*Analog* arcade sticks for cabinets

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by shredder, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. shredder

    shredder Member

    Dec 26, 2001
    New Zealand
    To continue a conversation started in another thread.
    Looking at that Ultimarc store. 2 minutes looking at their joysticks, reminded me to ask you about the analog arcade joystick options.

    I can't get out of my head, the idea to make a cab with analog sticks. I love using my cab to play emulation, but of course have to switch to a dualshock type pad to play most consoles newer than the 16 bit era, when games switched to mostly analog joystick control.

    I want to be able to play Mario Kart etc on the cab's controls. Bearing in mind my personal context of not owning any consoles, so I can't just fire up the real thing and enjoy it that way.

    Your thoughts would be welcome.
  2. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Jun 27, 2001
    I think controls for games are possibly the most subjective thing around. You can measure lag, you can talk about sharp or soft video on flat screen versus CRT, you can measure black levels on OLED vs LCD, you can hear audio quality.

    But controls are 100% down to the end user. I've been a long time fighting game fan, and I remember all the malarky over people claiming gamepad users "weren't real fighting game fans". Then people turned up to tournaments with gamepads and kicked everyone's arse. One dude even played with a keyboard and made the top 30 one year, which was amazing.

    But I digress, it really is up to you. Having said that:

    Driving games do well with wheels. Mario Kart Arcade has a wheel, so maybe testing that out is worth your time if you've got something lying around:

    An analogue stick could work too. There are also sticks that can pretend to be both analogue and digital - check out "49 way" sticks. These use a hall effect sensor (basically a sensor to test for a magnetic field) and can be programmed to work as either 8-way or simulate analogue with 49 discreet locations:


    The Ultimarc "Ultrastick 360" is a similar stick - hall effect sensor with programmable 49 way, 8way, or whatever (can even be set in software per game so you don't have to do anything):

    Not cheap mind you, but check threads on the arcadecontrols.com forums for lots of talk about those, and setups people have built.

    If you're playing other games with dual analogue, just keep in mind button pressing. It can be tricky to press buttons while holding two sticks, so flightstick style controllers can sometimes work. But for driving games that's a bit weird. Again, a wheel and pedals might be somewhat "boring" a concept, but they work well for a good reason.

    I think prototyping might help you out. I know that's boring too, but making a plank of wood or crude box with a couple of different cheap sticks to test out might answer your questions more directly, giving you first hand testing of different inputs. If that feels good just hooked up to consoles or emulators, then you've got more confidence that building a whole cab is worth it.
    shredder likes this.
  3. Grant

    Grant Member

    Jan 23, 2002
    Has anyone done a "department/games store kiosk" type build with console controllers held permanently by arms coming out of the cabinet? You could make a deluxe one with movable or flexible arms to add some comfort if that's the controller style that fits the games you want in the cab.

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