an arcade cabinet kit from Amazon which includes a USB encoder and map the controls in-game.
However, I don’t think I want to be limited to a pre-programmed encoder. I’d like to explore adding an accelerometer for nudge support or even a real plunger. That lead me to consider a microcontroller-based setup.
While researching how others have made their pinball controls, I came across the Teensy-based PinSim from Jeremy Williams. In this tested.com video he shows the controller he built for Pinball FX VR that is emulating an Xbox 360 controller. Since the Xbox 360 controller has analog sticks and force feedback, he was able to add a real plunger and some rumble motors to his box. It also has nudge support via an accelerometer.
I think replicating his VR controller is the perfect place to start for a controls test rig and a great beginning for the project.