So, first I bought some cheap "rf links" 433 mhz pairs. I tried a variety of sample codes from a variety of places, and in truth I feel like it could still work, but never managed to make a useable link that would send joystick data. I want full interger "resolution", and although there are samples of such sensor data begin sent from lots of forums, I never made it work.
THEN, I bought some nRF42L01 units, and there are a lot more examples,,, and I used the basic examples presented on the arduino wikias linked from arduino.cc. (the one that looks like notebook paper).. They are working right away, and there is also a separate advantage to them, they have an onboard data buffer which recieves the transmission, and then makes the data available to the arduino as the arduino loops to check the nrf's memory. The little rf links relied on the arduino to loop,, and I just imagine that it makes extra delay as the arduino would have to collect each transmission while the rest of the program waited. (I could be just imagining things, because data travels so quickly, ).
I haven't tried to interpret the samples into any of my experiments, but I did think it was a worthy note to make that I found a wireless link that will work. (I struggled with the wire library as well, and the wire library seems interestingly more difficult to use for this kind of sensor information exchange than the nrf24L01).