Wish I knew about teensy before getting my “pro micro.” All dem analog pins… I’ll have to try one once I’m done with my power glove project.
Since OP made a call out for people who have tried going this route, I’ll share my experience. I too was new to arduino and didn’t realize the difference a micro controller could make. For my arcade stick that used an UNO and had a very ambitious lighting feature, I didn’t have enough pins left to control the actual functions of the controller. So I stuck a ZDencoder in there to work along side the UNO and issue commands while the uno lit stuff up. Despite the extremely small number of LEDs for the project (nine), the UNO wasn’t working right. While the ZD encoder was always reading my button inputs perfectly, the UNO was not happy running on slightly less power than what the USB port could deliver. Anything that caused more than five LEDs to turn on at once forced the UNO to turn off long enough to reset, at which point the lights didn’t work for a full 2 seconds and would continue to reset in this manner. I solved the problem by making it so that no more than four lights could be on at one time.
The lesson to be learned here is that the UNO consumes quite a bit of power, and should be the only PCB in your arcade stick if that’s the route you want to go. I strongly recommend using something other than an UNO for one’s first attempt at an arcade stick. While reading button inputs and lighting up LEDs should be fairly easy, turning those button presses into something the computer can read is not.
Furthermore, getting the arcade stick to react to something going on in the game itself would require unfathomable software wizardry, regardless of the PCB used. You’d need the micro controller to read the code the game is writing so that it can “see” when you are getting hit. The only other solution I can think of is to have the micro controller listen for the sound of a scored hit and react accordingly. The only other method I can think of is to somehow tap into the rumble function on console games and run a light sequence instead. all of these methods are far outside my area of expertise, and you will have to do your own research if you wish to explore them further.
Seriously though. get a different micro controller. you’ll find other uses for that UNO that it actually lends itself towards.