Buy or Make Classic MAME Controllers

Get the full retro experience from classic control boxes.

Tired of playing classic arcade games under MAME using only your keyboard or a tiny game pad? Want a controller that mimics the original arcade experience—but don’t want to shell out the cash and living-room space required for a six-foot-tall arcade cabinet [Hack #30] ? If this sounds like you, what you need is a standalone MAME controller that hooks up to your PC. This hack will explore how to buy prefabricated controllers as well as a few tips on how to create, then build, your own custom design.

Buy a Classic MAME Controller

By far the easiest option (at least for those of us not particularly technically inclined) is to buy one of the pre-made MAME controllers offered by a few different manufacturers. Although they may look virtually identical, you’ll want to know some details about the devices before you decide which one to purchase.


A manufacturer called HanaHo Games offers this joystick ( The large casing features two full sets of real arcade-style eight-way joysticks and buttons. Each side features eight buttons: a start button up above, six arranged in the standard two-by-three style used by most Street Fighter type fighting games, as well as an extra button on the lower left, which allows you to play the four-button Neo Geo games by using the bottom row only. Two buttons on the sides of the unit function as flipper controls ...

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