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Gamepads for Console/Arcade Emulators?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the call-your-gamepad-and-raise-you-one-joystick dept.

Games 85

Mortimus asks: "I'm looking for a gamepad that is best suited for arcade and console emulators. The problems I've experienced with a previous gamepad like the Gravis GamePad Pro resides in the directional pad not being precise enough and misinterpreting directions, even with proper calibration, which can be very frustrating. I'm aware of the X-Arcade joystick, but that isn't what I'm looking for. I'm more interested in gamepad like the Logitech Dual Action, Guillemot Thrustmaster Dual Analog Gamepad, and perhaps even an original Sony Playstation gamepad with a USB adapter. What have you all found works best with most emulators (MAME, FBA, ZSNES...) and the most precise without being finicky?"

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USB all the way (2, Informative)

Jukashi (240273) | more than 10 years ago | (#7992780)

I bought a dual psx/usb adapter off ebay for like 10 bucks, works perfect. handles ps2 controllers/analog sticks with just the standard usb modules.

Re:USB all the way (1)

maxinull (685219) | more than 10 years ago | (#7992860)

can you use that to control your computer too? like
the analog stick to control a mouse and x to
click... square to right click...

Re:USB all the way (1)

ripewithdecay (573894) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993911)

Here's [] a utility that will let you do that.

And here's [] a Winamp plug-in to control Winamp's playback with a gamepad or joystick.

Re:USB all the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7992866)

under Linux ?

Re:USB all the way (1)

Jukashi (240273) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993522)

yep works in linux great, actually havent tried it on anything else.

Re:USB all the way (2, Informative)

Thedalek (473015) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995079)

Or, if you have to have it today instead of waiting a week for delivery, your local Radio Shack has them for the same price.

Just don't as the sales associate for help.

Re:USB all the way (1)

antime (739998) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995938)

Same here. The PSX pad for console-type gaming and an ASCII arcade stick for MAME.

For those who ask about compatibility, the adapters I've seen map the controllers as USB HID devices which shouldn't need any extra drivers.

Re:USB all the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7996802)

Sorry bout the AC (havent got around to registering an account yet...yes, im extremely lazy.

Just confirming what the OP (of what i'm replying to) said... the USB->PS2 controller adapters work amazingly....

I played Need for Speed: Underground for a week or so with a keyboard... and hated it - digital steering for a game like that is pathetic.

Bought myself a USB adapter as a christmas present to myself (arent they always the best ones?), and have loved playing that damn game ever since. :)

Linux Compatibility ? (1)

polyp2000 (444682) | more than 10 years ago | (#7992843)

I've been playing a few games under Linux recently through WineX (Morrowind , Max Payne , Vice City etc) ,and also some of the classics under emulation (mainly zsnes and Mame). I recently tried cannibalising an old Megadrive pad to use via the parallel port. Needless to say I think i screwed the soldering up !

So Since I have numerous Playstation controllers lying around I wondered if anyone here (since we are on topic) has got the PSX->USB adaptor running under linux and tested it with any real world applications ?

nick ...

Re:Linux Compatibility ? (3, Interesting)

EvilSporkMan (648878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993759)

My EMSUSB adapter works fine - it fits two controllers and gets mapped as one huge ass joystick - I just modprobe joydev and I'm good to go with ZSNES.

PS Joypad the way to go (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7992879)

I got a PlayStation joypad adaptor from RadioShack a while back. It works beautifully. With it I was finally able to clear Snatcher for the SegaCD (using GENS), something my Gravis Gampad Pro couldn't handle. It works great, and the new ones are around $10. Very precise control in ZSNES, SNES9x, GENS, NESticle, FCE Ultra, and Nestopia. Not sure about MAME but I see no reason it shouldn't work there.

Oldskool Gravis is where it's at (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7992918)

The original Gravis Gamepad is a very precise, simple gamepad. The directional thumbpad is equally as good as the Nintendo SNES controller (plus you can screw a little joystick into it but I don't know why anyone would) and the buttons are big, easy to press, have a good feel, and are far enough apart that you won't press the wrong one by accident. You can actually do Street Fighter uppercuts to the left and right with this gamepad.

The only downside is that it's only got 4 buttons. It's perfect for NES-and-earlier systems, and even for simpler SNES and Genesis games.

Plus, it's serial-only so if you want to connect 2 of them via Y-splitter you'll only get 2 buttons per player.

You should be able to find one on eBay for the price of a stale sandwich.

Life is a video game and I've got the high score

Au contraire -- they're twitchy and imprecise (1)

OgdEnigmaX (535667) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993296)

The original Gravis Gamepad, as well as the Pro (at least the non-USB one, I haven't bought anoyhrt since I picked up that clunker), are ridiculously finicky controllers, at least in my experience under Win2k). Even after adjusting the size of the dead zone and such, calibrating it was a nightmare. It had a nasty tendency to assume I had some sort of perverse obsession with intermittently moving to the right. Ugh, terrific headache. I wouldn't bother with anything but a USB controller nowadays, and would be at least a little wary of Gravis' stuff anyway :)

Now this [] , the Airflow PC gamepad, looks a little more up my alley...really nice grip, good response on the D-pad. I can't speak for its performance, as I've yet to pick one up, but of all the display units set out at Best Buy, this was by far the most impressive-feeling. And, uh, it's got a fan in it to keep your hands cool and dry, which sounds fun, though not particularly useful. I'd check one out if you can find it out on display.

Re:Au contraire -- they're twitchy and imprecise (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994865)

I speak from experience, you're full of shit. The Gravis Gamepad Pro is one of the best selling gamepads for a reason, and I've been emulating SNES for almost a decade using it. The "imprecise" D-pad is a myth. Maybe you should learn how to put your thumb in the right spot, and perhaps it will improve your gaming performance. ;) In fact, I find it better than the real thing because I can map the controls any way I want.

Gamepad Pro problems (2, Informative)

OgdEnigmaX (535667) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995040)

I, as I mentioned, was using the non-USB Gamepad controller, four main buttons and what I thought were two other configurable buttons but turned out to be simply autofire for buttons one and two. Completely unconfigurable, in bundled software or anything, which is odd given the fact that my original Gravis Gamepad at least came with a small sampler floppy with, like, Commander Keen on it :). I assure you that my complaints come not from an error in thumb placement but from no effort at all on my part, in fact; with absolutely no contact between my hand and the controller, it would intermittently output "right" signals. No lie. The damn thing just wouldn't center, let alone stop moving. Might've been a freak accident, sure, but it sure was an ornery bastard of a gamepad...

And yes, gamepad configurability does rock.

Re:Gamepad Pro problems (1)

Kethinov (636034) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995651)

Bummer, and I don't mean to flame so sorry if it came off like that. I have a USB and an old gameport one and both have been great for many years.

Re:Au contraire -- they're twitchy and imprecise (1)

pythian (259677) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000541)

My gameport Gamepad Pro was pretty much exactly as the OP described. Rarely would I get the thing to be stable (non-jittery) after doing all the calibration. The pad was less than impressive but I really prefer more definition in the cardinal points.

Re:Oldskool Gravis is where it's at (1)

edwdig (47888) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994352)

The original Gravis Gamepad and the Pro version both have the same circular d-pad. Circular d-pad's are terribly inprecise, as they make it incredibly difficult to move directly across the pad without accidentally hitting another direction along the way.

Re:Oldskool Gravis is where it's at (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994766)

I can't speak for the Pro, but the original Gravis' circular thumbpad is very precise and "snappy". It takes a good push to get the direction to "click". My dual analog Logitech Wireless Wingman Rumble has a circular thumbpad that really blows. With my Gravis I never ever miss.

Re:Oldskool Gravis is where it's at (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7994578)

I used the joystick; i have joint problems and can only use a d-pad for so long ... so i rested the joystick in my "thumb-pit" (don't know a better word), and moved my wrist instead, then used my left hand to anchor it to the table and push X,Y,A,B, etc.

plus, it didn't slip as much (tip of thumb on d-pad vs. thumb & index totally circling the joystick)

You've already listed them (2, Insightful)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 10 years ago | (#7992985)

Depends on what you are emulating. For emulating arcade games, get the X-Arcade or build something similar. If you are playing on a SNES emulator, get a SNES controller. Just set up your front end to recognize the correct controller for each emulator.

Seriously, none of the original controllers are that expensive, and is going to give you the closest feel to the original. That is what you are after, isn't it?

Xbox controller (2, Interesting)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 10 years ago | (#7992993)

I really like the Xbox controller, and I'm aware of the hack which allows it to be used as a joystick under Linux. Has anyone actually tried this ? How well does it work ?

Re:Xbox controller (2, Insightful)

quinkin (601839) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993758)

Yeah I have done it. The only real problem I had was getting a non-standard extension cable with odd cable colours, took a bit of experimentation (and a lot of solder).

It works like a dream, the only problem being that you have to either not use the trigger buttons or set them to digital - no PC games/emulators seem to support analog buttons. Which is a shame as I love driving games...


Re:Xbox controller (3, Interesting)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7996544)

"It works like a dream, the only problem being that you have to either not use the trigger buttons or set them to digital - no PC games/emulators seem to support analog buttons. Which is a shame as I love driving games..."

Really? My Gamecube to USB adaptor (the bizarrely named Joybox 13) maps the analogue L/R buttons to slider axes, and so work as full-analogue accellerator and brake on my PC driving games. Mind you, I've also got my PS2 Logitech Driving Force installed as a force-feedback wheel and pedals, so its a bit pointless.

Re:Xbox controller (1)

quinkin (601839) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998408)

It's an open source driver - been meaning to have a hack at it sometime as there are a few other limitations that could do with fixing.


USB adapter and PS2 controller (4, Informative)

Calmiche (531074) | more than 10 years ago | (#7992995)

Seriously, the best purchase I ever made was a USB adaptor for my Playstation controller. It functions perferctly. 99% of the games I've ever played find it perfectly. Both analog sticks work, and you can turn them off and on.

Make sure you get one that is recognised by Windows.

I use something called a Yobo game adapter, but I'm not sure if you can find them still. Mine is about 4 years old.

I can also hook in all kinds of other adapters, including my dance mat. (For dance dance revolutions.)


Re:USB adapter and PS2 controller (1)

grahamwest (30174) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993738)

We bought a bunch of some no-name USB adapter so we could plug PS2 controllers into development PCs. They worked but the update rate was only about 15Hz so it was easy to have missed button presses.

I'm sure there are many different models - this particular one also had an N64 controller port with a slider to choose between them and two LEDs to indicate which was active (red for PSX, green for N64).

Re:USB adapter and PS2 controller (3, Informative)

Xistic (536149) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994595)

This one [] is about perfect. Windows XP even comes with the drivers for it.

I even use my PS2 controllers to play emulated N64 games. I just had to get used to where I moved my Z trigger to.

For games like Street Fighter and the like I recommend using an old PS1 controller as extensive use of the shoulder buttons on the anolog controllers tends to break the hinges making them less responsive.

Re:USB adapter and PS2 controller (1)

syukton (256348) | more than 10 years ago | (#7997058)

I use one similar, but it has 4 ports. Is recognized as a USB joystick interface on both the Mac and the PC. I got mine off of ebay; search for: (PS2,PSX) to PC USB

Re:USB adapter and PS2 controller (2, Interesting)

BigJimSlade (139096) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995404)

(Aside: sold my HotRod in hopes of getting an X-Arcade soon... having the one stick for most of the systems I have is a big bonus in the wife-doesn't-want-stuff-cluttering-basement dept.)

Besides a real stick, I agree that the PS1/PS2 USB adaptors are the way to go. I've had good luck with the one I have (don't remember the name off the top of my head, but you can find a good list here [] on the Stepmania site. Those DDR freaks know their PSX adapters!

SNES! (3, Informative)

nidx (583973) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993107)

I found some directions somewhere on the net for modifying snes controllers to use the lpt /db-25 / parrelel port. not the most advanced solution but very funn for playing emu games


mod instrustions []
XP Driver []

also psx with usb adapter is very nice ... espically for tony hawk games.

Re:SNES! (1)

Fred IV (587429) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995322)

Nice. Have you ever seen a similar guide for Sega Saturn controllers? I have a saturn arcade stick with a nice, solid feeling base that I've been wanting to do this to. I turned up many ads for a converter port on google, but no good guides for doing the job myself.

Saturn and other Controllers (1)

kninja (121603) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000727)

Saturn Controller Pinout []

GamesX []

I prefer the SNES to LPT converter myself. It worked perfectly until recently, when I installed DirectX 9 :(

Re:Saturn and other Controllers (1)

Fred IV (587429) | more than 10 years ago | (#8013754)


Windows drivers for the Catweasel would solve it. (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993141)

The Catweasel Mk3 [] is a PCI card with, amongst other things, two old-school 9-pin sub-D digital joystick ports. I believe there are Linux drivers, so this may help plenty of /.ers, but I'm still a Windows person and I'm hanging out for Windows drivers for these ports. Anyone feel like making my year?

The best gamepad, bar none. (2, Interesting)

X-Dopple (213116) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993161)

As far as gamepads go, my recommendation is the Saitek P880 Dual Analog pad [] . It is ergonomically designed, and it comes with programmable software.

It is superior over the Playstation pad for a number of reasons:

  • The PSX's D-pad is stiff and rigid, not suitable for fighting games. Diagonal movement is cumbersome to achieve. This gamepad has a fully rotatable D-pad
  • 6 right-side buttons on this gamepad, as opposed to 4 on the PSX's. This is handy when you are playing Capcom arcade fighters, or Sega Genesis games that require 6 buttons.

There are a few odd quirks with this pad - the shoulder buttons are far too big; a second set of shoulder buttons could have fit easily. It's a good pad and it's not too expensive ($20). It's also USB-only.

Re:The best gamepad, bar none. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7993394)

Great pad. I replaced my gravis Xterminator with this. I loved that pad but it wore out and they dont make them anymore.

Anyway The p880 has great button responce time, far better then most pc pads, and good solid feeling dpad.

Gravis's control software is easier to use then saiteks though.

Gamepad? For fighters? (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 10 years ago | (#7996556)

What on Earth are you doing, man? If you want to play Capcom-style fighters on your PC, get a Dreamcast Arcade Stick and one of the latest DC-USB convertors. Its pretty much the same components as you'd find on a Naomi cabinet, and ideal for the job. I can't stand playing fighting games on a pad, to be honest.

Alternatively, the Hori Soul Calibur II stick through a GC-USB box works almost as well (its just that defining the L and R buttons without it picking up the analogue axes as well is occasionally glitchy in Mame32; fine once you've done so, though).

Re:The best gamepad, bar none. (1)

Teuchter (742613) | more than 10 years ago | (#8009411)

Yes, I'm also a fan of Saitek pads.

I have the P2500 [] , which is identical to to P880 except it has rumble.
Of course, rumble isn't supported in most emulators of older systems, but it works great for N64 emulation and most recent PC games.

Or there's the P3000 [] . Same design , plus it's wireless. Downsides are the price, batteries, and no rumble.

(not advertising, just a satisfied customer)

Logitechs (1)

klui (457783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993180)

I recently purchased a Logitech Dual Action and found that the left analog joystick had calibration problems. It fluctuated from dead center and I was not able to play driving games properly. Imagine going down at 200mph and the steering is constantly twitching. Anyway, I wanted to exchange it for another but the place where I purchased it (Best Buy) didn't have anymore. I ended up with a Logitech WingMan RumblePad. Drivers are the same and it adds dual shock.

I would have preferred the Dual Action over the WingMan because it:

1. Fits more comfortably in my hands.
2. Has more buttons. 4 in the front as opposed to 2. One more button on the pad.
3. The Wingman uses 500mA, while the Dual Action uses 200mA (or 100mA, cannot recall now that I've returned it).

I also like the button layouts on the Dual Action over the WingMan. Each analog joystick rests on top of a button so they're clickable, although I don't know how useful in practice that is. The traditional start/reset button on PSX controllers are definable on the Dual; on the WingMan, they are replaced by "mode" and "rumble"--pushing mode will switch the functions of the left digital directional pad and the left analog joystick, while pushing mode will toggle the dual shock function.

The WingMan has a "throttle" slider just over the right front, which presumably is for air sims. There's also an S between the directional digital pad and the left analog joystick.

Re:Logitechs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7997512)

re:Each analog joystick rests on top of a button so they're clickable, although I don't know how useful in practice that is.

So do Sony Playstation Dual Shock and Dual Shock 2 controllers, L3 and R3 are located under each analog stick. Just press em down.

Re:Logitechs (1)

i64X (582393) | more than 10 years ago | (#8002248)

FYI I got a USB Dual Action as well, and I don't have calibrations with any of the buttons. I'm running DX9 under WinXP, and the drivers that came on the Logitech CD. I don't know if that's got anything to do with it, but I play NFS Hot Pursuit 2 all the time and I've never had any problems with it.

Re:Logitechs (1)

klui (457783) | more than 10 years ago | (#8002726)

My Dual Action was defective. Like I said in my post, I wanted to get another one, but Best Buy ran out.

Just bought a Saitek (1)

badfrog (45310) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993359)

I picked up a Saitek P880 [] at Circuit City for $19.99 about 2 weeks ago since my new PC doesn't have a gamepad port, making my old reliable Sidewinder useless. It spat out a $10 rebate at the register. (Not sure if it still will, but the terms on the rebate say it must be mailed in by 1/31.)

It's a bit light in weight compared to a PS2 pad, but for what I've played on it so far, it's definitely good for the price. I haven't even installed the optional customization software, and it works great with MAME and ZSNES.
The only thing about it I don't like is that it only has 2 trigger buttons instead of 4, like on the PS2.

Nostromo by Belkin (2, Interesting)

ubrkl (310861) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993380)

I have 2 USB Belkin Nostromos [] ... They've been configured for MAME, ZSNES, Visual Boy Advance, and a bunch of others with no problems.

Half the trick I found was with the emulator configuration. Get your controllers working well, then configure the emulators around them. These controllers work natively under XP, and have excellent drivers for 2K. I don't know about *nix support.

Re:Nostromo by Belkin (1)

glowimperial (705397) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995071)

I have 7 of these, 6 of them for a 3 monitor emulation system that I use as part of some of my exhibitions, they are awesomely programmable, and super compatible with every Emu that I have ever used one with. You can also use them as a mouse controller, to access your GUI while playing, if you need to. They stand up to some heavy abuse, and you can get them for 20 bucks. They are the alpha and omega of Playstation 2 style controllers, hands down

Re:Nostromo by Belkin (1)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995374)

I'm a new convert to them as well - bought myself an n45 for xmas to replace my original-model Sidewinder gamepad.

It was awful to configure at first, until i downloaded the latest drivers/utilities from the belkin site, but since then it's been smooth sailing.

Now i can start looking at building a Mame controller using the old sidewinder!

(Tried a thrustmaster pad as well, before getting the Belkin one, but had a godawful time trying to find the drivers, since they didn't come with the new gamepad and i couldn't access their site that day. Ended up returning it a couple of hours after i bought it, as my hands hurt after just 10 minutes use)

Re:Nostromo by Belkin (1)

Allison Geode (598914) | more than 10 years ago | (#7996002)

I can't reccomend the n45 enough. I've had mine for over a year now, and its still the best PC gamepad i've ever used, and I have a pile of various failed gamepads in the corner of my room. (sidewinder dual strike, gravis somethingorother, 3d-pad-pro, some thrustmaster thing with force feedback that doesn't work because only the win98 drivers support the motors.... etc..) also, I'm thinking of getting a second one so I can set it up for multiplayer MAME. my friends and I love the ninja turtle and Simpsons arcade games, but one of us always has to use the keyboard, which sucks for that type of game.

Sidewinder (1)

AzraelKans (697974) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993420)

Just to add mine, Sidewinder is a pretty good controller I have used for all emulators and doesnt require drivers for windows 2000-xp since is MS based is already on the install files.
The only big problem is a big stupid button which actually turns off the controller and is in the midle of it, who thought of that? MS motto: we will screw up something in our product somewhere, guaranteed.

Re:Sidewinder (1)

TRACK-YOUR-POSITION (553878) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994102)

There's more than one model of MS Sidewinder. I don't know which is which, but I know the one I'm stuck with (being too lazy to go buy a new controller) has rather lousy d-pad--frequently i push left only to see my protagonist move diagonally up and left. Very sad.

Playstation/N64 (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993444)

I bought a playstation / n64 usb adapter that is awesome. I use an n64 controller with mine, but plan to pickup a playstation controller eventually.

I'm extremely happy with the purchase and it is much better than any of my old gravis controllers were (Gravis Gamepad and Gravis Gamepad Pro). As other have said, the Gravis directional pads are horrible - sadly, they still haven't fixed this within the past 8 years.

USB adaptors (1)

JorenDahn (670270) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993615)

I got the N64+PSX adapter [] , and it works great. This is the first time I've ever owned any PlayStation system (I've been enjoying my GameCube too thoroughly for 12+ games to care about a PS2 ^_^ But I finally got one so I'd have an extra DVD player and be able to play DDR), so I never really noticed, but the controller is perfect for SNES games. It's got the perfect layout and shape, and even has an extra L and R button which I set to the fast-forward button. Very slick. Unfortunately I don't have the right N64 controllers to work with the adapter (for some reason only certain colors work - Nintendo seems to be so piracy-paranoid that they make all their controllers work differently), but I'm looking forward to getting a new one for my N64 games, since a PS2 controller would work, but not very well.

the problem... (1)

hiroshi912681 (589840) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993660)

the problem with most pc joysticks is that the plastic for the arrows is shaped into one big circle. the innovation that nintendo came up with, the plus pad, is the only way to go. look for those kinds of gamepads. accept no substitutes.

btw, who was the guy who invented the plus pad? and what was the original name given to it?

Patented (1)

sbszine (633428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994254)

According to this comment [] the plus pad is patented or otherwise protected IP. This seems like a credible assertion when you look at the PSX and X-Box controllers. So I imagine any PC gamepads with a plus pad will be cheaply made by the sort of folks who ignore patents (i.e. you're not going to see a plus pad on a Logitech controller any time soon).

Re:Patented (1)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995413)

The Belkin [] ones have them...

Re:Patented (1)

hiroshi912681 (589840) | more than 10 years ago | (#7996108)

the belkin one isn't the same... it's still circular externally.

Re:Patented (1)

hiroshi912681 (589840) | more than 10 years ago | (#7996102)

note that the dreamcast has the plus pad. read the page further that you linked to. someone even mentions that the patent expired.

There's just no contest. (1)

nekoes (613370) | more than 10 years ago | (#7993955)

PC Gamepads are way behind the console market (quite obviously) as the only viable input for them has been a gamepad. Therefore you might as well use a USB PS2PC adapter. There's really just no contest.

PS Joy Converter []

That and a Playstation Dual Shock controller will do you real well (also works with ddr pads... woot for stepmania! [] )

Re:There's just no contest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7997529)

or DWI. :) Woot for Dancing With Intensity!

Re:There's just no contest. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7997695)

i ordered the Super Dual Box one... ( ucts_id=3176&)

it hasnt arrived yet, so i'm eagerly waiting for it

Gravis Eliminator Aftershock (1)

rebe01 (665657) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994034)

I, too, was in search of a good controller to use for emulation, so i picked up a Gravis Eliminator Aftershock [] . At first it was pretty cool. It has lots of features, like mouse and keyboard emulation, that make it so that your hands don't have to leave the controller to select a new game in your emulator. The overall position of the buttons and sticks got annoying after extended use, and the D-pad doesn't seem to be calibrated correctly. I would much prefer to have bought a PS2 controller and an adapter. The D-pad on a PS2 controller has individual directions so you know which direction you are hitting. Also, the sticks are in more accessible locations.

RetroCON PS2 gamepad (1)

FreeForm Response (218015) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994037)

This gamepad [] is probably my favorite. It's a little harder to use than the standard PS2 Dual Shock controller, but the retro value more than makes up for it.

Along with the PS2 -> USB adaptor [] and a NES PC [] (although I had built mine before I ever heard of this gent), it's almost like having a real NES, and every game ever made to play on it. =D

Disclaimer: I do actually own all of these products. Not shilling.


shoptroll (544006) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994188)

PSJOY is the best PSX USB adapter that I've heard of. I have one, works like a charm. In windows it operates on DirectInput as well I think, so pretty much anything that uses DirectX should interface to it. I primarily do NES, Game Boy, SNES, N64, and Arcade emulation and haven't had a problem

I don't know about Linux support.

Also, it's the preferred PSX adapter according to the Stepmania [] site which has a nice analysis of the PSX adapters, at least in terms of DDR Simulation/Emulation.

Adapters, gamepads etc. (1)

rev0102 (701177) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994337)

I decided, as an after-thought, to add console emulation to my MAME cabinet []

Initially, I bought a pair of these [] for Nintendo, Super Nintendo, and Playstation emulation. They're an inexpensive ($5/ea) playstation 1 controller clone (but in pretty translucent blue, which matched my cabinet nicely) but with much better action/feedback than the original playstation controllers. These worked great for the console emulators, and some MAME games, but there really is no substitute for a joystick and a handful of arcade buttons.

Recently, I decided to add a Nintendo 64 emulator to the cabinet also, but I was unable to find any USB controller that was close enough to the slightly-odd n64 controller to be usable. I settled on getting a pair of N64 to USB adapters.

At this time, there are basically just 2 available if you're bad at soldering, like me. The Adaptoid($30/ea), which is compatible with just about every n64 controller, and supports such niceties as rumblepads and memory packs, and the Lik Sang [] one ($12/ea), which features no rumble pad or memory pack support, and only works with the original black, gray, and yellow controllers. I went with the cheap ones :)

Re:Adapters, gamepads etc. (1)

onzfonz (741147) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994923)

I've heard really good things about the adaptoid, and just how the drivers for it along with the testing program works really well. Like most people have mentioned, getting the usb to controller adapter is the best, esp if you play a lot of console games. Personally, I like the gamecube controller best for playing the old NES, so I used the superjoybox 13 adapter.

And at first I was having some compatability issues between certain programs and the joystick, but I ended up just getting a keyboard emulator for the joystick, and that made all the problems disappear, since it just maps your joystick movements and button presses into keyboard presses. The program I ended up getting (joytokey) even allows you to map controls to mouse cursor movements, so that I can manipulate the mouse and click and drag by using the c-stick and two of the buttons on my gamecube controller. The keyboard emulation for the controller is pretty nifty, and definitely a nice solution if you do end up running into compatability problems with whatever adapter or joystick you end up getting, since the program figures that stuff out for you and makes them emulate the keyboard.

Hotrod SE (1)

UserChrisCanter4 (464072) | more than 10 years ago | (#7994385)

Hanaho's [] Hotrod SE recently dropped in price from the well-nigh ludicrous $249 to the completely reasonable $100. The controller is a full-sized, double arcade joystick setup with seven buttons per player, plus a "coin insert" and "start" button for each player. It functions as nothing more than a standard PS/2 keyboard, and has a passthrough for your actual PS/2 keyboard. As such, it's driverless and keys are easily remapped/rebound without the need for any peculiar software. The whole thing is assembled using actual arcade components, enclosed in a laminated wood exterior (the same sort of stuff used in arcades). Bonus: it weighs like 15 lbs., so it doesn't go floppping every which way when you start wailing on the joystick.

While Lik-Sang's USB-> Playstation adapters definitely look cool, I would have to go with a hotrod for non-finnicky, functional use for MAME, as well as a fair range of console games. If you figure the $18 or so Lik-Sang charges, plus the cost of PS1 controllers (about $20 or so brand new), you're already at about $60, not counting shipping (for the lik-sang, I'd assume you'd buy a PS controller locally). Drop about $40 more into it and you've got a bad-ass controller that's natively mapped in Mame (use the -ctrlr HotrodSE flag to do so), and that will make anyone who sees it jealous. Unless you intend to use a peculiar controller (say, a DDR dance pad), I would say this thing is a must.

Disclaimer: I don't work for Hanaho, I just think that the Hotrod is a great value for the money.

Horrible name, good gamepad (1)

cynsob (678342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995276)

I've used a Thrustmaster Firestorm Dual Analog 2 for about a year now with my various emulators. I'm very used to the PS2 controller, and from the PC gamepads on the market right, this gamepad is the closest it gets to the same feeling as a PS2 pad.

I've had no major problems with it, other than the fact one of the back buttons (comparable to the dreamcast trigger buttons) is broken. But I never used it anyways.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen it at EB for a few months now...I don't think it's all that popular.

Adaptoid N64 adapter (1)

Psykechan (255694) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995547)

I've found the Adaptoid [] to be a very useful product. It's simply a Nintendo 64 controller to USB adapter, but it is the best of any console controller USB adapter out there.

There are drivers for it for Windows at it's original manufaturer's site [] but they are only needed if you wish to use functions such as memory pak backup and force feedback. It is a standard HID compliant device and will work under Linux. It should also work with a USB enabled Mac, but I have not tested this personally.

If you are using it as a standard HID joystick, it's simple to setup. It will be detected as a 14(!) button analog joystick. The joystick functions can be swapped between the D-pad and the analog stick by holding L+R+Z and pressing up 3 times on whatever control you wish to use as default. The other control will become buttons 11-14. This function is performed by the adapter and requires no special drivers.

The unique setup of the N64 controller is great for many classic games and even allows easy playing of dual controller games like Robotron by using the analog stick with your right hand. With all of the extra buttons, you can map insert coin, start, service, and whatever else you like to the controller if you're just too lazy to reach for the keyboard. Finally, it's 6 face buttons (A, B, and the four C buttons make for an excellent Street Fighter style setup. I guess I should also add that most N64 emulators natively support it.

I strongly recommend it... and no, I have nothing to do with the sales of it or anything... I'm just a satisfied customer.

How about the USB PC Magic Box? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7995654)

If you're not a big fan of tbe PSX controller... the PC Magic Box has a USB interface that allows Saturn, Playstation, and Dreamcast controllers to be utilized!

Unfortunately, I'm not sure where to find it for sale anymore...

Works great with a Saturn Pad for fighting games. (Six buttons on the face of the controller are handy... recommend getting the "Nights" style circular-controller... most comfortable controller ever!)

lik sang might help (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 10 years ago | (#7995995)

Apparently, lik sang is looking at making an SNES to USB adaptor.. that'd probably be the best solution, if and when it comes out.

But for me, I just have my SNES hooked up to the bedroom TV (and a pair of wireless snes controllers)... emulation may be cheaper, but nothing compares to having the actual system and carts.

Re:lik sang might help (1)

Haeleth (414428) | more than 10 years ago | (#7996795)

emulation may be cheaper, but nothing compares to having the actual system and carts.

Your SNES includes hq2x resolution enhancement, does it? And fast-forward/rewind buttons? And save states? And high-res filtered mode 7?

Nope, emulation doesn't have anything to offer that isn't there in the original platform...

My controller (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7996100)

I bought a copy of Super Street Fighter II from a clearance pile at Electronics Boutique and it came with a 6 button controller. A "PC Fighter 6", it's an old school 6 button controller. It's very similar to the later 6 button controllers for the Sega Genesis. Same size, shape and feel. It work very well for fighting games.

Not bad for a "Free" controller that came with a $5 purchase.


Nyko AirFlo (1)

shadowcabbit (466253) | more than 10 years ago | (#7996122)

The Nyko AirFlo, despite being somewhat gimmicky, has a pretty good lock on being my favorite PC controller of late. It uses basic HID drivers, so no messing around with worrying about a driver disc. Only drawback is that it's somewhat tricky to set up in the emulators I use (ZSNES, UltraFCE, Gens); and trying to use it with my Nostromo Speedpad is a nightmare, generally I have to have only one or the other plugged in at a time. But a decent pad, physically identical to the PS2 version, with the exception of no force feedback (but I find that annoying anyway).

Re:Nyko AirFlo (1)

Soul Brother #1 (15266) | more than 10 years ago | (#8001436)

I agree -- the AirFlo [] is pretty good. My only real complaints are:
  1. I don't like that the d-pad is considered a "hat" by most applications. It can be a bit of a pain to configure.
  2. The d-pad is a little too close to the left analog stick, which makes certain input sequences (shoryuken!) difficult.

Other than that, it's a solid Playstation-like pad, and the fans inside it actually are pretty good for keeping the palm-sweat under control.


Use console joypads/arcade sticks (1)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 10 years ago | (#7996332)

What I've done is use Linux's excellent support for console joypads (see the documentation in the Linux source in Documentation/input/joystick-parport.txt). This allows you to use e.g. Atari/Amiga joysticks, or Sega MegaDrive/Genesis joysticks, even PlayStation joypads are supported !

Now what I've done is use a defective SNES multiplayer adapter, take an parallel printer cable and soldered everything according to the documentation mentioned above. No resistors or shit necessary. You can see the result on my SNES page [] (you have to scroll down). Works fine and is the only thing that gives you the real feeling, except for the real SNES of course ;-)

The Xinga USB2 adaptor (1)

thumperward (553422) | more than 10 years ago | (#7997030)

Works flawlessly with full analogue and rumble on ePSXe / 1964 / MAME / anything else, is dirt cheap and fits in with my transparent green PSX pad.

Linky []

- Chris

GameFactory pad $10 at best buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7997066)

After spending good money on logitech pads and finding them to be crap, and trying to order a PS2/USB adapter, only to have the company try to screw me over, I bought the $10 GF pad [] from best buy.

I was really really suprised at how good this pad is! The buttons feel nice, the analog sticks have just the right amount of resistance and are nicely rubberized, exactly like the ps2 controller, and the d-pad is even better than the ps2 controller.

And it's all worked flawlessly with MAME and all the other emulators I've thrown at it.

You won't be dissapointed.

Walmart $18 USB (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 10 years ago | (#7997281)

I found one at Walmart for $18 that was almost an exact PS2 controller. An adapter wouldn't work for me. I let the kids play "safe" class Nintendo titles on the computer, Donkey Kong Country, while my wife and I play FFX2. I works for me.

USB makes this easy. (1)

Firehawke (50498) | more than 10 years ago | (#7997927)

My suggestion has already been said in part, but it doesn't hurt to reinforce it.

USB adaptor for PSX pads, to start with. The PSX controller is closest to the SNES in style, so you've also got your SNES and NES covered nicely. Then you go grab a good PSX arcade stick like the Blaze Twinstick, and you've got your arcade games covered-- get the arcade stick for PSX as you'll have more buttons to work with as compared to Saturn. If you also get a USB adaptor that does Saturn, you've got your Saturn and Genesis emulation covered. There are several N64 adaptors out there as well.

You'd probably want something like.. this [] for Saturn and PSX.

The adaptors I've worked with all show up as HID devices, meaning they should all run fine on any OS with HID support-- definitely Linux, Windows, and MacOS X.

I've been using a setup like this for some time and it works remarkably well. (1)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 10 years ago | (#7998198)

BlackChopper has a multi-controller USB adapter coming out. It'll be compatible with SNES, NES, Genesis (other DB9), N64, etc. The root module is USB and then cable adapters plug into it.

It works like a HID-keyboard so it works fine under Linux.

Logitech Dual-Action - Quality. (1)

justin_w_hall (188568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7999132)

I was looking for a pad for just the same purpose. Everyone keeps hyping USB console pad adapters, but I personally like keeping my console pads and my PC pads separate. The only thing I use my PC gamepad for is emulators, so that was critical in buying one. I have to recommend the Logitech Dual Action [] out of the ones you listed - cheap, durable, easy to set up, feels great, durable (I throw mine around a lot)... did I mention durable? The included software is teh suck so I didn't bother with it. XP found it fine without them. Pick up a few of these and enjoy. EB had em for $10 last I checked.

PSX-USB is the way to go (1)

Spleener12 (587422) | more than 10 years ago | (#8000039)

I'd get a PSX-USB adaptor. The Playstation controller's layout is essentially the same as the SNES', adding analog sticks and two more shoulder buttons, so it's great for SNES games. As for other systems, I'd think it'd be a little akward with Genesis/Saturn(not too much experience with those, though) and I know it's a little akward for N64 games. Still, if you already have a Dual Shock lying around, it's a great deal.

USB Dualshock bandwagon. (0)

wanderers_id (682230) | more than 10 years ago | (#8002632)

While it may not be for *everyone*, I use a USB adaptor and Dualshock controller. This is fantastic for my SNES, PS1 emus and is PERFECT for any FFXI players.

By default FFXI is set up with correct button config for the PS controller. Camera and movement are easier than the keyboard IMO.

I'm not into fighters or sega so that whole thing eludes me. I'm a lowly windows user so compatability is not an issue. "Microsoft: Because you're too lazy to learn linux"

OT: Bastok is the Wisconsin of Vana'deil. "Welcom to Baskonsin"

SNES ADAPTER and Logitech Wireless (1)

marcybots (473417) | more than 10 years ago | (#8004282)

I have been on a similar quest, and found that the original SNES gamepad is the best...go to to order a SNES gamepad adapter. It works as advertised! Before I got that I was using a Logitech Wingman Wireless rumblepad, a heck of a unit witha excellent directional pad but it has some quirks that make it unusable in certain emulators (something to do with the analog controls on it.)

mac osx (1)

st1nky187 (641264) | more than 10 years ago | (#8004979)

Most of the posts so far have been about windows gamepads and usb adapters. I really only want to use my ps2 gamepads since i already have them and they are perfect for just about everything except arkanoid, the problem is I still have no idea which adapters work with emulators running on OSX (esp macmame, snes9xcustom, bannister's emulators.) If anybody can point me in the right direction that'd be sweet.
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