Recently I found an old Xbox controller in my projects bin. Not having an Xbox, I decided to do something that was last popular five years ago: make it work with USB.
Tinned and ready to go. Xbox controler cable on the left, USB + heat shrink tubing on the right.
For those of you playing at home, the Xbox controller is already a USB device. All you have to do is lop the existing end of the cable off, put the end of a standard USB cord onto it, and you're done! The wires inside of my cord and controller were even color coded correctly, so all I had to do was match colors. There will be one extra wire coming from the controller, ignore it.
Soldered and shrink-tubed, if you were particular about things you could replace the shielding, but I didn't feel the need to.
I installed the XBCD drivers, plugged the controller in and all the functions were recognized. Since then I've been using it to control Orbiter, for which the controller works fine, but my reentry skills seem to leave a lot to be desired. So far all my attempts have been more meteor than space shuttle.