I have quite a few game and computer consoles (I stopped counting), and there's not one that I haven't sat down to play without saying to myself, "This controller sucks!" or "This picture sucks!" or even "Why doesn't this damn thing work?!" When I set out to remedy these problems, I found lots of good information scattered around the net. I also learned that lots of needed information couldn't be found, and I'd have to sit down and figure it out myself.

At first I had a sheaf of papers with notes on them, but they frequently got lost or missorted. So I wrote them up as files for my own reference. It wasn't too long after that that I made them into a little HTML-ized library on my computer. The logical step from there was to upload them to a site so others could see them too.

My aim here is to assemble a central resource for others who want maximimum game-playing enjoyment for most any console by allowing use of a wide variety of controllers or obtaining a better video image, but don't want to spend time in an often fruitless search of non-technically-oriented FAQs. I present what I have learned myself as well as what I have gathered from other resources.


I try not to take credit for the work of others. Wherever possible (and whenever I remember), projects that I did not create are credited to the original source. Anything that is not credited to another source is a result of my own work, though I sometimes use bits and pieces I see elsewhere for my own purposes.

I swiped most of the logos from the Digital Press CD. I hope Sean doesn't mind.

I also swiped the little icons of jacks and cables from Joakim Ögren's fantastic Hardware Book. I also hope he doesn't mind my theft. They're just too spiffy.


I have personally verified all the information here, and have built and use all the circuits myself. If I have not checked or built something, it's not presented. Even so, I cannot accept responsibility for your results, good or bad. If your game system gets trashed, it ain't my fault. Take some comfort in knowing that I've trashed lots of equipment myself.

I try to make this everything as easy to understand as possible. I'm no electronic genius myself; there's plenty I don't fully comprehend, and plenty more that has me completely baffled.

What's with that "Deathskull" name?

Naturally, there's a story behind that one.

Years ago, I had a 5200. My brother and I saved up enough cash to buy Miner 2049'er. Playing it with the original 5200 sticks just plain sucked. So I went out and bought a Masterplay 5200 Interface. Miner instantly became a great game.

Years later, after my original 5200 had died, I purchased another from a kid who had placed a classified ad in the paper. He needed more money to buy NES games. Along with the 5200 and his meager stack of carts was another Masterplay.

Years after even that, I found out one of my old friends had a 5200. He bitched about the sticks. I loaned him one of my Masterplays.

Another few years go by, and I became afflicted with full-blown video game dementia. I had pretty much no income and barely a thing to trade away. I realized the Masterplay was a much sought-after peripheral, and as tradebait could bring me something pretty cool. I repeatedly harrassed my friend to return the one I had loaned him. He mailed me a letter on some unrelated matter. In the letter he wrote "The Deathskull 5000 Brain-Fist-TV Interface will be along shortly," mocking the lengthy and somewhat pompous name "Masterplay 5200 Interface."

So there you have it. The name was just a postscript from a goofy friend, but it had just the right ominous and self-important ring to it.

For what it's worth, he still hasn't returned my Masterplay.

Jay Tilton