In August 2022, I built my greatest arcade stick, the BULLET SYSTEM STICK, and it quickly became my favorite of the sticks I've put together over the many years I've been doing this. It's a big beast of a stick, a solid box of metal and wires and controls, and my personal homage to arcade panel design. It's also something I've tinkered with since, somewhat compromising one part of the design in favor of another.

Getting Into It

Profile of the BSS, with red components and arcade-y line art
The face of the stick, showcasing the art and component colors.

First off, the basics. Current state in bold, older elements in sub-bullets:

Top of the BSS, at an angle, showing connections
The top of the stick, with rocker switches and connections. I have since mounted the etherCON internally.

How It's Changed

The photos to the right are all from the original September 2022 build of the stick, with the Brook components listed above. In May 2023, I started contributing to the GP2040-CE project thanks to owning a different controller running it, which quickly turned into me buying a breakout board, intending to put it into a new stick. However, when assembling that new stick, I was already so enamored with the board that I decided to put it into my main stick instead.

I kept the etherCON connection point, despite the new board taking USB-C instead of RJ45 like the Retro Board, entirely because it looked cool, so I wired up a USB cable compatible with my existing cables and soldered the USB header onto the RP2040 breakout board in order to not change that. The etherCON connection is just so damn satisfying.

The wiring was more complex in the original build, as certain components had to be wired in parallel to both Brook boards in order for them to function on either. With switching to one board, that is no longer a concern; instead, I wired separate button harnesses for the directional buttons in order to assign them to the option headers on RP2040 board.

Cool English you'd see on something from a non-native designer, plus also song titles!


The highlight of this arcade stick, aside from the design that I am obviously proud of, is the GP2040-CE firmware that powers it. It features sub-millisecond response times, targets a number of boards based on the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, targets many prominent consoles/devices, and is MIT-licensed. It's pretty cool, and yes, I am a contributor.

Some of the neat features of the firmware, and other hacks I'm able to accomplish:

"BULLET SYSTEM STICK" in katakana, with some logos
I'll have to figure out how to remove the now-embarrassing Brook logo.

So now I can target most of the consoles and devices I care about (SNES, NES, and PS5 all need adapters, no big deal) with my primary stick, and get an awesome amount of open source customization and community focus at the same time! And yes, I do not fear the CapCops — I plan on adding more hacks and interesting tricks as time goes on.

I really recommend everyone interested in the hobby check out the GP2040-CE project (linked here one last time) — they're doing a great, and truly open, thing for the community, and soon the breakout board will also be open sourced for anyone to fabricate. First class arcade sticks for all!

The Debut and Future

This stick will be making its first appearance at COMBO BREAKER 2023, which as it turns out, I am exceptionally excited for. Beyond that, I don't really foresee changing this stick again, though who knows what will come in the future. Maybe I'll come up with some future GP2040-CE enhancement that will make me change the wiring or button panel or yada yada yada…