X-Arcade Tankstick + Trackball Review – A classic joystick

Posted on Jan 5 2012 - 1:16am by Jeffrey L. Wilson

xarcade X Arcade Tankstick + Trackball Review   A classic joystick

New 2D X Excellence Award X Arcade Tankstick + Trackball Review   A classic joystickThe job of the professional reviewer is to provide a fair and balanced assessment of a product, even on the occasion when the examiner encounters an item that excels on every front, making it a tad difficult not to gush. The X-Arcade Tankstick + Trackball is one such item.

Measuring nearly 28 inches wide and tipping the scales at 15 pounds, the $200 X-Arcade Tankstick certainly lives up to its moniker. It’s a beast of an input device — calling it a controller is an insult — that simply oozes quality and excellence.  Because of its girth, the Tankstick + Trackball is designed to be placed on a tabletop; it’s a little too heavy and wide for lap use. X-Arcade crafted the Tankstick + Trackball from authentic arcade parts, which you can feel; the stick resistance and tactile feedback from the buttons will take any gamer old enough to remember the bustling arcade scene of the ’80s and ’90s back to those golden years.  I would’ve liked the joystick to be a bit stiffer — I like the stiff sticks — but it’s not bad by any means.


It’s more than just Tankstick + Trackball’s feel that elevates it over the competition.  Between the twin joysticks (which brings the magic back to two-player fighting games), the abundance of buttons, and trackball, it resembles a mecha guidance system. There are eight buttons (six of which are in the familiar Street Fighter II layout — perfect for six button fighters) to the right of each joystick, two additional buttons south of those, a trackball in the middle, pinball buttons 0n the sides, a trackball lock button on the back, and 1P and 2P start buttons. Basically, you can use the Tankstick  + Trackball with nearly any genre.

X-Arcade includes the Atari Anniversary Edition and Midway PC Game Bundle to get you started, and once you play Smash TV with this puppy, say night-night to your remaining waking hours. Pulling off combos and supers in Garou: Mark of the Wolves is absolutely effortless, and if you’re a GameTap user, you can program the beast to work with that service.

Also boxed with the Tankstick + Trackball are cables for connecting it to a Linux, Mac or PC computer, and its fully compatible with MAME. But don’t fret, the joystick works with consoles; you can purchase $20 adapters for the Dreamcast, PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox, Xbox 360, GameCube, and Wii. Very cool, as the X-Arcade suddenly becomes backwards compatible with older systems, and holds the promise of being compatible with the inevitable PlayStation 4 and Xbox 720. In other words, your investment goes a long, long way.

The X-Arcade Tankstick + Trackball is a man’s joystick that can withstand pretty much any abuse you toss its way. After several days of using it, I can see it being an active part of my gaming universe, outlasting many of the consoles to come. There’s a high price of entry for sure, but the usability and quality is well worth every dollar.


You can purchase X-Arcade Tankstick X Arcade Tankstick + Trackball Review   A classic joystick at Amazon for $199.

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Jeffrey L. Wilson is the former Big Boss of 2D-X.com. Now retired, he spends his days as a man of leisure. Kinda.

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  • http://wingdamage.com mainfinger

    I’ve had the dual arcade stick (no trackball) for 5 or 6 years now and it still is working perfectly. I love that thing. I’ve used it on several systems thanks to the adapters. Its a great piece of hardware.

  • http://www.2d-x.com Jeffrey L. Wilson

    It’s a fine stick. How do you like it in comparison to, say, a MadCatz?

  • http://wingdamage.com mainfinger

    I actually prefer the X-Arcade. But it’s a matter of preference. Some people enjoy the more rigid hex or even square boxes, but I don’t. The X-Arcade’s stick rotation is smooth like butter and I love it for it.

  • Anonymous

    Got this controller (Tankstick with the trackball and all) last year and I love it.

    Haven’t used any of the competitors.. frankly didn’t know many of them existed before buying the one from X-Gaming, but I was sold on their obvious build quality and genuine arcade style buttons, joysticks and other components plus the ability to use it on a bunch of different consoles if I ever wanted to.  Seemed like a good outfit all around.

    Here’s a page showing some of the competitors.  It only convinced me that I made a good choice.  More buttons, not huge, not too ugly.  I can’t image having that huge one in my living room.  The tankstick is already pretty huge.
    http://arcadecontrols.com/reviews/slikstik.shtml 

    • http://www.2D-X.com Jeffrey L. Wilson

      I agreed–it’s an awesome stick. Which systems do you use it with, sir? I love how they support damn near every popular system.

      • Anonymous

        I have a little Dell Zino HD HTPC hooked up to a 47″ Vizio TV in the living room.  Technically we have an Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2, Wii and Dreamcast laying around but..  hah.   I really mostly just use it on MAME and a couple other emulators.  Gone through a few MAME front-ends and haven’t been super impressed so far, but just started playing with Hyperspin, which seems to be everyone’s favorite, so we’ll see how that goes.

        It’s nice that you can use the tankstick’s track ball as a mouse by default.  Makes minor navigation and app launching pretty easy without having to dig out the keyboard and/or mouse.

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