Nintendo Hack: Famicom-Controlled Fighting Robot

A talented Japanese modder uses a Famicom controller for his own rock’em sock’em robot.

Famicom Controlled Robot by Ninagawa Izumi image 1

Robots and 8-bit Nintendo hardware have an interesting past relationship with each other. When the NES was launched in North America back in 1985, deluxe sets of the console came packaged with a robot videogame-playing buddy called R.O.B. (Robot Operating Buddy for short), which only worked with a couple of NES games and unfortunately wasnn’t too reliable when doing just that.

The same can’t be said about Ninagawa Izumi’s own robo companion that’s a heck of lot more articulate than R.O.B. ever was. It doesn’t play any videogames, but it can punch and do a ton of other awesome moves just by using a Famicom controller that Ninagawa modded himself to work seamlessly in conjunction with a ROBO-XERO humanoid robot kit.

Famicom Controlled Robot by Ninagawa Izumi image 2

Being from Japan, it’s clearly obvious why Ninagawa went with his native NES counterpart. Not like it matters anyway (also because I adore the look of the Famicom over the NES), because it’s all retro-gaming splendidness to me and more importantly it’s way impressive how Ninagawa managed to engineer the Famicom’s controller to command the actions of his robot. Apparently, all it took was a Bluetooth dongle, a Wii controller, an NES/SNES to Wii adapter, a PS to Wii adapter, and a Bluetooth-to-serial adapter.

That sounds pretty technical, brah. Thankfully, we don’t need to truly understand the inner workings of electrical engineering just to enjoy some good ole’ robot walking, robot karate moves, and arena-battle smashing that’s showcased in the video below.

Ninagawa’s robot will soon be competing against other bi-pedial robots at an upcoming ROBO-ONE, which is a Japanese event that’s kind of like the cyber-boxing Hugh Jackman movie Real Steel except on a much tinier scale. Maybe one day we can have giant-sized robot fights that bring in massive audiences similar to ancient era of the Roman Colosseum. That would be mad cool, but I guess we’ll have to do with what we got right now.

Speaking of which, we’ve got so much geeky goodness on Walyou that it’s coming out of ears: items of interest like penguins playing iPad touch games, a Samsung prototype game controller that looks quite similar to the competition’s current offerings, and the latest tech news from around the Internet.