TU/e students build world's largest working Nintendo controller

November 24, 2022

Thanks to student association Thor, everyone on TU/e campus can play Super Mario in XL format.

The megacontroller measures 6 by 2.5 meters and is based on the popular Super Nintendo. Photo: Bart van Overbeeke

The megacontroller measures 6 by 2.5 meters and is based on the popular Super Nintendo from the nineties. The giant copy was built by four committee members and a handful of volunteers from the student association Thor (department of Electrical Engineering), which is celebrating its anniversary. Everyone can play a game of Super Mario on the TU/e campus, in the Market Hall near MetaForum, until Friday, Dec. 2 (except weekends).

"This one is bigger than the controller made by students at TU Delft in 2011," says Thor board member Jilles Tils proudly. There has been contact with the organization of the Guiness Book of Records, but an official world record is not an option. "Then it should have been made of plastic, just like the original. We chose to make it out of wood, which is more sustainable."

Thor wanted to 'do something bold again' for their 65th anniversary, explains Britt Vermeulen of the anniversary committee. In 2014, Thor already projected the largest Tetris game ever on one of the buildings on the TU/e campus, which at the time was good for a mention in the Guiness Book of Records.

This time the team spent about three-quarters of a year developing and building it, mostly in the garden at Britt's house. Jilles: "We unscrewed two original controllers to see exactly how everything worked." Britt adds: "One of the hardest parts to fabricate were the springs made of iron wire, which we developed ourselves."

Britt Vermeulen and Jilles Tils. Photo: Bart van Overbeeke

With plywood in the shower

Funny detail: the buttons of the original controller are not only round, but also slightly curved. To mimic this on a large scale, an interesting solution was chosen. Jilles, laughing: "We stood under a hot shower with the plywood, because we had read that this would allow us to bend the material far enough, and that turned out to be true." Last Sunday, the team built the controller on campus, a job that took from 9 a.m. until 3 a.m.

What will happen to the controller - which, by the way, is connected to the screen via a laptop - after Friday, December 2 is not yet known. There is some interest from the gaming world, think of events and LAN parties, but a new destination has not yet been found. Britt: "So if there's anyone who would like to do something with this, we are open to that. Interested parties can contact us!"

Media contact

Frans Raaijmakers
(Science Information Officer)

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