear your thoughts so please be sure to leave us a comment below.
If you haven’t checked out our gaming channel yet, we really think you’d enjoy it. We’ve been working hard to produce the best content we can and we have a lot of good things lined up yet still. We’ve uploaded over 50 videos already, from let’s plays to funny highlights and everything in between. There’s sure to be something you’ll like.