Bliss-box adapter turns in to a 4 player device and lunches on KickStarter

I have seen Bliss-Box discussed on shoryuken in a few sections, it’s no fighting stick but certainly a neat little device.

The kick starter has launched here for anyone interested.

For anyone that does not know, the Bliss-box was an adapter for many console controllers to a computer. A new 4-player version has entered production and the KS has begun.

as long as you dont have a shit ton of different controllers which you even want to use its for my taste way to expensive.

  • i dont like that “circle” design… i think it would be better when they all would show in one direction.

Holy shit, 150k?

150K, what they are trying to buy, a plastic molding facility?

4-Play Review
Background Information
I just wanted to provide a little background information about why I’m doing this review. I originally purchased four Bliss-Boxes several years ago at $100 a piece to allow my wife and I as well as our children play games together. These were the first four Bliss-Boxes that were ever made which is why they look a little rough around the edges. I recently found out about the Kickstarter campaign and contacted the developer to ask if I could demo the hand built proto-type he showed off in his video. He accepted my request and sent me the prototype to test out and post a review about. So, I hope you enjoy the review.

What is a Bliss-Box and 4-Play?
Bliss-Box was the original PC to USB Adapter that was made to connect a variety of video game controllers to your computer. These were boxes custom built to order and made by hand in a garage. He even had to mold plastic sometimes if a suitable connector wasn’t readily available. Here is an example of one of the original Bliss-Boxes I bought several years ago. The only limitation was you had to buy 1 Bliss-Box per controller being used, so if you were playing a 4 player N64 game, you would be required to have 4 Bliss-Boxes. The image below is one of the Bliss-Boxes I bought several years ago. It’s a little rough around the edges but it gets the job done.

The 4-Play is commercialized version of the Bliss-Box with the added bonus of being able to connect and use 4 controllers at once. This is basically like having 4 Bliss-Boxes in one small adapter.The smaller compact size was accomplished by using HMDI input (controller connects to the 4-play via an HDMI cable) instead of having an adapter for each controller mounted on the box. It’s a much smarter design. Please note the image below is of the proto-type (case & circuit board) that I’m doing this review on. This product is still subject to change in color and design.

Here is a closer look at the circuit board

For being a proto-type, everything appears to be very professionally done and manufactured with quality products. I saw a few comments on some of the forums advising that the 4-Play looks cheap and appears to be made in china. After holding and testing the 4-Play, I have to disagree. It feels like a solid product. It’s not too heavy but it feels sturdy to the point where if I happened to drop it on my tile floor, I don’t think it would break.

What kind of controller ports does the 4-Play support?

• Wii Remote Expansion Port (Nunchuck, Classic Controller, etc.)

• Game Cube
• Saturn
• Nintendo 64
• Turbo grafix 16

• Dream cast
• PC engine (6 button turbo gafix 16)
• Pippin
• PlayStation (1 and 2)

• Vectrex
• DB9 (Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Atari 2600, etc.)
• Jaguar
• DH15 (Atari 5200, Neo Geo, etc.)

Please note that the Virtual Boy port is also supported by the 4-Play, however I did not receive that cable so I was unable to show a picture of it.

The cables and connectors are very solid and indistinguishable from those found on the actual consoles. If you are a completest and require 4 or each type of controller you are looking at 68 total cables (4 players x 17 cables). If you are concerned how much space this will take up in your home, then I have some good news for you. All 68 cables and 4-Play adapter can easily fit in a small shoe box.

How well does this device work on the computer and was it easy to use?
I was very impressed with how easy the product was to use. You literally just plug your controller into HDMI cable adapter which plugs into the 4-Play, then plug the 4-Play into a USB port on your computer and that’s it. You have afully functional game pad. You will still need to set the input selections in an emulator just like you would with any other gamepad. See the below example of how to do this.

• In Kega Fusion, select “Options” then “Set Config”
• Navigate to the “Controllers” tab and change port 1 from “Keyboard” to “Bliss-Box”
• Click the “Define” button to input the controls (↑↓←→ A B C X Y Z Mode & Start)
• Click on the “Apply” & “OK” buttons

That’s it, you are good to go! Each emulator has its own method of selecting inputs so the set up will be slightly different based on the emulator you are using.

Please see the video below for a demonstration of me using the 4-Play with an emulator. In the video, you will see me showing off the auto-pausing functionality, hot swapping controllers, as well as verifying the updater and that fact that it supports multi-player without any special requirements. I apologize about the quality of the video, this was the first review I’ve ever done. I realize the TV is hard to see, but you can still see the characters moving on screen when I’m using the controllers.

What controllers did you test?
After the video was done, I tested out all the controllers listed below just to see how well it handled different official and third party controllers. I was impressed because they all worked perfectly. I didn’t have issues with any of the controllers seen in the image below.

• Super Nintendo (Official & third party version)
• Nintendo 64
• GameCube (Original and Wavebrid version)
• PlayStation 2 (Original and Street Fighter version)
• Sega Genesis (Official 3 button, Official 6 button, 3 other third party versions)
• Sega Saturn
• Sega Dreamcast (Official US, Official PAL, & third party version)
• Neo Geo
• Also pictured are the original 4 original Bliss-Boxes that I purchased, just so you can see how much the product has evolved

**Pros: **
• Very small compact size compared to the original
• Allows 4 controllers to be connected at once
• It’s ready to use right out of the box, no special software required with the exception of firmware updates
• Auto-pause if controller is disconnected
• Hot swapping capabilities
• Easily upgradable via firmware update
• Future proof /expandable (all that is required is a new cable and a firmware update)
• Each port is independently upgradable so they can run different firmware’s if needed
• Price - at $125 for the full package and all the cables this is a steal compared to the $400 it would cost to buy 4 Bliss-Boxes
• Supports complex features like
– PS2’s pressure sensitive buttons
– Force Feedback
– Communication with Dreamcast LCD screen (currently, no emulators support this… yet)

The 4-play has a reset button that is next to the HDMI port. The reset button is hard to find because it’s very well hidden. I had to contact the 4-Play developer to find out where it was located. It’s only used to reset the device if you’re controller isn’t recognized or if you are upgrading the firmware. Once you locate it, it becomes a non-issue. I spoke with the developer about this and they advise it will be more clearly labeled on the final product.

In order for this product to be manufactured / mass produced, the Kickstater campaign has to reach $150,000. If you are reading this review I making the assumption you have or are looking for a USB adapter. If that’s the case, then I strongly recommend this over product over other products based on its versatility, price, usability (no software), and quality. If you have any questions or need any clarifications about anything in this review, please let me know.

Bliss-Box / 4-Play Homepage
High Resolution images from this post can be downloaded here
Controller Compatibility List
Button Layout / Configuration

That is a cool review and I thank you for signing up to the forums for the sole purpose of enlightening us on why we should spend over 100 dollars to use an NES controller on a PC.

A few concerns with the KS, and some constructive criticisms.

According to the posts regarding the 150k mark, the number they are basing it on is a project that has horribly failed as a kickstarter.

Not that this one will go that route, but don’t just pick a number like that and reference one, especially one that failed like this. Really understand the amount you’re asking for and present it properly as to why you need that much.

From the KS:

As someone who’s been through a KS (albeit a lower numbered one on average), I think that he’s done a really terrible job at thinking this through and doing his homework.

  1. I saw in a forum post linked in the comments section, that he’s sunk nearly 40k of his own money into this.
    -Why? That 40k should have been the kickstarter. To get it even moving, including funding of the molding, the PCB manufacture, and a handful of more commonly used cables, using stretch goals for the more niche cables that maybe a handful of people actually care about, and don’t already have a dedicated converter for.

  2. This kickstarter isn’t really to get it built.
    -He’s already gotten it built in prototype form, and already stated that the manufacturing is complete. The KS sounds like it’s really for “give me money so I can get this built and quit my job to build a company around an extremely niche market.”

  3. The presentation
    -It’s pretty bad. Luckily I know what the Bliss-box was, so I got what this was right away, but overall there’s so many things lacking in the project overview that KS themselves give really nice bullet points on for what he should have. Like… you could have said and really pushed home that you love this project so much that you’ve spent a ton of your own money just getting to this point… yet that isn’t stated anywhere, instead hidden and giving the backers the impression that you’re just looking to get your money back.

  4. I have no idea who Mike Zhao is
    -He doesn’t really show off other projects or why he’s qualified to design this for him, or why it’s so important we even know his name. There’s a few people on this board alone who could have gotten him to this point, without having you shell out so much in the process.

I think the project is beautiful, and it looks quality, but you really gotta assess things better in the future for it to really succeed.

All of this for a console to usb converter?

Phreakazoid, thx for the feedback.

  1. The 40k is in the kick starter.
  2. You put too much personal attachment in your assumption. It’s to get back the 40k and produce it. I’d like to see it develop in to an opportunity to make a few more product sure, but I’m not going to quit my career?
  3. Ok
  4. Ok, and the tooling is where the high costs come from.

KS does not require a fee and once its starts the goal and dates are set, so its like beating a dead horse to talk about it. We have already learned much of what you said and have a new plan. Through the harsh tone and failed assumptions I do see the relevant criticism. Thank you.

Also that wording you quoted has since been revised, I had 3 editors.

nice collection that you hvae

Thanks lauragibs. I used to owen ever single system produced but got married and had kids so I sold them but kept a few of the controllers to use with emulators.

Kids take up a lot of space lol

It’s back

and with a much lower goal of $75,000.

Here’s hoping that he’s successful this time. It’s a really neat concept!

The first KS only raised $11,847 (out of their $150,000 goal) and you have to pledge $70 ish to get the full adapter.
Now they are asking for $75,000, they raised 16,265 with 55 days to go. And the adapter dropped to $35.

Oh well, its original hardware for me.

I could get behind the high cost if it wasn’t PC only, like if the connector was modular and would allow you to connect it to any console, like how the controller connectors are modular. Then I could get behind it. Otherwise, I mean, most people are happy using general purpose controllers on PC or prefer new or updated controllers vs old ones for quality reasons. It’s not like there is a huge market for old console controllers, most of that stuff is second hand which the quality varies from depending on how well taken care of that stuff was…

Now that would be a console collectors dream right there.

The first KS full adapter was $85
The second is $85

Not sure where you are getting that info from? This new KS has a few lower priced options.

That is already in the KS,

This 4 player version would work on other USB based consoles if they excepted hubs (like the ps3 and possibly with wiiU). Moving forward with the multi-consol option we will have an add-on for the single play. As you suggested we plan to make another set of cables for each system (i.e. psx->Bliss-Box->atari) . The KS is to open the doors, not to make a list of products. Once we have the funding these other products can become a reality. In a poll the 4-play had the highest demand.

No it dosen’t, I will take a chance and gamble here that the Bliss-Box will not work with the OG Xbox console (via plug adapter), Xbox 360 and Xbox One as well as the PS4 and PS Vita TV console.
Don’t make statements you can’t back up because someone like me (or worst) will poke so many holes into your presentation.

Thanks for the correction, but if I had an issue with a $70 adapter, how you think I feel about a $85 adapter.

The doors been open for while now buddy. You aren’t the first to hatch together a DIY USB adapter, but you are the first that tries to be all inclusive for controllers.
A Prototype Bliss box been around for a while, if you just want to open the doors to the DIY crowd you would have the board open source instead of just having the controller cable pin outs on your website.

I find the idea interesting, but I keep wondering if there’s really that much of a market for a use-any-controller-on-your-PC adapter.

From what I understand:

  • casual PC gamers wanting to play emulated games are usually satisfied (or just suck it up) with the run-of-the-mill all-purpose Logitech (or whatever other brand) controller ($15-20), or have a single adapter ($5-10) for the one console controller they use
  • hardcore classic-console people who would be dedicated enough to use the original console’s controller are usually dedicated enough to run the original console hardware (rather than run emulation on a PC)

The Bliss-Box doesn’t seem to apply to any of the above markets. Maybe I’m simplifying the categories a little too much, but I’d love to hear a different perspective in the above analysis.

Personally, if I had one of these, I don’t think I’d ever use more than two of the connectors, at the maximum, and nothing that can’t be replaced by two separate $5-10 adapters procured elsewhere. At that pricepoint, no matter how flexible or upgradeable it is, it definitely feels like it would be a lot of wasted functionality for a lot of people.

Why do you say it does not work, I have beta testers showing it works just fine. The 4-play works on a ps3, all 4 controller show up. The wiiU also supports hubs but natively it will not use a USB HID. This break trough has already been solved in the OS community.

You never told me what adapter you are talking about you said Ish, be more clear.

The door opening comment was about the new products, not this one, I thought that was pretty clear. The Bliss-Box source is on the page and it is for a D.I.Y crowd. The doors are not opening for them they are for the retail world. Hence the mention of new products.

FreedomGundam, its not for the masses, no. Its extremely niche.

Said the account that only been made to push this KS, and your only 4 posts are in this thread.