The best thing to happen would be for a retrofit kit that would replace the flex circuit with thin interconnected PCBs that then used dome switches for all of the buttons. That would be better - in terms of longevity and actual cost - than Best Electronics' expensive gold kits or trying to tinfoil it up after giving everything the heavy-duty pencil eraser duty.
There's people in the 7800 section creating 7800-compatible PCB replacements for NES gamepads and other controllers. It shouldn't take much more effort to replace the CX52 Flex Circuit with a modern solution like those.
And then use something like a PS2 or Xbox thumbstick component that could output [whatever POT value is needed] from the POT to replace the non-centering 5200 joystick portion of the CX52. But the PCB replacement itself would be useful whether one wanted to use the CX52 for a joystick, a paddle, or a spinner.
Edited by Lynxpro, Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:29 PM.