Sunday, June 4, 2017

Hot 'n Sticky

Welcome back my friends, to the blog that never updates.

While not panting at the steadily rising temperature (99 degrees on Tuesday?! Oy vey!), I've been planning the design for my homemade arcade joystick. All the parts have been ordered, and the button layout has been printed out on card stock. Here's how that looks.

Let me guide you through this design. The joystick is fed through the hole on the left hand side... this is just wide enough to afford smooth movement while being small enough to be hidden by the plastic dust cover on the joystick's base. Moving on, we've got eight buttons arranged in the Taito Vewlix format. I considered some of the other layouts on the Slagcoin web site, but I found them too close to Hori's double rainbow of sadness for my comfort.

See? Even he's not happy about it.
I spread the buttons out a little bit, in the hopes of making them fit comfortably next to each other. Hopefully they won't be spread so far apart that my fingers have to travel to another zip code to reach them.

The four action buttons are set in the center and line up with their Dual Shock and Xbox 360 counterparts. However, I've elected to set the left shoulder buttons over the right ones. It's the layout used by the replica Saturn joypad by SLS, and it should be a better fit for the Playstation TV, which has only one L and one R button.

Up top, we have the menu keys. I ordered Happ Competition Convex buttons with light touch micro switches for the punches and kicks, but I'll be using smaller, less sensitive keys for start, select, and the like. Home gets its own small, slightly recessed metal button, ensuring that it's only pressed when I damn well want it to be. (Players have been disqualified from fighting game tournaments after touching the home key by mistake. I don't think I'm in any danger of attending one of these, but just in case...!) It also has a glowing ring in the center, which should look pretty cool if I get the wiring right.

If all goes well, this arcade stick should be compatible with all the systems I'm currently using, although an adapter will be necessary for a few of them. And if this stick is indeed a success, it probably won't be the last one I make. A joystick that works perfectly for fighters may not be a good fit for, say, Pac-Man. Beyond that, it'll keep me entertained during the long, boring summer months. (Yes, that's what the video games are supposed to be for, but I've got to play them with something.)


  1. OK, that Rainbow Islands-inspired stick is great. Is it real, or just a mock-up?

    1. The button configuration is accurate, but not the image surrounding it. Hold on, this is what the joystick looks like:

      It's not a good button set up in my opinion. I like the Vewlix design much better... it more closely resembles the arcades of my youth.

      For what it's worth, I could make a Rainbow Islands template for my latest joystick! I'd just have to print out a sheet of paper to put under the plexiglass. (Problem is, I don't like Rainbow Islands that much. Heh.)