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About doubledown

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    River Patroller
  • Birthday 09/13/1976

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    My ColecoVision had a baby!
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    Toledo, OH

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  1. I've never used one of the Dominux8 joysticks. From the pictures on their website, their leaf-holders appear to be 3D printed...is that the case on the ones you guys have? The Pac-Pro joystick I have from GGG uses 3D printed leaf-holders, and one of mine already has a very small de-lamination between 2 layers.
  2. Amy, I tried to send you a PM here, but it was kicked back that you couldn't receive messages. Please get it touch with me when you have a minute.
  3. While I'm here stuck at the house, I've been going through some boxes, pulling out and playing some games I haven't played in years, and I decided to dig out one of my Roller Controllers. I can't even imagine how long it's been since I've had a Roller Controller hooked up, but after playing with it for a little bit, I decided to take it apart and clean the bearings as they weren't as smooth as they should be. But while I had it apart I was looking at everything and think I've come up with a way to improve the mechanical portion, and transplant everything into a larger aluminum Hammond enclosure which would allow for arcade quality/sized buttons, and better ergonomics. Additionally it will be possible to create a single-axis "Spinner" or "Paddle-esque" Rotary type controller for those games that it would be accurate for. So lets look at, and discuss the ColecoVision "Roller Controller" games, and a few others that fit into the mix. Please note that I am fully aware that in Joytick Mode, the Roller Controller is basically compatible with almost all games, but that's not the sort of generalized info I'm interested in here. Feel free to chime in with any missing/incorrect info: Centipede -Arcade - Trak-ball & 1 button -CV - Can use the Roller Controller in "Joystick" mode ---Note, matches the arcade counterpart, albeit only in the "Joystick" digital-pulse mode, not truly analog like the original Omega Race -Arcade - Rotary control & 2 buttons -CV - Can use the Roller Controller in "Joystick" mode ---Note, as this game only uses a single axis of the Roller Controller (x-axis, for ship rotation), it is better suited for a Rotary type controller, and thus would also properly match the arcade counterpart Slither -Arcade - Trak-ball & 2 buttons -CV - Required use of the Roller Controller in "Roller" mode ---Note, the only game in the CV library to use the true "Roller" mode, and match the controls of it's arcade counterpart Star Trek: Strategic Operations Simulator -Arcade - Rotary control & 4 buttons -CV - Can use the Roller Controller in "Joystick" mode ---Note, as this game only benefits from a single axis of the Roller Controller (x-axis, for ship rotation), it is better suited for a Rotary type controller, and thus would also properly match the arcade counterpart Victory -Arcade - Rotary control & 4 buttons -CV - Required use of the Roller Controller in "Roller" mode ---Note, as this game only uses a single axis of the Roller Controller (x-axis, for ship rotation), it is better suited for a Rotary type controller, and thus would also properly match the arcade counterpart War Games -no Arcade counterpart -CV - Can use the Roller Controller in "Joystick" mode ---Note, could make for a cool project for a large sized VVG Enhanced Controller due to the large number of buttons & keypad buttons required. Obviously it would be labeled the WOPR! Additionally I drew up the CPO for Centipede last night, the image below is a low resolution digital sample. The artwork may need to move a bit upward in the Y-axis, but I won't know that for sure until I can get the new housing, the necessary mounting hardware, and take some final measurements: But with this new discovery/concept, it really opens up the door for a few truly radical Arcade Experience Controllers to add to my collection/portfolio!
  4. Pull up a stool, and let's talk Tapper...Root Beer Tapper! A couple people have already contacted me about this one so I wanted to post the info regarding this project here in 1 place. So below is a "found" picture of the basic goal: Looks pretty simple, (1) 4-way red ball-knob joystick centered in the control panel, and (2) duplicate/ambidextrous 1-way tap-handled joysticks...what could be simpler. Complexity is not the issue unfortunately, hardware rarity is. So recently I started looking into the original hardware to determine exactly what was originally installed, and how available said components are. What I found is that the 4-way joystick is simply a standard Bally/Midway 4-way joystick (as used in Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and other Bally/Midway games of the day), and the tapper joysticks were the standard Bally/Midway 2-way Galaga joysticks, with the special Tapper molded tap-handle shafts. Surprisingly, none of this hardware is currently being reproduced, so for the ultimate in authenticity, vintage hardware would be required. Then I started looking at current pricing for said hardware, and it basically looks something like this: (1) 4-Way joystick - $50 - $75 depending on condition, may need some amount of restoration work, and/or replacement parts (2) 2-Way joysticks - $60 - $100 each, depending on condition, may need some amount of restoration work, and /or replacement parts (2) Tap handle shafts - $100 - $150 each, depending on condition So that puts the joysticks' cost alone, potentially around $500...which is simply just too damn pricey...even in my opinion. Which means comprises will have to be made and modern hardware will have to be used, fortunately I had unknowingly already started on this. Recently I started working with a modern American joystick to create a sustainable Galaga-esque simulate, which will look, and more importantly feel, more like the originals than anything else currently available on the market. This was all being done for a Galaga project that I'm working on, and then when I found out that the Tapper 1-way joysticks were just Galaga joysticks with different shafts/handles, that moved the Root Beer Tapper project closer to the forefront. With all that said, there's still more work to do with the joystick modifications, more parts to order, test and modify, so it will definitely be a while before this one is ready/available...but that's where this project stands for those that are interested. About the only other info I can provide at the moment, is that all 3 joysticks will indeed be leaf-switch joysticks, like the originals, tap handles of "similar size and shape" of the originals will be installed on the 1-ways, and a red-ball knob will be installed on the 4-way. Other than that, obviously the artwork is already done, and I'll also install a 4-position / 2-pole rotary switch for game selection wired to the P1/P2 start buttons, and a push-button switch wired to the keypad's * button to access the game's menu after your game has ended, will also be installed. I'll post updates regarding this project once I have more info...so stay tuned.
  5. Ok, so lets talk Tutankham! I'll admit, I've never played a dedicated Tutankham cabinet, and honestly before a few months ago, I don't even know how much of the ColecoVision port I ever played. It wasn't a game I had any history/memory of, so it just stayed off of my radar. But as there was some discussion about it here once I stated making larger custom controllers, I decided to look into it. The arcade cabinet used (1) 4-way WICO stick to move Archie (...the archaeologist...how adorable), (1) horizontal 2-way WICO stick to fire your laser gun (left or right), and (1) leaf-switch button for the flash bomb. As this control-scheme wasn't possible with the ColecoVision Hand Controller, it was programmed using the 8-way Control Stick to move Archie, the Left & Right fire buttons for directional firing, and both buttons pressed simultaneously for the flash bomb. There are 2 problems with this. 1) Archie doesn't respond to diagonals...so if you are moving say right, then you press up to make the next turn, but are unknowingly pressing the stick diagonally (say up/right), he won't make the turn. 2) When quickly switching between firing left, to firing right you can inadvertently set off a flash bomb when not intending to. They could have programmed a keypad button to be the flash bomb button, but I don't feel the keypad buttons are quickly found during gameplay (and apparently Parker Bros. felt the same way), or they could have programmed it for the SACs (with their 4 available buttons), but I understand why they didn't. The Intellivision version uses the 3 unique buttons found on the INTV's hand controllers, but lets face it the INTV's gameplay is a bit slow, and obviously graphically inferior to the ColecoVision version. So that brings us to now, and my quest to right the wrongs of the past, and make a proper controller for the ColecoVision port of Tutankham. Plus it gives me an excuse to finally create a twin-stick controller for the ColecoVision, which still to this day, does not have ports of Robotron: 2084, or Space Dungeon...for some crazy reason! Now this controller could be made with any joysticks capable of 4-way & 2-way operations, but I really want to make this controller, at least the first one (which will be mine), with the proper WICO joysticks. The good news is, modern WICOs are being reproduced, the bad news is, they're only available as 8-ways and 4-ways...no 2-ways. Obviously you can simply use a 4-way for the 2-way, but the stick would still be able to physically move up and down (although it wouldn't do anything extra)...which is wrong! I've been on the lookout for a while now for an original 2-way, and on my recent treasure hunt, I found one: Even though the lower base has mounting locations for all 4 leaf-switches, you only install the necessary 2, but the key is the oval-shaped restriction holes in the top and bottom of the base, which limits its movements to only horizontal or vertical, depending on its mounting orientation. So now that I have this, I'll need to get a modern 4-way WICO, and the necessary push-buttons, and I'll be able to create a perfectly "arcade accurate" Tutankham Edition - VVG Experieince Controller. That leads us to the wiring issues with the 2-way laser gun joystick, and the flash bomb push-button. On the arcade PCB, this is done as 3 separate inputs, but on the ColecoVision port it's obviously accomplished with only 2. There's no problem wiring the joystick, as it has 2 separate switches, just like the 2 separate left & right hand controller fire buttons. But the push-button for the flash bomb only has 1 set of contacts, which if wired directly would cause you to detonate a flash bomb every time you attempt to fire with the 2-way joystick (and cause other issues due to the different commons). My options were to attempt to modify the push-button so that I could install 2 switches on it (for wiring separation), or figure out a creative wiring solution. My initial wiring attempt included the addition of a few diodes, which at first glance seemed to work, but then I noticed that, as it was, the laser gun firing would win out in the event of a tie. Meaning that if you were still manipulating the firing joystick when you attempted to press the flash bomb button, no bomb would detonate, you would simply continue to fire. So I tried again, added a few more diodes...and voila, exactly the way I wanted it. Complete wiring separation of the inputs, which maintains complete functionality, and now the flash-bomb button wins out in the event of a tie with the firing joystick...huzzah! I also still need to determine how to wire the P1/P2 start buttons. I can either wire them directly to keypad buttons #3 & #6 (which gives you 3 Archies per game, as was the default setting on the arcade cabinet), or wire it through a 3-way / 2-pole rotary switch to allow for all 3 of the game menu selection options. When play testing the game, it doesn't seem any harder or easier depending on the selection, simply the difference in the number of lives you start with (the manual also makes no mention of any difficulty difference). So we'll see, I'll probably install the selection switch, as I've already done it on other controllers, and I already have it figured out. So again, current state of the world, blah, blah, blah, I'm not sure how soon it'll be before I'll be able to get this one done, but it's in the hopper.
  6. Mounting is probably the same. I just checked my GGG Pac-Pro, (which itself is a modified HAPP Ms. Pac 25th Anniversary, and that is a modified HAPP Super, and that is what yours is a copy of), and it has the standard 3.00" x 2.60" mounting. One thing to keep in mind too...if you have a wood control panel, you should theoretically get the 4" version, but if you want a lower ball knob (to more closely replicate the Bally Pac-Man joysticks), without having to drop mount the base, you could simply get the 3.5" version. Also the only difference between the 3.5" & 4" versions is the shaft (with molded ball knob), which is orderable as a replacement part. So if you weren't sure which way you wanted to go, you could buy the 3.5" stick, plus the 4" shaft and try both...just an option. Also, one thing I've been telling people about, that I have built controllers for using the WICO sticks...the sticks can feel distinctively stiff, when compared to more modern spring-centered sticks, due to their steel washer/rubber grommet centering piece. But once you realize that you only need to deflect the stick a very short distance off of center to actuate any direction (like maybe only 1/5 or less of it's total travel distance), you'll realize how sensitive and amazing they are. You're probably right about Van Van Car...I watched a gameplay video, and I can't imagine how it would be an 8-way, but KLOV has been wrong before...it says Tutankham uses 1 8-way, and 1 2-way, when in reality Tutankham in fact uses 1 4-way, and 1 2-way. Good luck, and happy gaming!
  7. One note regarding the power connection...the console connection has male pins, and the power supply's cord connector has the mating female sockets, in the molded plastic end. I have seen the female sockets on the power supply's connector "open up," over years of connecting/disconnecting, causing issues with getting a good connection. If that's the case you're having, the 2 solutions are to either replace the power supply (hopefully it's not suffering from "opened up sockets), or "fatten" the male pins on the console's connector. To "fatten" the pins, you can add solder to them, but doing this would mean that if you were to get a new power supply at a later date (without worn sockets), you would need to remove this extra solder thickness, or replace the console's connector if necessary in the future. I did this once years ago for a console I was working on for someone...and it totally worked.
  8. From your list: Mappy - 2-way horizontal Ladybug - 4-way Mr. Do! - 4-way Pac-Man, Ms., Super - 4-way Donkey Kong 1, 2, & 3 - 4-way Crush Roller - 4-way Van Van Car - 8-way (according to KLOV, I'm not familiar with this game) Pengo - 4-way Qix - 4-way Rally-X - 4-way Your're right my WICO link was incorrect, the one you linked would be correct (with a red ball, for a metal panel). So the reproduction WICOs are sold as 4-ways or 8-ways (not convertible, you have to buy the one you want as the restriction is built into the housing), with lots of different colors of ball knobs (molded to the shaft, and only replaceable as the whole shaft), and available in 3.5" and 4" versions. This has to do with the overall length of the shaft, from the bottom of the ball, to the bottom of the shaft...at the very bottom of the joystick. The 3.5" models are normally installed in thin metal panels, and the longer 4" models are installed in thicker wood panels. The extra length accounts for the extra thickness of the control panel. With a 3.5" WICO installed into a metal panel CPO, the top of the ball is approximately 2.75" above the panel, which would be about 0.625" - 0.75" taller than what an original Bally (Pac-Man) controller would be. So you can install a stack of washers (approx. 0.625" - 0.75" thick), or 0.625" - 0.75" long spacers or standoffs between the bottom of the control panel and the top of the joystick base to "drop-mount" the stick, to lower the ball to your liking...assuming you have enough depth for this. I've done this similar concept on a few of my custom controllers to match original specs when necessary. The WICO mounting bolt pattern is 2.60" x 3.00" (center-to-center of the holes), which was a standard for a long time back in the day due to WICO. Obviously you can mount it either of the 2 different 90 degree options, whereas the bolt pattern is 2.6" wide, by 3.0" high, or turn it 90, and then its 3.0" wide, by 2.6" high. The industry standard back in the day was long side, width-wise, so 3.0" wide and 2.6" high. But again I've done it both ways, depending on the controller I was building (physical limitations, artwork interference, and the likes). If mounted directly to the underside of the control panel, the mounting depth of a WICO is approximately 2.25", then obviously deeper if you drop mount it. Obviously the WICO won't "feel the same" as a Bally, but I can assure you, as it was the "defacto standard" for so many companies back in the day (except for the few who made their own like Bally, Exidy, Nintendo), it is a great joystick. Obviously so good, and so much demand that Arcade Shop went to the trouble to have them re-manufactured. The only other installation issue would be with the dust washer, should you choose to "drop-mount" a joystick. So the large plastic dust washers can be installed on top of the control panel (which will partially cover artwork, and obviously the hole the shaft is coming through), or it can be mounted below the panel (as the base of the joystick has a top recess for this option and was standard back in the day). If you drop mount the joystick, say 0.625", then the dust washer would be 0.625" below the control panel, not "just" below it as intended, leaving an unsightly hole. So in addition to your washers/standoffs/spacers used to drop the joystick base, you would need to "raise" the dust washer with a spacer of equal length. I did this for my Robotron: 2084 controller: In this instance, a metal housing which would theoretically call for a 3.5" WICO, but the original cabinet had a wood control panel and used the 4" WICOs. With the 0.5" longer shaft the "felt" leverage force is different so I drop mounted the 4" joysticks, and raised the dust washers the appropriate amount so that I could use the "arcade cabinet correct" 4" joysticks, with the dust washers properly mounted under the control panel, so that it was exactly as the arcade cabinet was...including the separation spacing. FYI Arcade Shop doesn't call out shipping costs in your cart, they calculate it when shipped/billed. For me in Ohio, its usually around $10, and shipping is normally super quick, but with the state of the world right now, I'm not sure of their status. Happy to help, and let me know if you need anything else or have any other questions. I'm always happy to talk about hardware.
  9. I'd need a list of the games to be able to tell you what games are what, but most old school maze-like games and Donkey Kongs are 4-ways, side moving shooters like Galaga, Galaxian, Space Invaders, and Joust, Mario Bros. and the likes are 2-ways, but there are plenty of vintage games that were 8-ways...Zaxxon, Venture, Super Cobra, Popeye plus lots of others. If you want one of the best 4-ways (especially for Pac-Man), you would want an original Bally 4-way, the very sticks used in Pac-Man and the likes. The other option would be a WICO 4-way...a brand used by a lot of the original arcade classics, excluding Bally, Exidy & Nintendo. Original Bally sticks sell for between $50-$100 these days depending on condition, and then depending on condition may need some clean-up, and/or replacement parts or repair. There's a few on ebay right now...here's one that looks to be in pretty good shape (note, not mine, and I don't know the seller)...LINK The WICOs are another option...a bunch of used ones on ebay, and new reproductions are currently available at Arcade Shop (one of my preferred vendors)...LINK There are also the Nintendo 4-ways, both available as used originals on ebay, and sold as new reproductions at Mike's Arcade...LINK The biggest difference between the three is what feels right to you for the game you're playing. The WICOs are a bit stiffer, Ballys/Nintendos feel softer, and the Bally & Nintendo sticks are short shafts, and smaller ball knobs, whereas the WICOs are taller and larger (but can be drop-mounted to lower the knob height). WICOs and Ballys use leaf-switches (silent, and can be adjusted for near instant actuation), Nintendos use micro-switches, so you'll hear the clicking, and if they're lever arm style micro-switches (as the Nintendos are), they can be "slightly" adjusted for actuation, but not as much as a leaf-switch. So it all ends up with the feel you want, how much you're willing to spend, and if you're capable of modifying the panel for its mounting, if the bolt-pattern is different that what you currently have (or make an adapter plate). I make lots of custom controllers for home consoles (check the link in my signature for my portfolio) and I try to use "correct" controls types when possible. I've spent as much as $125 each for 4 original Atari Gauntlet joysticks, and around $100 for an original Zaxxon joystick for a controller I'm currently working on. I've also used $25 modern Japanese candy cabinet sticks like the Seimitsu LS-32, when I have limited mounting depths. As you've obviously encountered, different joysticks definitely have different feels. Some people can't tell the difference, but true players, especially those of us old enough to have actually played the original cabinets, are a little more discriminating.
  10. Well the joystick you have linked to, is a knockoff copy of the Suzo HAPP Super joystick. Which even in the case of an original HAPP Super Joystick, is a reasonably un-remarkable joystick. The Pac-Pro from GGG is them modifying the HAPP Ms. Pac-Man 25th Anniversary reunion joystick (which in itself is a modification of HAPP's Super joystick) with leaf-switches vs. the modern micro-switches. The Pac-Pro is not a bad joystick, I feel it's a better 4-way stick vs. the starting point, the HAPP Ms. Pac-Man 25th Anniversary reunion stick, but it's not perfect...and it is not convertible to an 8-way stick. The biggest issue in my opinion with the Pac-Pro is the centering spring tension (I've read others complain about this too). On the one I have, I clipped 2.5 coils off of the spring and re-closed the end, and now it's quite a bit better. I also modified the mounting positions of the leaf-switches so that they would activate sooner off of center (making it more sensitive). All that said most aficionados will tell you that there is no great 4/8-way stick. You either have a 4-way, an 8-way, or 2 joysticks. So really, you need to decide if you can live with only a 4-way (losing 8-way game compatibility), live with an 8-way (causing issues with 4-way games), try one of the few convertible sticks (which again, are never perfect), or figure out how to mount 2 separate joysticks. So you need to figure out which route you think you want to go, then I could probably help more with a recommendation.
  11. I'll have to find a koala to get a picture with my controller once I get it finished. I'm sure the Toledo zoo has one I can likely borrow.
  12. Well played...ever the word-smith! 😁 You gotta wonder, was the koala/controller ad photo a legit picture, or was some sort of pre-Photoshop witchcraft used for its creation? Surprisingly enough, while MCA no longer exists, very similar shaped/styled joysticks are currently available from Suzo HAPP (in N.A.) and iL (in Spain). But while their joystick shafts and button plungers are nearly identical (except for how shiny the plastics are), the lower components are radically different from the MCA original, thus so are their actuation feels. Another huge benefit of the original MCA version, is that they are convertible between 8/4/2-way operations. I believe the modern Happ and iL counterparts are currently sold for use in crane/prize machines.
  13. Well since no one was able to come up with it, and I honestly didn't think anybody would...here is the "inspiration/original" joystick, which #3 is based on: Released by MCA Australia (MultiCoin Amusements, basically the back-in-the-day Australian equivalent of North America's WICO and/or HAPP)...their MCA-201. A unique 2-button controller with a top-fire, thumb button joystick (akin to the WICO Command Control joysticks), and a selector switch which can change the buttons' wiring for different applications. So like WICO with their Command Control joysticks, MCA was also an arcade component company who made a "home-use" joysticks with similar, albeit cheaper components, which were not quite as robust as their true arcade counterparts. So when I came across this joystick: ...in my recent treasure hunt, I knew I could make good use of it. The joystick pictured above is an original/legit MCA Australia "arcade-use" top-fire joystick, the original basis of their MCA-201 home-use joystick. So to go along with the joystick, and to match the color-scheme of the MCA-201 controller, I'll use 1 each, full-sized round, Red & Yellow push-buttons, and I found that Sanwa makes their smaller 24mm push-buttons in squares (as pictured above), as well as rounds, that I will use to make the keypad (again matching the red & yellow color-scheme). And as the square Sanwa buttons have an absolutely flat plunger surface, they lend themselves perfectly for directly applied identification labels, as I've already done. And as a homage to the original, there will be a 3-position switch above the keypad area, which will switch the wiring of the joystick's top-fire button to allow it to be a duplicate Left fire button, duplicate Right fire button, or off/disconnected. I always preferred to play Pitfall on my 2600 with a WICO using the thumb button! I know the joystick shaft has kind of a goofy/unique looking profile (compared to the bat handles of the WICOs), but believe me, I find it very comfortable, and I really like the larger thumb button plunger. As of now I have all of the necessary hardware and components for this one, but being on our state-wide lock-down, I can't get any time on the CNC mill at work to machine the enclosure, so it will probably be at least a couple weeks before I can finish this one up.
  14. No further guesses regarding #3? Well I can tell you the artwork is an amazing likeness of the original inspiration controller (albeit larger), so anybody who has ever seen or owned an original, should have no problem identifying it. The original controller came about in the late 80s and was advertised for Atari consoles/PCs, Amiga PCs, and Sega consoles. I've also seen several posts here on AtariAge where people have mentioned, discussed, and even shared pics of, this very controller...usually in the 2600 & 8-bit forums.
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