The Arduboy is a wonderful little open-source, Arduino-based, pocket-sized game machine -- but what if you want to use a full-sized joystick and buttons with it? You can, and it's surprisingly easy!! 

I wanted to do this for fun, and to play the great Space Invaders-like game Picovaders. But you can also use these techniques in assistive technology to make the Arduboy accessible to people who have limited/impaired use of their thumbs for fine motor control. All sorts of buttons and switches can be substituted for the on-board controls.

Parts & Materials

Here's what you'll need to add a joystick and two buttons to the Arduboy:

1 x Arduboy
Pocket-sized, open source game system
1 x Arcade Joystick
Snappy eight-way joystick with microswitches
1 x Arcade Button - red
30mm Translucent

You'll also want a box of some kind for your enclosure/stand. This can be a cigar box, as shown here, a cardboard box, or maybe you'll make your own design for 3D printing, laser cutting, or CNC milling!


  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Small Philips screwdriver
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Drill with three bits sized:
    • 1-1/4" Forstner bit for buttons
    • 3/8" drill bit for joystick shaft
    • 5/32" drill bit for joystick screw mounts
  • Two M4 screws and nuts to secure joystick
  • Utility knife
  • Chisel (optional for making wiring stand hole)
  • Scrap wood and wood glue (optional for making Arduboy dock/stand)
This guide was first published on Nov 15, 2017. It was last updated on Nov 15, 2017.
This page (Overview) was last updated on Sep 30, 2020.