Late Review: XGaming X-Arcade Dual Joystick

November 5th, 2005 by Benj Edwards

X-Arcade LogoYeah, I know, this joystick is old news. It’s probably been reviewed dozens of times. But when it first came out, I didn’t have a Vintage Computing and Gaming blog. So now I get to play catch-up and review all kinds of nifty things I’ve been buying and collecting over the years, just to add another voice to the chorus of public opinion, and to help my fellow enthusiasts, of course. And in this case, I specifically wanted to review the XGaming X-Arcade Dual joystick because I definitely think it’s worth a mention here.

X-Arcade Dual JoystickI bought my X-Arcade Dual over three years ago, and it has held up very well over the years. I originally used it with a PS/2 to USB adapter on my iMac to play arcade games in MAME. Then for a while I had a dedicated (if pathetic) MAME PC that I used the Dual with to play emulated arcade games, of course. I originally decided to get the Dual model so my buddy and I could play two-player games together (loads of fun and works great), but the extra joystick also comes in handy for games like Robotron: 2084 and Smash TV that use two joysticks in their original cabinets (one for movement and one to fire in a certain direction).

The price is a little steep (currently $129.95 for the Dual, and $99.95 for the Solo, one-player joystick), but I’d have to say that you really get what you pay for here: authentic arcade controls. This thing is made of the real stuff — industrial strength switches for the buttons and joysticks that hold up to intense pounding, while still being quick and responsive — all mounted sturdily in a heavy particle-board base that feels like it could take quite a beating itself (although not a drink spill, if it seeps through the plastic-covering’s edges). The eight standard play button positions are well thought out, allowing for the best compatibility with many different arcade games. There are also two start buttons at the top (for added authentic feel) and as a nice bonus, two buttons on either side, which work excellently as flipper buttons for a video pinball game. The overall craftsmanship and quality of the product is exemplary, and it becomes obvious once you hold the Dual in your hands that you’re dealing with a well-designed, well-manufactured product.

The X-Arcade Dual, by default, plugs into your computer through its PS/2 keyboard port, with a handy pass-through female PS/2 jack for your regular keyboard. In this way, the Dual emulates a keyboard and has incredibly large possibilities as a game controller, even for games that don’t support joysticks. You can program which buttons correspond to which keys on a keyboard using a plugged-in keyboard and a special programming button on the back. The Dual also allows you to save four different button configurations (for different games, for example), which you can toggle with a four-position switch in the back of the unit. It should also be noted that through XGaming, you can purchase various adapters that let you use the Dual (or the Solo) as a controller on traditional console game systems like the PS2 and the Xbox, although I have never tried this feature.

Overall, I’m very impressed, and yes, I recommend the X-Arcade Dual highly to anyone who is serious about playing games with MAME, or even those who just want a damn good joystick. The bottom line is this: if you want an authentic arcade quality feel to your games, look no further than the X-Arcade Dual.

And no, all my reviews won’t be this glowing. I’ll find something bad to review soon enough.

The Skinny: XGaming X-Arcade Dual Joystick
Good Features: Sturdy, arcade-authentic hardware, excellent craftsmanship and quality, great button layout, incredible compatibility options with keyboard emulation and available adapters.
Bad Features: The price is a little steep, relegating this stick to a hard-core audience. Keyboard pass-through a little awkward. Particle board body construction.
VC Rating:
(10 Being Best)
[ 9 out of 10 ] Shiny Marbles

2 Responses to “Late Review: XGaming X-Arcade Dual Joystick”

  1. Hene Says:

    Hi, I recently bought an X-Arcade dual joystick which is the same as yours where it only has connection to the computer through a PS-2 port.. My laptop doesn’t have a PS-2 port so I was wondering whether there is any way without buying the upgrade kit that I could make the joystick worrk on my laptop?


  2. Benj Edwards Says:

    Hene, You can buy a PS/2 to USB keyboard/mouse adapter and it will work with the X-Arcade joystick. I actually got mine from the X-Arcade people themselves, though any adapter should work.

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