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#13799 - 01/06/06 05:38 AM The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
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Nathan Strum Offline
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Newhall, CA, USA
It seems every other week, someone is asking if a certain controller works, or how to make a certain controller work, which to buy, and so forth.

In an effort to better answer these questions (and collect the answers in one place), I decided to start up this topic.

What I'm hoping the members of our community will do, is post short reviews in this thread, based on their first-hand experiences with controllers they own, and if possible, post some "how-to's" for configuring them to work with various games in MacMAME. But please - don't feel obligated to post MacMAME-only results. If you have a gaming mouse or gamepad or some other controller you just have to give a shout-out to, please do so.

We're looking for reviews for pretty much any of the following:
  • Gamepads
  • Adapters for other controllers (ie. PS2, XBox, Atari), and the controllers that work with them
  • Joysticks
  • Mice
  • Light guns
  • Steering wheels
  • Other peripherals (spinners, trackballs, keypads)
  • Arcade controllers

These should all be Mac-compatible, since, well... this is the MacMAME Message Board. And be sure the controller is still available.

Reviews can be short, but useful first-hand information is appreciated. (ie. Don't just write, "Buy it, it rocks!" Tell us the games it rocks with, and how you got it to rock, even if it just rocked right out of the box.)

Also, if someone already posted a review for a control that you own, feel free to add your own experiences as well. The more information we can compile, the better.

Please include the brand and specific model of controller, and if possible, a link to where you bought it.

If we can get enough participation with this, I'll eventually compile the results on the MacMAME Wiki page, so there will be a list of controllers there that people can search through for information about them.

Thanks for your help - and please, don't just assume someone else will do this. If you have a controller - good or bad - write something up!

AtariAge Blog
#13800 - 01/06/06 06:41 AM Re: The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
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gdk Offline
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gdk  Offline
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Outer space
I don't post here too often, but this is a topic I can definitely sink my teeth into.

MacAlly iShock:

This is a pretty good USB gamepad, if you're looking for something not-too-pricey (mine was 25 dollars new, when it was released). For those of you out there who also own home consoles, you'll be pleased to know that the shape is essentially the same as a Playstation DualShock, with identical placements for face and shoulder buttons (including the square, triangle, circle and x icons). The D-pad is round, but functions just like you'd expect a D-pad to function: precise, and not too mushy. Two extra programmable buttons around the outer rim of the D-pad, and a third right next to Start and Select on the bridge. It's a durable little pad, but since it's made of clear plastic, it tends to get dirty and scratched up real fast. Your mileage may vary.

Now, for the cons. The analogue sticks are essentially useless, sadly: very unresponsive, and have a nasty habit of sticking. You'll most likely never use them, which isn't a particularly appealing feature on a controller. It's also no longer being produced by MacAlly, so the only way you'll be getting it is second-hand. Luckily, whenever I see this thing pop up on eBay, it's dirt cheap (even brand new).

MacAlly iShock 2:

Two words: Stay away. This monster is a very, very distant relative of it's slimmer cousin. You might initially be attracted to the fact that it has a rumble feature, but if you own a Mac, you'll quickly discover that absolutely nothing supports rumbling. All that does is add extra weight and size to the controller, which brings us to our next point: it's uncomfortable to hold. MacAlly ditched the DualShock shape and button icon designs (possible legal pressure from Sony?) in favor of something that's not only bigger around the handles, it has edges to boot. Not sharp edges, mind you, but after a few hours of play, your hands will definitely start to ache.

The analogue sticks are still pretty bogus, and they've ditched the two extra programmable buttons around the D-pad (only the one extra button on the bridge remains, and they've replaced the fairly low-profile buttons from the previous model with big, round, mushy ones). Speaking of the D-pad, the biggest reason to stay away is that it appears to actually be an analogue stick masquerading as a D-pad. Mushy, unresponsive, and possibly even a little misaligned.

It's ugly, it's heavy, and it's definitely not worth the 40 dollar asking price.

#13801 - 01/06/06 08:19 AM Re: The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
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Vas Crabb Offline
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Vas Crabb  Offline
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Sydney, Australia
Logitech Dual Action Gamepad

Basic USB gamepad - basically a clone of the analog Playstation controller, but without the vibration functionality. D-pad, buttons (thumb and shoulder) and thumb sticks in the same places. Buttons are all numbered rather than having icons.

The shape is a bit different to the PSX controller - it's more rounded. This makes it more comfortable for me than the PSX pads. This pad is very comfortable to hold, and has a nice solid feel. It's a bit lighter than some people like, though.

The buttons have a great feel. Very fast and tight. No complaints there.

The analog thumb sticks are good with very accurate auto-centring and easy to feel for directions. Unlike the round pattern of the PSX thumb sticks or the octagonal pattern of GameCube's, the Logitech thumb sticks have a square pattern. This is a bit of a pain if you're trying to make circular motions.

The D-pad is round rather than plus-shaped. It's OK, but it's prone to sending a diagonal when you want a straight direction.

On the software side, it shows up as an HID gamepad. The D-pad appears as a hat switch, and the buttons appear as (guess what) buttons. The number emblazoned on each button is the HID button number it corresponds to. The left thumb stick appears as X and Y axes, and the right thumb stick appears as Z and rZ axes. Pushing down on the thumb sticks appears as HID buttons 11 and 12. So everything's very easy to set up for MacMAME.

On reliability, I did manage to displace a spring in the D-pad of an early revision one of these after about a year of heavy playing, but that hasn't happened to me with any of the newer ones (the early revisions have a glossy surface, while the later ones are a bit rougher, with a matte look).

#13802 - 01/08/06 04:37 PM Re: The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
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seanraaron Offline
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Glasgow, Scotland
Lik-Sang Boom PSX/N64-USB converter

I got this direct from Lik Sang ( and it worked right out of the box. The price was reasonable (~US$13) and the delivery prompt. I bought it because the Logitech controller I had just wasn't that great a controller and figured I'd do better with the Playstation controllers I remembered from my console days and in fact I'm using a pre-rumble Playstation dual analogue joypad I picked up second-hand from a Gamestation in town.

In actual use the analogue sticks show up as separate analogue sticks (one is X-Y and the other is Z-rotation left/right and Z+/-; the d-pad as separate buttons. Analogue stick buttons also register, but I've never tried using them in-game.

Pros: Can use a mulititude of Playstation and N64 controllers for a modest price. Controllers show up as HID device so you can use the joypad with other games like Lego Star Wars(!).

Cons: Have to connect joypad to converter before connecting it to system or weirdness occurs. Only works with PSOne controllers, but there's another device that's also compatible with PS2 ones. Doesn't work with four-way multitaps (to my knowledge, but again, there's another converter that should do the job).

Logitech Wingman Rumblepad

The first controller I bought to use with the Mac. It's wide with tiny buttons and frankly isn't that great a controller. I bought it because it was cheap and advertised Mac compatibility; if I had seen a Dual Action Gamepad I would have got that instead for sure.

The d-pad action doesn't feel very precise and doesn't always register. The button layout is like an Atari Jaguar controller with only two shoulder buttons and six on the face. The shoulder buttons are big and have a good texture to them; the face buttons are little blue chiclets which seem okay at first, but get a dozen games of galaga under your belt and you'll notice that they can start to feel mushy and stick a bit. No Start button; only select and an analogue-digital mode button. The analogue sticks are okay, but have way to much play for my taste and for whatever bizarre reason surrounded by a square outline, which, like the Dual Action Gamepad, means that calibration takes a couple of attempts.

Not even sure if it's for sale any more, but I'd probably avoid -- especially since the rumble feature is useless.

Kensington Optical Expert Mouse (Wireless)

This is not cheap (about US$100), but a quality piece of merchandise. The base is slightly inclined and comfortable to use and includes a wrist rest. There are four buttons arranged in four corners around the trackball (so not ideal for Missile Command) and a scroll ring that acts like a scroll wheel on a mouse. The trackball itself is as big as a cue ball and heavy. Really nice action thanks to the optical sensors and the mounting points. There is a wired model, but I got the wireless for future use of computer hooked up to TV. Conversely I need to put in 2xC-cell batteries, however the battery life is excellent and I've only had to replace then once in the past year.

I'd recommend against using the Logitech drivers as the top buttons won't show up as Mouse3 and Mouse4, but whatever limited range of key presses you assign them in the driver menu. Without the Logitech drivers the trackball shows up fine and works great, so why bother?

Extra great for FPS games like Jedi Knight and Elite Force; the two extra buttons are a big plus and you can scroll through weapon choices with the scroll ring.

Pros nice heavy trackball is as close to arcade as you can get without getting an actual arcade trackball. Four buttons gives a lot of flexibility in computer games.

Cons: wireless version needs batteries; easy to hit scroll ring in frenetic FPS games and change weapons inadvertantly; button action is not arcade, so likely needs to be combined with keyboard for gaming. It's a bit pricy compared to cheaper units.

Logitech Dual Action Gamepad

Well, on impulse I bought one in Maplin for 20. Much better than the Wingman, although also much lighter weight (probably because there's no useless rumble motors inside). It's also lighter weight than a standard Playstation controller; the plastic is definitely lighter weight and not as thick. The pad has a pretty good feel to it; buttons are laid out in a standard Playstation scheme, but with numbers instead of shapes. Bonus is that the buttons come up in Mame numbered as they are on the face of the controller. There are buttons in the Select and Start positions, but they are non-descript and numbered 9 and 10. The thumbsticks also have buttons for a total of twelve, but in pratice I found it impossible to assign the thumbstick buttons a function without also hitting a direction, so I finally gave up. I don't actually use the thumbstick buttons to date, but if you do, it's something to keep in mind.

Unlike the shiny surfaces of the playstation controller, the Dual Action has a matte surface, so if you get sweaty hands, this will probably help you keep a grip on the controller. As Vas stated, the only other issue is the imprecision of the d-pad. It's basically the same as on the Wingman and it can be tricky to define it initially as diagonals are easy to hit accidentally, but in actual use it's not too bad and there are raised bits at the cardinal directions which help hit the four-way points better.

Pros: Inexpensive, works right out of the box. If you swap back-and-forth with a playstation pad, the analogue sticks have the same values, so only the buttons and d-pad need to be redefined. Good action on the buttons and sticks.

Cons: square frame around analogue sticks makes calibration not quite as easy with the playstation controller. Easy to accidentally hit the diagonals with the d-pad. Thumbstick buttons difficult to hit precisely.

Sean Aaron
#13803 - 01/27/06 06:37 AM Re: The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
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Vas Crabb Offline
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Sydney, Australia
Wacom Intuos 3 6x8 Graphics Tablet

Why am I reviewing a graphics tablet as a game controller? Because like many people, I use LCD monitors, and lightguns won't work with them. So to get my fix of lightgun games, I need to use something else.

A mouse, trackpad or trackball really doesn't cut it, as you have to move the thing through a whole range of positions to get to where you want, it doesn't sense motion when it's not on the desk, and it has a non-linear acceleration curve.

On the other hand, a graphics tablet provides almost what a light gun does: point at any location, and the cursor goes right there; hit the tablet, and it's a trigger action; the barrel buttons (two of them) are useful for secondary weapon and reload buttons.

As a lightgun

To try it out, I set the pen to landscape pen mode, full tablet area mapped to full area of main monitor. Tip button (hitting the tablet with the pen) set to click, forward barrel button to right click and rear barrel button to middle click.

You might have to play around with the analog sensitivity to get it right for each game, and then point the pen at each corner to calibrate. For example, Laser Ghost required X sensitivity of 10% and Y sensitivity of 15% (much lower than the default 50%).

The tablet does work very well as a lightgun replacement. You can just point anywhere and hit the tablet to shoot there. Very accurate and repeatable.

The buttons on the left and right of the tablet can be mapped to other inputs, like coins and start buttons - just map them to keystrokes or modifiers in the Wacom software and assign them in MAME like you would with a keyboard.

My only niggling complaint is that 6x9 is a pretty big area, and you have to move your wrist a bit to get from one side of the screen to the other. Of course, if I had a smaller tablet I'd complain that it wasn't accurate enough. You can adjust the active area with the supplied software if being too big becomes a problem, but you can't make a small tablet bigger.

Oh yeah, and you can only use one barrel button at a time. This would be a problem if you need to hit buttons two and three simultaneously. But that's never happened to me in a lightgun game.


The mouse that comes with the tablet makes a pretty good FPS mouse, too: five buttons and a scroll wheel, and the most accurate tracking - far better than the best optical mouse. And it's wireless, of course.

It's lighter than most wireless mice because it doesn't have batteries (power is beamed from the tablet). It also has a kind of pad to glide on instead of the more usual Teflon feet. This all combines to give a smoother, lighter feel than a normal IR or RF wireless mouse.

You just have to remember that it only works on the tablet, and tracking is relative to the tablet, not the mouse (if you hold the mouse sideways, left and right are still horizontal movement). This can be disconcerting at first, but feels better once you get used to it.

Supplied software

The software supplied with the Intuos tablets is really good because it allows per-application assignments. I can have the tablet buttons mapped to Expos? and IM control in every application except MacMAME, where they're mapped to simple keystrokes.

The cheaper Graphire tablets don't allow per-application settings, and lack the tablet buttons.


Nothing too major, but here goes:

  • The tablet requires 300mA of power from USB, so you need to plug it into a self-powered hub or directly into your computer. A bus-powered hub or the ports on a USB keyboard won't work.
  • The tablet supports the use of two pens simultaneously (to input a point and angle simultaneously, or a Bezier curve control point and end point), but a lot of software doesn't handle this properly. It often forgets which pen is in your dominant hand after you move them out of proximity, and you end up inputting garbage. This is a problem with the applications, not the tablet and Wacom software.
  • The Intuos and Graphire software conflict with each other. You cannot install both on one Mac. So if you use a PowerBook in two locations, and want to have a Graphire at work and an Intuos at home for example, it ain't gonna happen.
  • The pen eraser can't be remapped to mouse button 4 or 5.


The Wacom Intuos 3 is a great tablet, and a very good lightgun replacement for people with LCD monitors. The supplied software is excellent, too. I'd strongly recommend one if you want a graphics tablet. It's way better than any competing products, and also way better than the cheaper Wacom Graphire (the Graphire feels slippery, the active surface isn't flat, and the software doesn't allow per-application settings).

However I wouldn't recommend it if you only want it for playing games, and have no other interest in a tablet. Why? It's not cheap. It cost me about 30,000.

#13804 - 01/28/06 09:07 AM Re: The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
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jonceramame Offline
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PC Joybox 3 in 1 - Console to USB converter - Playstation - Dreamcast - Saturn

I purchased this converter in order to use my various Playstation and Dreamcast controllers. For "regular" controllers, it works great. HID mapping of almost every item. Sometimes to weird buttons (like #13 and 14, etc.), but all functional.

Despite a new firmware in current models which handles analog controllers better, it has trouble with the Dreamcast Madcatz MC2 driving controller. The steering wheel works, but the pedals cause severe configuration problems (they seem to have a max negative as default, go to zero, and then positive. So they're read, but are uncalibratable inside MAME.)

The Dreamcast Agetec Arcade stick works very well, but again, maps to weird HID buttons. (The stick goes for $40-$50 on eBay and is about as close to a real arcade stick as you can get for that price.)

So, all in all, the 3-in-1 PC Joybox is a good console adapter. For standard controllers, it's a slam dunk. For non-standard controllers, buyer beware. Either way, you might need to use USB Overdrive to map buttons, or face spending a bunch of config time in MacMAME. Expect to pay $20.

#13805 - 01/30/06 10:07 AM Re: The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
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Nathan Strum Offline
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Newhall, CA, USA
AtariAge/Pixels Past Stelladaptor

This is a small USB adapter that allows you to plug in an Atari 2600 controller: joystick, paddles, trackball and the driving controller - but not a keypad. (Note: a 2600-compatible trackball only works in "joystick" mode - not as a true trackball.)

In Stella - the 2600 emulator - the controls work as they would on a real 2600, except the paddle support is a little odd. It doesn't always read an exact 1:1 position for the paddle, so it takes some getting used to. It also "jumps" back and forth slightly in some positions, so it doesn't always stay completely still. But for the most part, paddles work pretty well. The joystick and driving controller (Indy 500) support work great. This is easily the best way to play 2600 games on an emulator.

As for MacMAME, the joystick support is really the only thing worth using. Driving controller support doesn't seem to work in any game I've tried, and paddle control is twitchy at best. It works to a degree, and you can fuss with the analog sensitivity some, but computer mice or trackballs work better. That said, it's well worth it if you're looking for a way to plug in a simple, old-school, non-analog joystick. Playing Pac-Man and other maze games is actually fun again.

There are still quite a few 2600-compatible joysticks out there (including some arcade-quality ones made by Wico) which can be found for reasonable costs from online vendors or on eBay. For my money though, nothing beats an original 2600 stick, modified like this.

The downside? A bit pricey at $29.95.

Belkin Nostromo SpeedPad n52

This is an odd-looking half-keyboard/half-gamepad controller meant primarily for first-person shooters. Basically, it's meant to take over keyboard duties from your left hand, and work in conjunction with a gaming mouse. It has its own configuration software (which works very well, if being a little tedious to set up), and once you have it dialed in, you'll wonder how you ever played certain games (Jedi Knight II, Tron 2.0, for example) without it. It's really that good. Much, much better than using a keyboard for moving around/selecting weapons, and such.

However, it's not really designed for most of the games in MacMAME. The d-pad is a bit sensitive (fine for FPS games, not so much for Pac-Man), and there really aren't a lot of games in MacMAME that require 15+ buttons. However, it works well if you can find games that can take advantage of it (fighting games? Mahjong perhaps?). You can also set up macros for pulling off multiple button combinations, but they don't seem to work in MacMAME.

I picked up mine at a local Circuit City for only $19.95. A bargain!

Wacom Intous3 9x12 Graphics Tablet

I'll second Vas Crabb's recommendation for the Wacom tablet, except that I use the mouse that is included with it. The mouse is wireless, lightweight, and is fully customizable. Pretty much everything you need in a gaming mouse. Works great in Missile Command and light gun games in MacMAME. It also works great in other Mac games - especially partnered with the Nostromo SpeedPad. The high cost is going to put it out of range of most people, but if you already own a Wacom tablet, dust off the mouse that came with it and give it a shot. I'd never used it at all until I tried it for gaming recently, and it does the trick quite nicely.

Kensington Orbit Optical Trackball

I like this trackball as a replacement for Apple's mouse, but for gaming it's awful. Pretty much every computer trackball I've tried over the years just isn't suitable for gaming. As soon as you spin them too fast (which is pretty much the whole point of an arcade trackball), the cursor flips out and goes in pretty much every direction but the one you want it to. For games with very limited movement, it might be okay, but you're better off with a mouse, or a real arcade trackball. (I successfully hacked a Happ arcade trackball and a USB mouse together, and ended up with something that worked quite well.) The Orbit is an extremely poor substitute for a spinner, too.

Saitek Cyborg 3D Gold Joystick

A very good analog joystick, although the return-to-center spring is a little stiff, and the throw (maximum distance it moves) is pretty far. Plus, the whole unit is pretty large, so you'll be giving up some desktop space for it. On the plus side, its size makes it pretty stable. Works fine in MacMAME, although you may have to go into the TAB menu to configure it, and the config menu doesn't always read an axis or button on the first try. That said, once configured it's good for games like Star Wars (although not as good as a yoke), After Burner and Red Baron. Less so for I, Robot and Food Fight, since a smaller, shorter-throw analog stick is more suitable for those games. Although it may require GamePad Companion for some Mac games, it works fine in MacMAME without it.

AtariAge Blog
#13806 - 02/02/06 12:33 AM Re: The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
Joined: May 2005
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Vlcice Offline
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Originally posted by jonceramame:
So, all in all, the 3-in-1 PC Joybox is a good console adapter. For standard controllers, it's a slam dunk. For non-standard controllers, buyer beware.
I can add to your tests that the Japanese white Saturn Virtua Stick works very well with this adaptor, as well. I might as well segue into a review here, while I'm at it.

Sega Saturn Virtua Stick (white second model)

It goes for about 10-20$ cheaper than the Agetec stick, you mention, and, since it has two more buttons has a better button layout for SNK fighting games.

The stick is unfortunately square gate, which is less comfortable for SNK and Capcom-style fighting games than octagonal gate joysticks. However, very few home sticks have octagonal gates; the only ones I can think of offhand are Hori's exceptionally expensive Real Arcade Pro sticks and one relatively rare stick from Sammy. That said, the square gate can be gotten used to, and I've found it sufficiently comfortable for Last Blade 2 and other SNK fighters. The joystick on mine is a bit loose; from what I can tell, it's a bit hit or miss whether it will be loose or tight.

The buttons are nice enough, if nothing too exceptional. They get the job done without any problems, although particularly dedicated joystick fans probably won't be satisfied with anything other than Sanwa or Happ buttons. The layout is very nice. Unlike the Agetec stick, which has only six buttons in a Capcom layout, the Saturn's Virtua Stick has eight buttons. Six are in the standard Capcom layout, while the other two are placed at angles to the left and right of this, which makes for a very nice four- or five-button layout, for games set up that way. I've used it comfortably with SNK and Capcom fighting games, along with various other arcade games. Unless your needs are very specific, this layout should be quite sufficient.

It's worth noting that, unlike most American-made joysticks, the button layout is quite ergonomic, and the buttons are placed a bit closer together. This may not make a difference to all people, but for women like myself and other people with smaller hands, the layout is very comfortable, unlike typical American joysticks, which tend to be designed for larger hands.

I've taken a look inside the case, and it looks like it would be fairly easy to mod with a superior Sanwa stick. At that cost, however, it would probably be more cost-effective to buy a Hori Real Arcade Pro and a PlayStation --> USB adaptor instead.

If you don't care that much about the shape of the stick's gate, or have a Saturn however,, the Virtua Stick is a nice, solid, and relatively inexpensive choice. I bought mine on eBay for around 30$ or so, which seems to be a fairly average price.

Sega Saturn USB control pad

This is rebuilt from Sega's Japanese digital Saturn gamepads, which were also used for the model 2 Saturns outside Japan. These have a very well-deserved reputation for being the best digital-only pads around. If you've already used one on the Saturn, you know what to expect.

The shape is comfortable and fits in the hand nicely. It's designed in a slight M shape, so the claws fit well in the curve of the hands and index fingers can curl comfortably over the shoulders.

The d-pad is probably the best part about the pad. It's the same d-pad used in Sega's Nights pad. It's made of a slightly softer plastic than most, and has rounded edges at the end, which makes it much less chafing than most d-pads are. It feels quite solid, and works well for quick motions in action games.

The buttons are standard button fare; there's not much to be said for gamepad buttons. For what they are, they're quite nice; comfortable, and quick response. Unlike most modern gamepads, there are six face buttons instead of four, arranged in two rows of three. This probably won't make much of a difference for most people, but for Capcom fans it's much nicer than having to use shoulder buttons to supplement four face buttons. There are two shoulder buttons as well, which, thanks to the controller design mentioned before, are comfortable to hold and press.

Overall, this is an excellent controller, and I'd highly recommend it for anyone who doesn't want a gamepad with an analogue joystick. The USB version generally goes for about 35-40$ USD at stores like Play-Asia and Lik-Sang. If you already have a PlayStation --> USB adaptor, there is a PlayStation 2 version for 30-33$ USD. Alternately, the Mac version of Puyo Puyo Fever, which sells at the Himeya Shop for 89$ USD, comes with an iPod-coloured USB version pad.

Microsoft Controller S

I was very surprised when I tried out this gamepad; I wasn't expecting anything nearly as good as this turned out to be. It feels as though Microsoft has picked up quite a bit from Sega.

The Controller S's design is much more ergonomic than the original Xbox controller, which was definitely a deservedly-maligned design. Like most recent gamepads it has thick claws to hold; it feels quite comfortable, and fits nicely in my hands. Thankfully, Microsoft hasn't copied Sony's design for placement of the d-pad and left thumbstick; both are easily reachable, and the thumbstick, which is going to be more often used by most people, is in the most convenient position. My only complaint here would be that the triggers feel like they're in a slightly awkward position at first, although it's not really noticeable after a bit.

The analogue stick is very, very comfortable. I don't usually prefer them so strongly, but the Controller S's thumbstick is extremely good. Unlike Nintendo's and the Dreamcast's, it doesn't have uncomfortable designs on the surface, and unlike Sony's it has an indented surface that makes it easier to keep the thumb on securely. It has a nice tight feel; this doesn't make a huge difference, but I find that it gives a little extra control. I usually don't use analogue sticks for 2D games, but I've found, to my surprise, that the Controller S's works extremely well for shooters like Metal Slug and, especially, fighting games; I've tried it primarily with SNK games. It might not suit everyone, however.

The d-pad is also quite nice, which is a bit surprising since Microsoft might easily have skimped on it. It feels somewhat of a successor to Sega's Japanese Saturn d-pads, and retains that soft feeling. Unfortunately, Microsoft has gone for sharper edges than Sega did, which makes it a bit less comfortable. It still works very well, however, and is fast and accurate. It's somewhat less comfortably positioned than the analogue stick, but that probably couldn't be helped.

Although there are technically six face buttons (four main buttons plus the black and white buttons), realistically you will only use four of them. The black and white buttons are so badly-positioned that they are very uncomfortable to use. The white button cannot be reached at all without moving the thumb off of the four main buttons, although the black button can, somewhat awkwardly, be reached by rolling the thumb back off of the A button.

The four buttons you can reach are quite nicely-designed however. There's nothing at all special about the standard cross layout, but it works. They feel a bit more rounded at the top than some other gamepad's buttons, but this doesn't really impact their usage. The start and select buttons take some getting used to, because they're placed to the left of the left analogue trigger. It works well once you can undo all of the training years of Sega and Nintendo have drilled into you.

The analogue triggers, once you get used to their placement, are quite nice. They feel like a close copy from Sega's Nights pad, which was probably the best they could have copied.

Overall, this is a surprisingly good gamepad, and has become one of my favourites. If you're not going to be playing any analogue-stick games and just want a d-pad, you would be better off with the USB Sega Saturn pad. If you do want a gamepad with an analogue stick, this is one of the best choices.

The Xbox 360 gamepad is very similar, but fixes up some issues with button placement; the black and white buttons have been moved to the shoulders, giving two sets of shoulder buttons, and which is ultimately much more ergonomical. The start and select buttons have been moved again; they are now to the right of the left analogue stick and the left of the face buttons, respectively, which makes it a bit easier to access them. The d-pad has been redesigned, but I haven't used it enough to comment on it.

If you don't have an Xbox, the 360 pad makes more sense, both because it is superior and because the wired pad uses a USB port instead of an abnormal port that requires an adaptor. The original Xbox pad costs about 35-40$ USD, and will require an adaptor that costs about 6-10$ USD at stores like Play-Asia and Lik-Sang. The wired Xbox 360 pad costs about 32-40$ USD, and should require only a free third-party Mac OS X driver to work.

#13807 - 03/02/06 04:14 AM Re: The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 80
agallisa Offline
agallisa  Offline

Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 80
San Francisco
Logitech Cordless Rumblepad 2

This pad is an update to the all the other logitech Playstation clones and works about as well as all the other ones. The gamepad shows up as a HID device in all games which I have ever tested it on and I have not had any problems with the pad in this regard. The pad uses an RF wireless connection and I have not noticed any lag or connection issues with button presses or analog accuracy. Logitech does not provide any software but the pad works well with USB Overdrive and ControllerMate (older versions of ControllerMate did not work with this game pad so please upgrade). Typically I the 3rd party software to enable mouse use with the analog sticks and setting custom actions such as a quit button in SNES 9X when in fullscreen mode (I created an action which presses ESC and then waits one second before pressing Command Q).

Overall I am very happy with this gamepad. The only cons I have with it is the Dpad is made of one big piece of plastic instead of individual pieces for each direction. This makes pulling off a Dragon Punch with Ryu or Ken a little difficult.

#13808 - 05/05/06 11:59 AM Re: The Official Game Controller Review Thread  
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 19
oneagle Offline
Junior Member
oneagle  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 19
Super SmartJoy

Super SmartJoy is a snes to usb adapter. $18.90 US at
This is completly compatible with all emulators, all you need is an snes controller. I use this for all of my emulators, snes controllers I feel is comfertable in the hands and has enough buttons for just about every game out there.

SmartJoy puts out usb adapters for just about every console controller on the market.

If you truely want a retro feel you can purchase an NES controller converted to usb at they also have the fourscore, nes advantage, snes, genesis, virtual boy, atari, pc engine, intellivision, colecovision, saturn, 3do and vectrex controller usb adapters and kits. I have the nes usb pad and works perfect.
If you have the knowlage or feel brave you can download instuctions to convert it yourself.

GP2X, your portable emulation fix.
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