Were they the Microsoft Sidewinder series? If they were then they have patches to fix it.
http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/Maveric/ M.A.V.I.C. System
Asus MB, PII 266, 192 MB Ram, 6.8" LCD, 6 Disk CD-ROM, 21 Gig HD, All-in-Wonder Video w/ TV Tuner, Irman, Windows ME, Winamp, Cobra III -- All in a custom acrylic case.
http://www.mp3car.com/usersites/listings/ MP3car Listings - Please add to it! :)
The sticks still work in an old dos joystick test program (in a window no less) but no dice with Control Panel.
I'm thinking of grabbing a USB - Gameport adaptor from rat shack and giving that a try
What kind of game port are you connecting it to? I have found that several of the game ports on generic sound cards suck quite badly and just plain won't work.
Player: Pentium 166MMX, Amptron 598LMR MB w/onboard Sound, Video, LAN, 10.2 Gig Fujitsu Laptop HD, Arise 865 DC-DC Converter, Lexan Case, Custom Software w/Voice Interface, MS Access Based Playlists
Car: 1986 Mazda RX-7 Turbo (highly modded), 1978 RX-7 Beater (Dead, parting out), 2001 Honda Insight
"If one more body-kitted, cut-spring-lowered, farty-exhausted Civic revs on me at an intersection, I swear I'm going to get out of my car and cram their ridiculous double-decker aluminium wing firmly up their rump."