Additional ArcadePC Controllers

From the Author

controller3.gif (64011 bytes)From my countless searches on the web to find anything that would enable me to change control panel interfaces on the Hanaho ArcadePC, I found absolutely NOTHING.  There were indications from Hanaho's site (and others), that Trackball and Spinner interfaces would be introduced into the market sooner rather than later.  However, I became impatient once I actually had the glory of playing MAME on the ArcadePC, and even though the 2 player control configuration plays 90% of all the games I love, there still remain those choice few that the controls just aren't fit to play. 

I began seriously looking into building my own control panel for the ArcadePC.  I took the measurements, cracked open the HotRod to see what the innards looked like and began looking online to see what type of interface I would use and what it would cost.  BUT...before I decided to make the jump so many people had before me, I decided to ask Hanaho just where they stood on new HotRod joystick controls.  Within a day I received a reply email from Richard Ragon stating that it was available NOW!!

I called Hanaho afterwards to ask a few more questions.  Conway Ho, who handles much of the design and support of the HotRod and ArcadePC, filled me in on a lot of information that is simply not out there on Hanaho's web site.  So I thought I would share the information I received with you.

Firstly, Hanaho does have a trackball style controller (i.e. - Centipede) in two models. 

  • Model One:  This model controller has the trackball only, with appropriate coin, start, and game operation buttons.  Sorry I don't remember the exact number of buttons, but I'm positive there are enough to play any trackball game in MAME.   Again, this panel simply slides in the ArcadePC and replaces the existing controller.  This model, with trackball joystick only, costs $250. 
  • Model Two:  The second model, again, has a trackball interface with buttons, but also adds an additional Super 8-way joystick and additional 3 (I think) buttons.  You get the additional joystick and buttons for $50, making option two a total of $300. 
  • Please note, I am not sure if Hanaho makes the trackball controllers in stand-alone units.  What I mean by this is that the ArcadePC uses a HotRod style joystick, but it is "cut-off" on both sides to allow it to slide into the cabinet.  In other words, it is not a nice neat package as the normal HotRod controller is.  Hanaho may have a standard mold for the full-size controller as well, but I did not ask.  From looking on the web, it seems you can't order these at Hanaho's website (or any other for that matter).  These are special-order joysticks and Conway said he has a few hundred on back order right now.  You can simply call Hanaho at 562-483-1414 to place an order.
  • As a bonus, I got some great information from a fellow ArcadePC owner who purchased a full size ArcadePC with a trackball control and 3 extra buttons included with the original HotRod.  Awesome!  Here is some information via an email that he sent and also a great picture of the ArcadePC full size with trackball interface that he described.  Thanks for the info Benoit.

Secondly, Hanaho has recently added the option of adding an spinner control (i.e. - Arkanoid) to their line of HotRod products.

  • A few months ago, in a conversation I had with Conway about the trackball controllers (Model One & Two), Hanaho did not have spinner controls available.  Well, the company has recently changed its tune on the spinner controls and have begun including them on special orders.  Below is text taken directly from Oscar Controls concerning their affiliation with Hanaho. 
controller2.gif (60484 bytes)  

A custom OSCAR spinner is now readily available for your ArcadePC order! 

 :: USB interface - PS/2 adapter included

 :: heavy-duty dual bearing design - never needs lubricating

 :: ground, polished, & case hardened steel shaft - for lifelong gameplay

 :: extra heavy flywheel assembly - laser cut from steel plate

 :: no mounting plate required - professional installation by HanaHo

 :: black aluminum capped knob - the most popular spinner knob

Additionally, Hanaho and XGaming have a HotRod style controller to be used with any PC or console gaming system.

  • The X-Arcade controller is the creation of a company called "X-Gaming" and it was produced from the original HotRod design.  Needless to say, Hanaho was very involved in the design, and likely development, of this product.  This controller has the exact joystick/button configuration as the original Hanaho HotRod joystick.  What is unique about this product is the fact that it has 4 separate button setting switches that (with a proprietary console converter) can be used to switch the button configuration so that the controller will then be compatible with console systems such as the Sega Dreamcast, Sony Playstation 1 & 2, Nintendo 64, etc. as well as your computer for emulation style games.  It also has a programmable interface which will allow you to map controller buttons to different keyboard keys (unlike the HotRod which has a static keyboard layout). 
  • Based on information I've read at the X-Arcade website, the console adapters are completed but going through rigorous testing to ensure the interface is stable.  The adapters were set to ship at launch, but because the hardware they used was no longer being producted, they had to make changes to the design and reprogram the adapters.  Although a specific date for adapter release has not been set, the X-Gaming company has verified that the adapters will be available by Christmas of 2002.   While this may be disheartening to those people waiting to try this equipment out, rest assured that the product will be of better quality going through this process.

Many of you have likely already heard about the X-Arcade from other emulation sites.  X-Gaming has already begun shipping units to those people who pre-ordered the controller.  Many sites even have X-arcade controller reviews already out there.  My biggest concern was that the controller would not come in an ArcadePC style panel that would slide into the cabinet.  Conway negated my fears as he said that the X-Arcade would definitely be available for the ArcadePC.  In fact, Hanaho is working on a console style cabinet called the Arcadestation.  Here is a crude picture taken from another website (this was from the E3 Expo I think).  It simply looks like an ArcadePC with different Logo and I am not sure what they use for video but my guess would be a television (NSTC or Svideo). 

I'm not sure if it is standard procedure for buying the X-Arcade, but I was told that I could order the ArcadePC version of the X-Arcade joystick directly from Hanaho.  The parts for the X-Arcade controller are a little harder to come by as some are specially made for it.  They are still arcade quality parts, but from what I can gather from the X-Arcade website they were specially made for the controller (so they are not Happ controls).  Conway said that both the trackball and X-Arcade orders for the ArcadePC panels would take about 6 weeks.

While consoles do not really carry on the spirit of emulation as well as true emulators, I myself, am ecstatic over the fact that I will soon be able to play some of the greatest fighting games (thanks to the Dreamcast or PS2) on my Arcade PC, with the simple addition of the X-Arcade and VGA box.  While I have not tried this yet, it is in my plans to see if it is possible and report the findings to all.  We'll see exactly how dynamic the ArcadePC truly is. 

Finally, let it not be said that the ArcadePC is not alive and well in Hanaho's evolving product line. 

I'm sure many folks who already have an ArcadePC or are in the market for buying one will see the addition of two new control panels as manna from Heaven.  With the addition of these controllers, a whole new collection of games are available to the ArcadePC owners that can be played the way they were meant to be played.  And considering that running newer console games on your system (as long as the system can filter output through VGA, which can usually be done through a myriad of converters), you can seemingly play any game you wish on the ArcadePC.  Hanaho has already beefed up their ArcadePC site, and they have provided more information on their existing products (even added a cool Flash website).

The modular layout of the ArcadePC is beginning to pay off for owners of the ArcadePC.  I will bring you full details of the new arcade control panels for the ArcadePC as soon as I find the time (and extra money to buy them).

Thanks to the Oscar Controls websight for the additional pics on this page.