TRON arcade game joystick research

  • 2014/01/28: Updated information on 4-way restrictor for flight stick.
  • 2015/02/18: A note about the HAPP joystick, and restrictor plates being made for it.

A friend of mine is in the process of building a custom arcade controller for home use. Here is some of the research that may be of interest to others trying to replicate the 1982 TRON arcade game controls. (A flight stick with a trigger button, and a paddle spinner controller).

The TRON handle can be bought from Groovy Game Gear. They claim they are using the original molds and also used the original color key chip to match the color as close as possible to the originals that were made in 1982:

http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=319

This handle is designed to replace the one for an original arcade stick, but folks have been modifying other types of joysticks to make it attach. No details on this, yet.

Next, there is a low-cost trigger stick from RetroCade.us. It is available in several places:

$20 – Paradise Arcade Shop in Hawaii:

http://www.paradisearcadeshop.com/imported-joysticks/299-import-flight-stick.html

They also sell it on Amazon.com, for $22, but shipping is cheaper there (currently $26.83 for the stick and shipping):

http://www.amazon.com/Arcade-flight-Joystick-joystick-buttons/dp/B00F1YQ5HW/ref=sr_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1388078024&sr=1-1&keywords=arcade+flight+stick

RetroCade.us also sells it direct through Holland Computers:

http://www.hollandcomputers.com/store/pc/Arcade-flight-yoke-stick-Joystick-eight-way-joystick-with-two-fire-buttons-and-firm-grip-p8069.htm

The stick is incorrectly described (on Amazon and at Holland) as a 4/8 way switchable stick. It is not. You need a restrictor plate to make it 4-way like the arcade TRON stick is. I have not located a restrictor plate for this joystick yet, but Paradise Arcade Shop says they may be able to custom make one.

Update: There is also a higher priced HAPP joystick commonly used for TRON:

http://forum.arcadecontrols.com/index.php?topic=78233.0

That stick is also an 8-way, but my same friend who is building the custom arcade controller now has a 3-D printer and has designed a 4-way restrictor plate for this. He will be offering them for sale, so contact me if you are interested.

As for spinner controllers, there seems to be two candidates. One is sold by Groovy Game Gear. It is the Turbo Twist 2 and it runs about $70:

http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=268

Ultimarc also sells a spinner for the same price called the SpinTrak:

http://www.ultimarc.com/SpinTrak.html

No details on which one is better for this purpose.

More to come…

15 thoughts on “TRON arcade game joystick research

      1. Adam Grimm

        I realize this is now a bit old, but did you ever sort out the restrictor plate?
        I’ve been searching the interwebs for some time now and it seems like the
        holy grail of arcade parts!

        Thanks!

        Reply
        1. Allen Huffman Post author

          My friend got a 3-D printer and printed one for his flight stick and we can do the same for the cheap $25 stick. I need to get my control panel built and that will motivate us working on one. Which flight stick?

          Reply
          1. Adam Grimm

            Awesome!
            I have two of the MiniGrip Sticks from Ultimarc:
            http://www.ultimarc.com/controls.html

            I then got 2 of these “universal” restrictors and attacked them with a dremel:
            https://www.focusattack.com/seimitsu-ls-32-triple-restrictor-plate/

            Not the best of solutions, but it kinda sorta helps with the Lightcycles.
            Well, not really that much but better than nothing, I suppose ;-)
            I even tried to match the Tron restrictor by dremelling out the corners just a little. Again, not the best solution…

  1. Adam Grimm

    Hello again!

    Think I rambled a bit in my earlier reply.

    If possible, I would be mega-stoked on a restrictor plate for the
    Minigrip Stick.
    It’s the same cheap $25 stick as the Night Mission Mini Flightstick.

    If it’s possible, please just let me know what you need from me…

    Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Rich

    I’m curious what the results were for the restrictor plate from the 3D printing. I’m looking for the ideal Joystick to get to fit GGG’s Tron handle. I know it’s been a few months but I know there’s going to be others out there looking for the same.

    Reply
      1. Rich

        Awesome. I know this is an obscure topic but the people who want this (like me) obsess over trying to find a solution to recreating a Tron stick. I want to do it the right way that doesn’t cost over $200. This page has been a lot of help towards my goal.
        Has anyone actually used the Night Mission Sticks yet? I’m curious about how they perform…
        Do you know what the dimensions are of the restrictor plate? I may have some resources as well.

        Reply
        1. Mitch

          I too am looking for a true 4-way restrictor for the Night Mission/Trigger Stick/Flight Stick joysticks.

          It’s a great joystick, though with very clicky micro switches. The base looks like it’s made to take a restrictor, but I can’t find one.

          If anyone can make them (even 3D printed), it would be like a license to print money for lot of us. Take my money, please!

          Reply
          1. Mitch

            Yep – That’s the one.
            I’m looking for a pair of these restrictors.
            I’m quite sure he does have a ton of them with a pinch of advertising on Reddit and other forms!

  3. Allen Huffman Post author

    The plates are different depending on the joystick. Mike recently bought a dead TRON machine so he now has parts from an original to try to get working. But, the plate he made was specifically for the HAPP stick or whatever $$$ one I mention in the article.

    Reply

Leave a Reply