Update (Fri 23rd Dec, 2022 11:00 GMT): Earlier this year, we wrote about Robert Dale Smith's mission to create a cheaper solution to costly Nuon controllers, and it seems he's made the breakthrough we've all been waiting for.
In a recent Twitter post, he unveiled the Nuon USB, a device that allows you to use various USB controllers as well as a keyboard and mouse with the DVD player-cum-gaming machine. It's a terrific breakthrough and one that will likely make collectors of the machine happy.
In the post, Smith said he still has a bit more work to do on it before it is ready. This includes options for alt analog and quadrature inputs, as well as emulating the Nuon splitter with the USB hub (multi-tap). He also hopes to be able to get rumble working and crack the serial comm side of the protocol for homebrew developers. This would mean they could potentially debug on real hardware. Once it's ready for sale, Smith is going to post an interest sign-up form to check demand. This will decide how many he manufactures, so make sure you follow him on Twitter to express your interest.
Below you'll find a video of Smith using the device to play Tempest 3000 with a PS5 DualSense controller.
Original article (Tue 27th Sep, 2022 13:30 BST): The Nuon isn't a platform we get to talk about every day. The enhanced DVD player, developed by VMLabs, is viewed as a bit of an oddity in the gaming space and isn't necessarily the easiest "console" to collect for either.
One of the biggest obstacles relates to the controller options. Most of the licensed controllers sell for way more than the machine itself, and alternatives can't be used as the system features a built-in "lock out" chip that prevents the typical USB solution. Over the last couple of years, there have been some attempts to reverse-engineer a controller solution that will work on the console, including from individuals like SongbirdPro, and it now seems that another party has thrown their hat into the ring too.
Robert Dale Smith is an engineer who produces adapters for obscure machines to sell on his website ControllerAdapter.com. In the past, he's produced a USB to PC Engine adapter, a PC Engine to Turbografx-16 adapter, and a SNES to 3DO adapter, and it appears that his next set of projects will be just as interesting to collectors: a USB to Nuon and Nuon to USB solution. This will hopefully allow for a much broader range of controllers to be used alongside the DVD system.
Of course, this won't be straightforward. Not only has it already required Smith to fork out for one of the machine's expensive controller accessories (which set him back $265 in total), but it also means he will need to closely analyze and replicate the controller protocol. If he's successful, though, it will ensure more people will be able to play the Nuon for far cheaper, which will also arguably benefit things like homebrew development.
This is something we're going to keep our eye on for sure over the next few months, and we'll keep you updated if or when any progress is made.
Do you own a Nuon? Have you managed to find a controller for it yet? Let us know in the comments!
Wow! And I thought I knew all the weird media/game crossover tech of the late 90s. Missed this one completely.
Thankfully there is next to no reason to own a nuon except the novelty and tempest.
@HoyeBoye I remember it being hyped in late '90s magazines under the codename "Project X" with I think, at least GamePro, using an X-Files logo to reference it. It seemed like it was one of many phantom consoles.
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