What's this FAQ about?
Inside this FAQ, you will find a variety of alternatives for controlling games on your computer.  Using a keyboard or standard off-the-shelf joystick pales by comparison to the experience of playing your favorite game in an arcade or on a home game console with their respective controls.  Imagine playing PacMan using a real ball-top arcade joystick, or Robotron with dual arcade sticks.  Imagine Tempest with a real arcade spinner.  Imagine playing the old Atari 2600 games using a real Atari 2600 joystick.  Imagine using the controls on games that don't even support a joystick.  Imagine . . .

It's all inside here.  There are two different ways to go.  You can set up arcade controls like you'd find in an arcade, either as a stand alone desktop joystick set, or by putting your computer inside a genuine arcade cabinet for that full arcade experience -- joysticks, trackballs, spinners, etc.  The other way to go is to interface console controllers to your PC like the Atari 2600 joysticks, Nintendo NES/SNES and even N64 controllers, Sony Playstation controllers complete with force feedback, and others.

You'll find instructions and links to sites with instructions for building all of the above, the software to make it work, and - for those who want the fun but don't want to build - places to buy much of the above already made.  There are over 200 examples of arcade control projects for you to peruse and see what other folks have accomplished.

The FAQ is maintained by saint.  It began sometime in late 1997.  I believe it was in mid 1997 that I was frequenting Dave's Video Game Classics message boards following a thread between a few guys about how great it would be to make arcade controls for computers.  Three guys, Eric, Shadow & DeCosa did more than talk about it - they made it happen.  All of them were kind enough to pass on instructions on how to duplicate their work.

There was a lot of discussion about the hows and whys and such, and I asked if maybe someone could compile it all and post it on a web site.  Then I asked again a few days later... Then I got the hint, and voila - Build Your Own Arcade Controls was born :)

There are over 400 megabytes of data, pictures and downloads here.  I update the FAQ irregularly, sometimes daily, sometimes every two weeks or less.  Usually I try at least once a week.  My biggest source of updates now is folks like you who have something to contribute . . . please feel free to email me!

And now, click your back button, read the step-by-step guide, and plunge in!  WARNING - if you're married or in a relationship, get your significant other something nice, because one day you'll look up and realize you've been in your basement for 6 weeks messing with buttons and wires, and have no idea if you're even still in a relationship.  Good luck :)

--- saint

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