49-Way Joysticks (and the sourcing thereof)

Hey guys, contemplating a project using a 49-way stick; used to be a huge fan of Blitz '99, and with a new downloadable Blitz title coming that’s supposedly taking it back to the roots, was playing around with the idea of building myself either a minicab or just a stick using an old-school 49-way joystick. I’ve read up on the tech a fair amount, so I don’t so much need info on making them work/interfacing with them (I’ll be throwing a USB AVR at that job), but I do need to source them.

My understanding is that Happ got the license from Midway to keep producing them for replacements, but honestly $84 (the direct price) was a little more than I wanted to invest in just one part of what’s effectively a dumb little project. Has anyone seen any of these floating around/being sold on other decent parts retailers? Are there any decent knock-offs or alternatives to the Midway design (doesn’t need to be pin-compatible, just 49-way and I can take care of the rest) that can be found for cheaper? Does anyone have any other ideas for cheaper/more readily available alternatives? I’ll probably post a WTB in the Trading Outlet to see if anyone has any lying around they’d be willing to get rid of for cheap, but I figured I’d ask you guys for other ideas first. Thanks in advance!

I’m not sure how much cheaper it ends up being as a one-of, but you can certainly get 49-way out of anything that produces analog signals with a microcontroller.

Yeah, but most of the analog sticks I’ve seen have either been really expensive (even more than the 49-way), or complete garbage according to the people I’ve talked to about them. I’m effectively going to be mapping the 49-way to a pair of analog axes for the interface’s purposes anyway, so that they can be recognized by the game. If anyone knows of a good bat-top analogue joystick that can be gotten for sub-$50, I’d be willing to take a look at it, but 49-way would feel a little more authentic (even if just via placebo; the new Blitz software will likely take full-analog into account, so my end product is likely to have less resolution than the intended controller).

What’s that saying about good, cheap, and fast again? FWIW PC Joystics - the old school ones - are analog, though they’re probably mostly in the ‘suck’ category.