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Photo gallery: A joystick built like a tank

<A HREF="http://www.x-arcade.com">X-Arcade </A>puts arcade controls in your lap (or on your table, or in your custom-built arcade cabinet) with its Tankstick and other arcade controllers. Nearly invincible components and a lifetime warranty make these fearsome sticks keepers. They come at a price, though; the Tankstick retails for around $200 and the Dual Joystick retails for around $150. They can be ordered directly from X-Arcade, or found at certain Best Buy and Fry's Electronics stores.

Will Greenwald
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The Tankstick will dominate any desk or table you dare to set it up on. At 29 inches wide and 13 inches deep, this controller will comfortably fit two gamers whaling on each other in Street Fighter II.
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You won't find any analog pads or motion sensors here. The joystick can function as a 4- or 8-direction stick, and the buttons can be programmed with whatever command you might want. They're industrial components, and each button is rated for up to a million presses in its lifetime.
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The Tankstick also has a trackball for playing golf, bowling, and Missile Command games. It also can function as a standard mouse by plugging in to your computer's USB or PS2 mouse port.
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Yes, that's a serial port you see on the left. The joysticks connect to computers and game systems with a variety of serial-to-USB/PS2 keyboard/game console adapters available from X-Arcade. The other cable connects the trackball separately to a computer or game system. The two buttons on the right activate the stick's Program mode and disable the trackball's horizontal movement (so you can cheat at golf and bowling games).
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If the Tankstick is just a bit too much for you, X-Arcade's dual joystick does away with the trackball for a slightly smaller, slightly lighter, just as durable controller.
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Though neither controller is in any way small, the Tankstick dwarfs the Dual Joystick, weighing about five pounds more and sitting a few inches larger in every direction.
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This view shows just how much bigger the Tankstick is over the Dual Joystick. Tankstick also has twice as many side buttons for playing pinball arcade games. We didn't edit out the cables in the Dual Joystick; the Dual Joystick's serial port is built into the unit's side, while the Tankstick's various connections come through cables that hang out the back.

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