When you look at some kids’ toys, such as the “VTech Turn and Learn Driver” wheel, you may have wondered what it would take to convert such a device into an actual video game controller. Well now you no longer have to wonder, as the Insert Controller Here YouTube channel has modified one of these controllers to play Mario Kart: Double Dash.
While details of the mod are somewhat slim, the video below depicts the gadget being disassembled. Wires are then soldered to the correct pads to intercept driving signals, and inputs are fed to an Arduino Leonardo that translates everything into the correct format.
Controls appear to be a gas “pedal” that you simply shift into with a lever on the left, along with a brake on the right. Aggressive slamming of the wheel/driving doggie appears to put Mario/Luigi in to a slide, helping the pair make it around the track in a hurry. While functional, there are a few other buttons on this device that could likely also be added to the scheme as needed for additional complexity.
Of course, Insert Controller Here isn’t the only hacker to mod kids’ toys for modern-ish driving “simulation.” Be sure to check out this build by Matt “Circuitbeard” Brailsford where mods a 1980s-era Tommy Turnin’ Turbo Dashboard to play an Outrun port running on a Raspberry Pi.