Super Lego Mario Bros Controller

Mario controller
(Image credit: Rick @R1ckp)

Nintendo’s Mario games have a special place in our hearts. The same is true for Lego so when the two companies joined forces to release a Mario themed Lego set there were cheers from fans around the world. One enterprising hardware hacker has turned the Lego Mario character into a retro gaming controller for their emulated NES.

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Rick @r1ckp, a dedicated hardware hacker has taken the challenge of using the Mario figure as an input for an emulated game of the original NES classic Super Mario Brothers playing on his Macbook. The Lego Mario figure is not a typical mini figure rather it is a buildable figure which has embedded electronics that communicate over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to Rick’s Mac. Tilting Mario in a direction or performing gestures such as touching a Lego warp pipe causes the on screen Mario to perform jumps, run and use fire flowers on poor Goombas! The tilt and gesture controls are captured by Mario’s Inertial Measurement Unit, part of his electronics and then broadcast over Bluetooth Low Energy to Rick’s Mac. A Python script on the Mac is checking the data sent via BLE and will simulate key-presses based up on the data it receives.

Rick has placed his project on GitHub where you can download and try it out for yourself. Right now it has only been tested with macOS, but with a few tweaks it can be made to work with Windows and Linux machines.

Les Pounder

Les Pounder is an associate editor at Tom's Hardware. He is a creative technologist and for seven years has created projects to educate and inspire minds both young and old. He has worked with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to write and deliver their teacher training program "Picademy".