Nowadays an old Xbox (Classic) is cheap to get, usually comes with a modchip installed and with a replacement HDD enough space for your Neo Geo emulation needs.
Since I do like the Final Burn emulator, I`m using Final Burn Alpha Pro-XXX on the Xbox, a nice port with dozens of options to play around with, support for the NG universal BIOS, video filters, … There are other flavors (FBA Legends, …) available as well, but since I do have a descent ROMSet for my Pro-XXX I don`t see too much reasons to switch.
Needless to say, to use the original Xbox controller (or the smaller S Controller) is not an option to play Neo Geo games. There are some alternatives:
– Get yourself an Xbox stick / arcade board. Unfortunately, there were not many joysticks / arcade boards for the old Xbox available, and today it`s even worse as you might simply not find one on eBay.
– Street Fighter 15th Anniversary Edition Arcade Stick Good stick, but not my first choice. No love for the button layout. Besides, using a Capcom-stick to play SNK games… 😉
– RADICA: GAMESTER I found that one some time ago on eBay. As the price was quite low I decided to give it a shot. It`s not total crap, but it`s far from being a good stick as well. Don`t buy it.
– Use a PlayStation-adapter to hook up PS1- and PS2-sticks. Good idea, but not always painless as there are many adaptors available that aren`t 100% compatible with all the sticks out there, plus you might add some lag.
A couple of days ago I stumbled upon another alternative: KADE, or Kick Ass Device Encoder. KADE lets you hook up all kind of controllers to computers and consoles (MAME, Xbox, PS3, …). Originally a Kickstarter-project, now available for everybody and on stock (Feb 2014).
KADE consists of two pieces, one flashdrive-like controller and one interface for the wiring:
Nicely enough, KADE supports an Xbox-encoding by default. As the Xbox controller ports are basically USB-ports in a different form, you`ll need to get some adapter cable on top, which can be bought very cheap on eBay. I went for the cheapes China-based store, no complaints about the adapter.
Now, the interesting part – how to marry the Neo Geo oldschool-stick with KADE. As I did not want to cut the cable, I decided to sacrifice an extension-cord, which is nothing more than a standard PC-joystick extension-cord. eBay as well.
I have no idea if the color-coding of the cables are in any way standardized, but just in case somebody wants to give it a shot (female connector facing you):
- PIN1: Brown
- PIN3: Orange
- PIN4: Pink
- PIN5: Yellow
- PIN6: Green
- PIN7: Turquoise
- PIN8: Blue
- PIN9: Violett
- PIN11: Pink&Black
- PIN12: Black
- PIN13: Red&Black
- PIN14: Orange&Black
- PIN15: Yellow&Black
PINs 2 and 10 are not utilized, therefore we don`t need them.
You can customize KADEs configuration, but to keep it simple I recommend to use the default mapping (PIN: cable color –> Function / KADE):
- PIN1: Brown –> GND / GND
- PIN3: Orange –> Select / A10
- PIN4: Pink –> Button D* / B4
- PIN5: Yellow –> Button B / B2
- PIN6: Green –> Joystick Right / A4
- PIN7: Turquoise –> Joystick Down / A2
- PIN8: Blue –> +5V / +5V
- PIN9: Violett –> Button D* / —
- PIN11: Pink&Black –> Start / A9
- PIN12: Black –> Button C / B3
- PIN13: Red&Black –> Button A / B1
- PIN14: Orange&Black –> Joystick Left / A3
- PIN15: Yellow&Black –> Joystick Up / A1
*No mistake – you can use either of both PINs, both configurations will work.
The finished wiring looks like this:
Connect the USB to Xbox-cable to KADE and your Xbox, and the joystick extension-cord to your Neo Geo stick – voila, done!
If something is not working, a very helpful utility is the Xbox Controller Tool program:
With some customization, it might be possible to add a functionality to exit a game or start the in-game menu in FBA-XXX with the Neo Geo stick, but I simply keep a 2nd standard Xbox controller connected for this.
Enjoy some amazing Neo Geo games the way they were meant to be played!
Next project coming up – I ordered a 2nd KADE and a couple of small pushbuttons, let`s see if everything fits in the NG oldschool stick.