can anyone recommend a good quality, inexpensive MAME & PC game controller?

GunsMadeAmericaFree

Senior member
Jan 23, 2007
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Probably 6 or 7 years ago, I bought about 5 Thrustmaster GPX Lightback Xbox 360 wired controllers that were on sale for $10 each at Micro Center. I used them a lot, and my 3 kids used them a lot.
The last one seems to have finally gotten some broken wires or something, and we are in need of several controllers.

I realize I'm probably not going to find another quality name brand controller for $10-$15, but I'm hoping for $20 or less on a quality controller. Is there something you have used that you can recommend, which I can
jot down and then keep an eye out for a sale?

Thanks!
 

Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
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I've been using the Afterglow wired 360 controllers for years. I grabbed them for about $15 each at Target but I think they're normally in the $20 range.

Also been hearing a lot of good things about the Thrustmaster ProSwap controller but that's more in the full-time streamer range ($150). The only gimmick of that thing is that you can move the analogue sticks and D-pad around on the controller in-game or out and the inputs still work. Personally, I'll just stick with the $20 controllers that can glow if I want them to.
 

DigDog

Lifer
Jun 3, 2011
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im confused by what you mean by "inexpensive MAME" - MAME is free, it's an old arcade emulator.
As for the controllers .. just get someone to re-solder the wirings.
 

Mai72

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Sep 12, 2012
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The Gamesir. This controller is bluetooth, and also has a dongle that you can plug into your usb port. It charges thru usb, and yes you can still use the controller while it charges. It mimics the xbox controller. you can customize the lights and it vibrates as well. It does cost around $35 but its a high quality controller that will last a long time. IMO, its so worth it. Its sold on Amazon.

 
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Stg-Flame

Diamond Member
Mar 10, 2007
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The Gamesir. This controller is bluetooth, and also has a dongle that you can plug into your usb port. It charges thru usb, and yes you can still use the controller while it charges. It mimics the xbox controller. you can customize the lights and it vibrates as well. It does cost around $35 but its a high quality controller that will last a long time. IMO, its so worth it. Its sold on Amazon.

I've seen these before, but how easy can you take them apart? The thing I love about the Afterglow controllers is that you can literally just take a precision Phillips screwdriver and have it in pieces in less than a minute. Since the Afterglow are somewhat cheaper, the plastic starts to wear and I have to take them apart and clean the buttons (looks like plastic dust or just normal dust builds up around the buttons) about once a year. All-in-all it takes about five minutes and the controller feels brand new afterward. I do live in the desert so my house (even with double-pane windows) still accumulates a large amount of dust so I prefer ease of access over flashy colors.
 

Mai72

Lifer
Sep 12, 2012
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I've seen these before, but how easy can you take them apart? The thing I love about the Afterglow controllers is that you can literally just take a precision Phillips screwdriver and have it in pieces in less than a minute. Since the Afterglow are somewhat cheaper, the plastic starts to wear and I have to take them apart and clean the buttons (looks like plastic dust or just normal dust builds up around the buttons) about once a year. All-in-all it takes about five minutes and the controller feels brand new afterward. I do live in the desert so my house (even with double-pane windows) still accumulates a large amount of dust so I prefer ease of access over flashy colors.
I'm looking at mine now. The controller has 2 screws on the bottom. I can't really tell you how easy it is to take it apart. The fear I'd have is once its taken apart would that weaken the structure of the device? I don't have any plans to take mine apart. I live in NJ. Dust buildup isn't that big of a deal here.
 
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GunsMadeAmericaFree

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Jan 23, 2007
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We mostly use the controllers for Steam games and old MAME arcade games. (Dig Dug, etc.) I bought a bunch of Nintendo Switch controllers with Link on the front of the controller last year, but they only seem to be partially detected, for some reason. In other words, they only seem partially compatible, which is strange. I figured any current systems basic controllers, as long as they had USB hookup, would work fine with PC for Steam & MAME games.
 

Stg-Flame

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Mar 10, 2007
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We mostly use the controllers for Steam games and old MAME arcade games. (Dig Dug, etc.) I bought a bunch of Nintendo Switch controllers with Link on the front of the controller last year, but they only seem to be partially detected, for some reason. In other words, they only seem partially compatible, which is strange. I figured any current systems basic controllers, as long as they had USB hookup, would work fine with PC for Steam & MAME games.
A quick Google search would have told you that Nintendo controllers are not compatible with PC (entirely different platforms). The only ones that are "plug and play" are wired XBOX 360 controllers as said above and that's only because they are both made by Microsoft so your PC doesn't have to try to decipher what you just plugged in. Playstation controllers work but only with a bluetooth dongle (or BT-capable motherboard) and even then you might need additional software to make sure everything works right.

I hope you didn't buy those Nintendo controllers after you made this topic since that would defeat the whole purpose of seeking advice.
 
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GunsMadeAmericaFree

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No, I bought them about 8 months ago, figuring that since they have USB hookups, they would be compatible. And since making this thread, I did go back to try them out again with an older version of Mame, Mame32. I was able to play Dig Dug using the controller with no problems at all! Perhaps I just didn't have it set up quite right the first time I tried, or with the newer version of MAME. In any case, it is working just fine with all of the old arcade games that I have now!
 
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GunsMadeAmericaFree

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Jan 23, 2007
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All I can say is that if you have the version with Link on it, and you have updated Windows 10 to the latest update, and Steam to latest update, it seems to work fine with it. Of course, you have to make sure you have a compatible ROM for MAME, too. (playable with keyboard, first)
 

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