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Picture of Konami Code Wall Art
69 Glam.JPG

In 1988, I spent 30 lifetimes in the Amazon Jungle, defending Earth against an alien takeover.

That is to say ... my brother and I were in my parent's basement, blowing into Nintendo cartridges and playing Contra, until our thumbs were consumed with debilitating numbness. At which time, the pause button was employed and snacks were consumed until the opposable digits were able to return to the battle. 30+ years have passed, but I can still remember some of those days like they were yesterday.

Bandannas and biceps looked deadly, but the spread gun was my favorite weapon - followed by the machine gun. Admittedly, this arsenal wasn't enough to achieve success, which brings us to the all powerful "30 Lives Code." I may not be able to remember what I ate for lunch, but I can still rattle off the code while in deep REM sleep.

Alternate names like "Contra Code" and the technically correct "Konami Code" became more popular, but 13 year old BALES knew it as the 30 Lives Code ... ↑↑↓↓←→←→BA.

Sadly, I no longer have the Nintendo, but I have a workshop and the desire to make some video game inspired wall art.

Step 1: Milling Arrow Stock

A laser cutter would make quick and accurate work of a project like this, but I don't possess one of these magnificent machines. I did consider cutting individual arrows using the bandsaw, but knew I'd never be able to get them as consistent as my brain desires. My method of choice was to mill some square stock into the shape of an arrow, which could then be sliced into individual buttons ... like a tube of ready made cookie dough.

Note: The dimensions of this arrow stock is directly related to the round stock, which will be used for the B and A buttons. Since I had 1 1/4" dowel stock, I cut my square blank to 1 1/4" x 1 1/4".

After drawing the four lines of symmetry onto one end of the stock [Fig. 1], I connected points in the top quadrants to form the triangular tip, and then used a combination square to mark out the "base" of the arrow [Fig. 2]. Then it was onto cutting.

My Cut Order
1. Flat cuts under arrow point - set the blade height [Fig. 4], set the fence [Fig. 5], make the left and right side cuts [Fig. 6].
2. Angled cuts for arrow point - set the blade to 45°, set the fence [Fig. 7], make the left and right side cuts [Fig. 8&9].
3. Side cuts for arrow base - set the blade height [Fig. 10], set the fence [Fig. 11], make the left and right side cuts [Fig. 12].
Note: I believe this order provides the most stability/balance for each successive cut.

offseidjr2 days ago
Looks great!
MICROLAND8 days ago
-BALES- (author)  MICROLAND8 days ago
We've established that I'm in the camp that doesn't believe the Start button to be part of the code. It's the enter key after populating your password.

The community is divided, but that's ok .. life will continue.
imW216 days ago
Where's the [SELECT START] ? I know it would be hard to do the recessed buttons, but ...
Haha Yeah! As a kid I had it engrained in my head as U,U,D,D,L,R,L,R,B,A Sel Sel Start (for one player)
-BALES- (author)  imW216 days ago
Select and Start aren't part of the code. Select was for picking the two player option and Start for basically the Enter button.

When you enter coupon codes online, the Apply button isn't part of the code.
nlucier -BALES-16 days ago
Actually, Select and Start are required when using the code in the first game that it was present in, Gradius. Should be rightfully called the Gradius code, but since more players first learned it, via Nintendo Power Magazine, due to playing Contra, Konami works I guess. I still call it the Gradius Code when it comes up with my robotics kids.

I may end up making one of these with LEDs for the den. Wonder if I can find a decent vector of the Gradius and Konami logos to run through the CNC router.
-BALES- (author)  nlucier15 days ago
LEDs would be cool. With a CNC, your tolerances and fit could be so nice that you could spring load one of the buttons and make it the on/off switch.
crenshaw317 days ago
That's awesome! And inspiring! Amazing work!
Bonzadog17 days ago
Do not see any aesthetic point in this -- but there again I am not an adolescent gamer.
attosa17 days ago
Oh, love love love it
zakbobdop18 days ago
I think you really captured the Konami-ness of it. Great job :)