I've been talking for a long time now about getting a joystick for my computer so I can play all those classic arcade games I love, but never seem to have any money to get something decent. I picked up a $20 joystick from GameStop and was very frustrated with it. I'm crouching down and to the right in Black Tiger and the joystick turns left on me and I die. That frustrated me enough to finally make a good investment.
I searched the web and found some cheap stuff made overseas. They look like arcade joysticks, but doing some research the reviews are split.. some good, some bad. Having already been disappointed with the GameStop joystick I decided this time I'd just get the good stuff. X-Arcade's Dual Joystick.
Reading reviews online, they're mostly positive. They're built like a "tank" supposedly and have a lifetime warranty. Not only can this be used on my computer, but they have adapters (optional) for a bunch of popular game consoles.
The joystick comes bundled with some arcade games, which is not necessary in my opinion. I'd rather pay $5 or $10 less for the joystick. Most people who buy this probably already have MAME installed, with thousands of games, so the ones they give you are not needed.
The packaging that came with the unit, shown above (not my picture) is very nice. I wasn't expecting something like that, but I guess that's so they can sell the unit in stores also.
Setup is very easy. I'm using MAME Plus with MAME32. Just plug the joystick into a USB port in the rear and there's a built in setting for the X-Arcade. Done. Start having fun.
The unit I purchased has 2 joysticks and 20 buttons. They also make a model with a trackball for games like Marble Madness, Capcom Bowling, Golden Tee Golf, etc. Two of the buttons are on the side for pinball games. If you get the model with a trackball it's a little wider. My only real gripe with the model I purchased is I wish there was a little more room between players. Maybe they could have just used the case from the trackball model, just not have the trackball.
Everything feels responsive and solid. I play fighting games like Mortal Kombat or Dark Stalkers much better now, although I haven't played in forever so I've forgot most of the moves.The unit is pretty heavy, but it does slide around on me while playing, so I might add some suction feet to the bottom.
The joystick comes with a lifetime warranty, but from what I heard you'll probably never need it. One person told me that in 3 or 4 years he's only ever had a button go bad once. They sent him a replacement. From what I've seen so far, their support is great. I emailed them some pre-sale questions and they were quick to reply. I had a small problem with my shipment (most likely due to FedEx) and the company took care of the situation right away, no questions asked.