Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Apple Sony Nintendo Mashup or how to turn your Mac into a retro gaming console

To me, Macs mean work. As the chosen platform of most creative industries, Macs are what I've been staring at most of my working life. When I kick back, I turn on a gaming console. But it doesn't have to be that way. Your Mac can be a retro gaming machine too.

Got a PS3 controller, a Mac and some old Nintendo games? You're in business. With this odd mix of gear, you've got a retro gaming console right there. Here's how in five simple steps.

Step 1: Download the emulators

Emulators are programs that run other systems on top of Mac OS. It emulates the system of, say, a SNES or a Sega Genesis.

You can download a whole bunch of emulators here. I suggest the SNES emulator. It's just a classic. The N64 emulators have some issues to them, but I got one of them working smoothly in half the resolution (320x240).

Step 2: Download the ROMs

ROMs are basically your old game cartridges, but in this incarnation, they're files with a .ROM ending. You can download a ton of ROMs online.

There's a legal issue here because this is technically software piracy, so I won't point you to a source. But anyone who knows how to download a torrent can figure it out. Rest assured, if you own the game, you can claim that the download is a copy of the game you own and thus play with a clean conscience.

Step 3: Connect your controller

First off, you'll need the PS3 Bluetooth driver for Macs. Get it here and install.

Your PS3 controller should now be showing up in your Mac's Bluetooth control panel. But pressing the buttons doesn't do anything. Don't worry. The next step will fix that.

Step 4: Assign buttons

Next, you'll need GamePad Companion. It's shareware, so you can install it for free. If you like it, you can also pay for it. It's worth every penny.

What this program does is assign keyboard presses to the buttons on your controller. This is the trickiest part of the process. What I did was open the emulator program and check out their control scheme. Then I went back to GamePad Companion (it's in System Preferences) and assigned the PS3 controller buttons to the keyboard's control scheme.

Here's a simple SNES configuration (for the SNES9x emulator) for you:

Button 1 (Select Button) = Tab
Button 4 (Start Button) = Enter
Button 5 (D-Pad Up) = Up
Button 6 (D-Pad Right) = Right
Button 7 (D-Pad Down) = Down
Button 8 (D-Pad Left) = Left
Button 13 (Triangle Button) = Control
Button 14 (Circle Button) = Command
Button 15 (Cross Button) = Option
Button 16 (Square Button) = Shift

Save your settings.

Step 5: Fire it up

Select your desired settings on GamePad Companion, and hit Start.

Open your emulator.

Choose a ROM and open that from your emulator.

Voila! Your PS3 controller should now be working like magic. Here's a pic of me playing Yoshi's Island. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Ligaya said...

Oh woooooooowwwwwww. Thank you for sharing this! *0*