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joystick durability?


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#1 eegad OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:29 PM

Back in the day, i went through many of the original Atari joysticks. Those damn white plastic inserts always cracked! After a while, they sold "repair kits" of the plastic inserts and I went through several of those as well.

A few years back, I dug out my 2600 (and 800xl), and got back into playing with my Atari's again. Had a few working joysticks, and a handful of broken ones that I'd hung onto. Maybe 2 years ago, I came across a Flashback 2 and picked that up for the hell of it. I really liked the repro joysticks...if anything they had a better feel than the originals. I opened one up and also like the redesign because it looked more durable. So the FB2 stick became the one I use.

While playing this past weekend, "CRACK"....and the stick came off in my hand...it broke off in the plastic "screw on" part. Damn!!!

And so I am wondering....what do you all feel was the most heavy-duty, durable joystick? Obviously I know other companies made Atari compatible sticks, but I never had any of those. For once and for all, I'd love to just get a joystick that can last for MANY years of play. Has anyone ever made a joystick that has a SOLID stick part, which won't crack after some use???

#2 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:33 PM

<REPEAT>

Competition Pro 5000

 

competition_pro_5000.jpg?w=283&h=300

</REPEAT>

 



#3 PingvinBlueJeans OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:54 PM

I picked up a Competition Pro recently, and frankly I'm a little disappointed with it. I prefer the Suncom TAC-2.

#4 toymailman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:56 PM

I really like the feel of the original CX-40s and I think the FB2 sticks are equally as good for the same original feel.  Additionally, I think the FB2 sticks are more responsive.  However, they do have some common failure points.

 

To get a little more life out of them I always superglue the top part of the stick to the screw part.  After that, usually the first thing that breaks is the little plastic rectangle parts that help push the switches down to make contact (shown in red).  I have found that those are not really necessary for it to work so this is generally not the end of an FB2 stick for me.  When something major finally snaps (shown in yellow) then I'm done with it.

FB2_BrokenStick2.jpg



#5 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:02 PM

I picked up a Competition Pro recently, and frankly I'm a little disappointed with it. 

What's the problem? It can't be durability.



#6 Hatta OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:06 PM

If you really want quality, build your own with arcade parts. You don't even need an encoder, just wire the switches up to the right pins.

#7 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:20 PM

The Wico sticks were all high quality. They supplied arcade cabinets too. I'm also partial to the Epyx 500XJ, it is has a much more clicky feel, but used a steel shaft.

#8 PingvinBlueJeans OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:29 PM

What's the problem? It can't be durability.


Not really a durability issue per se, I just don't like the action and overall feel of it. The stick has a certain wobble to it that irks me (unless mine is broken), and the large size of the base makes hand-held use a bit problematic. It might be more suited to table-top use, but I don't really like to play like that. The WICO "bat" model is another controller I dislike for the same reason. That was another one I had high hopes for, but was ultimately disappointed when I finally acquired one.

#9 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:22 PM

What are people doing with their CX40s that they're breaking so many of them? :?  I've never broken a CX40. And I have a favorite pair of them that I've been using for over a decade.



#10 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:37 PM

With any joystick, there's a natural feeling to get 'overexcited' with it and abuse it a bit more then it should be, without even realizing it.  It's one reason that controllers started changing to gamepads in the mid 80's.  Modern joysticks don't really have the same issues due to being high quality and more durable (as well as more expensive, but that's always the trade off.)



#11 Kyle22 ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:42 PM

Also, if you never let kids who are too little play with it, it will last much longer. :)

 

I have seen some literally chewed on.



#12 JadeETC OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 6:45 PM

I too have never broken a CX40, though I have ripped the rubber off the stick a few times.

Best option, like Hatta said, is too build your own joysticks.

#13 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 8:35 PM

I've come across many broken CX-40's over the years although to my knowledge, I've never broken one myself. I personally prefer the Wico sticks too - damn durable, I think they're made of steel.



#14 PingvinBlueJeans OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:08 PM

I personally prefer the Wico sticks too - damn durable, I think they're made of steel.


Most of the Suncom sticks used metal parts as well. (Suncom Technologies was a division of WICO.)

#15 Reaperman OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:17 PM

 I'm also partial to the Epyx 500XJ, it is has a much more clicky feel, but used a steel shaft.

When I was a kid, this was the controller that stopped the endless cycle of replacements.  Its still my first choice, and I'll take it over my competition pro which I find a bit too stiff and hard to grip.

 

The down side is that the 500xj is so tough that it's sometimes tougher than my hands are...causing those to break down a bit instead.  I'm still hunting for a replacement for my weak girl hands.  I tend to switch sides while using this controller to minimize the issue.  I actually think I'm a little better when it's in the wrong hand (thumb on fire button).


Edited by Reaperman, Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:25 PM.


#16 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 10:23 PM

Back in 1980-82, I killed an Atari joystick at least once every 6 months.  Sometimes the pads wore out, sometimes they de-laminated, sometimes the plastic shaft or legs broke.  I remember this very clearly because of how angry my father was at having to replace them.  He blamed me until finally one broke when he was using it while playing Space Invaders, a brand new joystick he had purchased only days before.  He declared that was it, that he was spending no more money on Atari crap.

 

I ended up with a ColecoVision in 1983 :D

 

I have not broken any in recent years, but I don't use them often because I prefer other sticks.



#17 KaeruYojimbo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 18, 2013 11:45 PM

I picked up a Competition Pro recently, and frankly I'm a little disappointed with it. I prefer the Suncom TAC-2.

The TAC-2 is probably my favorite video game controller ever.



#18 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:59 AM

Not really a durability issue per se, I just don't like the action and overall feel of it. The stick has a certain wobble to it that irks me (unless mine is broken), and the large size of the base makes hand-held use a bit problematic. It might be more suited to table-top use, but I don't really like to play like that. 

Never had that wobble, but I understand your ergonomic problems.

 

I used to break CX-40s, Quickshots etc. within weeks (sometimes hours!), especially when playing Decathlon (on my C64). The Competition Pro solved the problem and the last joystick I bought.



#19 karokoenig OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013 1:29 AM

There are good and bad Competitions out there. Some feel like a natural extension of your arm, some just don't feel right at all. Different microswitches, different plastic as well. Some start creaking very loudly after just a few hours, and especially the fire buttons are prone to wear down quickly - at least that happened to most of mine. The first ever model of the 5000 was built to last. I still have one from 1985 or so, and it works flawlessly.



#20 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:14 AM

Never had that wobble, but I understand your ergonomic problems.

 

I used to break CX-40s, Quickshots etc. within weeks (sometimes hours!), especially when playing Decathlon (on my C64). The Competition Pro solved the problem and the last joystick I bought.

Decathalon is probably responsible for breaking many a joystick.



#21 20ohm20 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:38 AM

The Epyx 500XJ that I received as a birthday present in '85 or '86 still works.  It's the joystick of choice on my C64.

 

I remember getting at least a few replacement CX-40's back in the day.  The only non-CX-40 joystick I ever remember having (besides the 500XJ) was an Atari Space Age Joystick, which didn't last more than three or four months.



#22 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:48 AM

The first ever model of the 5000 was built to last. I still have one from 1985 or so, and it works flawlessly.

Yup, I have two of those two. Directional micro switches but not for the fire buttons. Perfect combination!

#23 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:26 AM

Regarding the original Spectravideo Quickshot joystick, it looked way much better than it played. I agree that is one joystick which breaks simply from staring at it too long. Too bad, as it visually has a good grip. Perhaps it could be redesigned on the inside.

 

Personally, I've stuck with a Starplex controller for the past 25+ years and rebuilt it once. Perhaps it doesn't fit your bill of being a "joystick", but it works as such and I've found it originally was sold to match (?) Atari 2600 systems so it is on topic.



#24 Magic Knight OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:33 PM

Tac2 or Competition Pro for me. Although Tac2 looks much better.

The competition Pro mini is fun to have as well as its a cute smaller version!

Edit: I've never had a bust cx40 on my watch , but whenever I've got one off ebay with a system they always feel like they've only been used for decathlon in the last 30 years!

Edited by Magic Knight, Tue Nov 19, 2013 12:50 PM.


#25 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:29 PM

Weirdly, the Space Age joystick was very close to the joystick that Milton Bradley made for their MBX Expansion Unit for the TI-99/4A computer.  See the notes at http://www.videogamehouse.net/mbx.html.

 

I'd love to hear a story of how that deal came together.


Edited by bcombee, Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:30 PM.





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