Recently I read an article entitled The Death of the Joystick. I have to say that it greatly saddened me, as i was an avid flight/space-simulator gamer in the mid to late-1990s.
Our main joystick at home was the Microsoft 3D Pro, and for all intents and purposes it is/was a fantastic joystick. To this day it has never died, and I only use past tense because Microsoft have stopped updating its drivers, and computers have mostly stopped using the old serial and 'game' ports that the joystick used.
I remember wasting many hours using that joystick playing all the Wing Commander games as well as all the Star Wars ones: X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter, X-Wing Alliance, etc.
For some reason though games just aren't made any more that require a joystick. At least for the time-being, flight/space-simulators seem to have gone the way of the Dinsosaur, with the only exception being Microsoft's Flight Simulator series. Most say that these type of games moved away from PCs onto the consoles, but as with First Person Shooters and Real-Time Strategy games, i really think the experience of playing these games on a console is significantly inferior to that of a PC in terms of the controls, in this case a joystick.
I'm seriously considering buying a new joystick (if i can find a place that still sells them) and seeing if it'll play my old games on Windows Vista.