Full name: PSX / N64 USB Converter
Cost: about £7, or about $12
OS Compatibility: Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP and Mac OS are mentioned on the box. No doubt connecting it to Linux is possible, but the drivers are not included on the disk that I can see.
The Adaptor is a little transparent blue* plastic box, with two ports for attaching joypads, and one long cable which plugs into any standard USB (1.0 or higher) port on either an IBM compatible PC, or a Macintosh. One port is for attaching a Sony PlayStation joypad, one for a Nintendo 64 joypad. There is also a switch which selects whether the input sent to the computer is from the PSX port or the N64 port. Two LEDs indicate whether the N64 or the PSX port is currently providing input.
While you can get many interfaces that link console joypads up to PCs (and the Internet is full of plans for people to build their own), this is one of the few I have seen which caters for more than one joypad. It is compatible with PSX Dual Shock controllers as far as analogue stick input goes, but not as far as the Rumble effect and Analogue buttons. Apparently all PSX controllers will work with the device, although I do not own a PSX so I have not had chance to verify this. I do however own an N64, and since I am very much of the opinion that the N64 controller was probably the best controller ever designed at the time it came out**, I naturally wanted to be able to play emulators and other console style games (such as my copy of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 for the PC) with my N64 pads.
I saw the adaptor for sale on Lik-Sang (http://www.lik-sang.com) and ordered one. After just over a week it arrived, and shockingly enough, it worked perfectly. After a minute of driver installing (which I'd never done before, but found incredibly simple; the drivers came with it on a floppy disk) and a quick reboot of the PC, I was up and running immediately. The joypad was configured in the control panel, and I then tried it out with the following games / emulators. I have been unable to find, as yet, anything that it doesn't work with.
I have no doubt that pretty much any major game or emulator which has joystick support will work with the pad.
A few words about compatibility before you all run out to buy it - while myu two N64 pads worked perfectly, I also have one really crappy Gamester pad which cost me about £15 at a time when real controllers were £30. It's overall build quality is immensely low, making playing with it not a lot of fun. Predictably enough, this pad is simply not compatible at all with the adaptor. This doesn't really worry me that much though, to be honest...
Also, from reading the documentation and the FAQs on Lik-Sang, the following PlayStation things don't work:
- Dance mats (because they require the pressing of two opposing directions at once, which the adaptor does not support)
- Light Guns
- Any number of 3rd party pads (of which there are plenty) are liable to have slightly different set ups and so may not work well or at all. However, from what I have seen it appears that official PSX pads always work.
Overall, this is a great peripheral to have for any gamer who doesn't like playing emulators or other console style games on the keyboard. And the N64's analogue control is brilliant for things like balancing grinds on Tony Hawk's. For the price, I would say this is a must buy.
* - If you are going to buy this thing on the basis of what colour it is, I recommend that you save your money and get something free with a box of cereal. It will provide you with just as much amusement.
** - Debatable. However, the debate is easily solved because I'm right and you're wrong.
Please note that in this writeup "PSX" refers to the original PlayStation, ie the one which was remade as the PSOne. This is important to make clear because Sony has just announced that a version of the PlayStation 2 which has slightly upgraded hardware will be released, and it will be confusingly called the PSX.