After I build my Atari joystick to USB conversion I saw news that the folks at Arduino seem to be stepping up their game on the same application area. With the new Arduino Leonardo board able to emulate USB keyboards and mice right out of the box, it seems the perfect time for Arduino designers to come up with a proper video game controller. This new board is called the Arduino Esplora and packs enough buttons and sensors inside to capture just about any user input you can imagine. The Esplora has onboard sound and light outputs, and several input sensors, including a joystick, a slider, a temperature sensor, an accelerometer, a microphone, and a light sensor.
These built-in sensors separate the Esplora, which is based on the Arduino Leonardo, from any previously released unit. There is also connectors for adding TinkerKit sensors to board. It seems that Arduino Esplora makes a great controller. This $54 Esplora looks like the innards of a videogame controller — it even features push-buttons and an analog joystick. Arduino’s Esplora announcement hinted at further plans too, saying an LCD screen plugin for the Esplora will be coming soon so it can be used to “create your own open-source console.” I have not tried this board, but looks interesting.