key_NES RC1 is ready!

key_NES is a Nintendo NES game controller “driver” for Mac OS X, using an Arduino as the hardware interface. It is built mainly to allow the use of 1 or 2 NES controllers as gamepads for video game emulators such as Genesis Plus (for Sega Mega Drive/Genesis) and Nestopia (for Nintendo NES), however it can be customized to be used with any emulator (or application). Code for the Arduino is included with the application.

You can download key_NES RC1 here.


Features include:

  • full visual feedback of controllers
  • 2 control pad support
  • soft-swap of control pads
  • Genesis Plus and Nestopia keyboard mappings
  • full key re-assignment functionality
  • save/load custom mapping preset to file


  • Computer running Mac OS X
  • Arduino development board (with serial driver installed)
  • 1 or 2 Nintendo NES Controllers

key_NES was created in MaxMSP 5 and was compiled into a standalone application so you do not need to have MaxMSP to run it. It is based around converting gamepad button presses to simulated presses of the computer keyboard. This is enabled with the help of Masayuki Akamatsu‘s fantastic aki.keyboard object for MaxMSP. Since this application simply converts button presses to keystrokes, it can potentially be used for many computer tasks, when customized.

Please let me know of any bugs, problems, or suggestions.

The MaxMSP source files are available to download here.

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