Fun & Games
Retro Thing’s hackable USB joystick

Touchscreen and computer vision interfaces are slowly starting to replace the traditional game controllers in next generation systems. Today’s Wiimote will be tomorrow’s joystick. Speaking of joysticks, the guys over at Retro Thing are producing some pretty cool classic Atari-style joysticks using clear plastic and a USB interface. Besides being an awesome retro game controller, the USB controller board is fully hackable and comes with labeled solder points to connect up to 8 additional controllers (buttons, switches). Perfect for a homebrew MAME cabinet or tabletop build.


8 thoughts on “Retro Thing’s hackable USB joystick

  1. 30 bucks for a atari joystick? The most notoriously uncomfortable and unreliable joystick in the history of joysticks. For that much you can buy a REAL atari joystick AND the usb adaptor to hook it up to the pc. Also there aren’t enough solder points to hook up 8 more joysticks, there are enough points to hook up 8 more inputs/switches. So you are paying 30 bucks for a joystick interface capable of a dpad and 9 buttons… not even as many inputs as a standard xbox 360 controller.

    No thanks.

    1. That’s a typo. You are correct. I’ve updated the article to reflect this. Thanks!

      BTW, some folks like the nostalgia of an Atari-style joystick. Some people like old IBM keyboards with the mechanical keys. I can’t stand them and prefer a modern laptop keyboard. These guys are producing a short run for a niche market that seems to enjoy this sort of thing and are attempting to make them hacker friendly. I’m sure they could have produced them for far less if they were made overseas, but they chose to make them locally. Some people will pay more for that (not that there’s anything wrong with producing overseas, we live in a global economy, etc, etc.).

  2. Hiya everybody! Thanks for recognizing our efforts. It’s as you say, Adam, we’ve produced the stick as a bit of “useful nostalgia”. ;) Having it be hackable was important as was the ‘made in USA’ aspect. Both have made a lot of people pretty happy, and we’re grateful to them all. Also we’re really honored to be on Make! We love this place!

Comments are closed.


I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.

View more articles by Adam Flaherty