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Why is it so hard to replicate the n64 controller in the 2010s?
Topic Started: Aug 21 2017, 07:56 AM (251 Views)
danny_galaga
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Senior Member
Yeah, the N64 uses optical encoders for the thumbsticks. This is the same technology as the old ball mouse (mice, meece!). It is an extremely fine way of doing it. And works brilliantly until the parts wear out. Pretty much every other controller though uses potentiometers (variable resistors). A totally different way of sending a signal. There is no other thing to replace the optical encoder thumbsticks. It was quite unique. There are myriad potentiometer based thumbsticks though for just cents- PS1, PS2, PS3, Gamecube, Xbox, Xbox360 etc. So ALL the aftermarket controllers or replacement thumbsticks for N64 use one of those. As Reliant pointed out, you have to convert the signal and it just doesn't seem to translate very well.

The other tact that people have tried is to just replace the moving parts that wear out. I'm pretty familiar with trying to replicate those parts myself, having tried to get some reverse engineered. I spent $500 USD on laser scanning, and $2500 getting some moulds made. Never quite worked out. So this video clip is pretty much all I have for an outlay of three grand :D :(

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANaZikMJpsQ
Edited by danny_galaga, Aug 31 2017, 01:16 AM.
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