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No 1 worst controller - apparently

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Also, the keypad really could add value to gaming if developers would really use it to full advantage. I could see a realtime dungeon crawl action RPG game like Dungeons of Daggorath being remade to be more complex (more items/commands that one has to use simultaneously). Not having to spelunk in menus when you're being hit is a good thing. If you're playing a wizard you could have a whole list of spells at your disposal, no menus required. So, even Final Fantasy style games could be better in realtime. The drawback of having to deal with overlays may be smaller than the advantage in these cases. But, it would take developers to develop specifically around the keypad instead of treating it like a gimmick.

 

There already are several titles that make sensible or even clever use of the keypad (Wolfenstein 3D, DOOM, Alien vs. Predator, Iron Soldier 1 & 2, Cyber- & Battlemorph, Battlesphere). I still wonder though why Atari mapped 4 and 6 to the shoulder buttons on the ProController when titles already used 7 and 9 for side views (Cybermorph) or even strafing (AvP). Even DOOM would play better on the ProController if 4, 5 and 6 were mapped to X, Y and Z respectively.

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Didn't I see somewhere here on AA the Ti joystick is the worst?

I've never used them, but they don't look worse than the CoCo. The top one looks worse, like it was designed as a tabletop joystick but is too small and light to be used that way. The button placement in particular looks awkward when held in the hand.

 

ti99_joystick_refresh_01.jpg

joystick.jpg

Edited by Justin222

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1) It was wired to the console so the thin wire problem was magnified. One Fairchild expert even felt that the company did this purposefully to get more money from repairs.

2) Using a button feature causes you to have to stop moving your player (whether you're twisting, pushing down, or pulling up).

3) The thin wire problem.

 

It's extremely limited in terms of functionality, it's unreliable, and it's very difficult/costly to repair. Those are all major strikes against it.

The thing about Fairchild hardwiring controllers to try to get more money from repairs sounds like unfounded conjecture. And it doesn't even make sense; service repairs are costly and time-consuming (I'd be stunned if they even broke even on repairs), and no company wants their product to have the reputation of a piece of junk because who wants to buy a machine they've heard has to get fixed all the time? Besides, Fairchild had the Channel F System II with removable controllers ready to go by 1978-79; why "fix" that if they thought they'd make money on repairs?

 

More conjecture here, but I'd surmise they went with "hardwired" (I use quotes because they can be removed at the board, like the Odyssey 2) controllers because it was probably cheaper, and almost every other home video game out there at the time had them hardwired (excluding, conspicuously, the first Odyssey), so it maybe wasn't considered a big deal at the time.

 

Limited in functionality? Maybe, maybe not. For a 1976 system I say "not." And Channel F games are limited in their own functionality anyway. They go well together. And since you won't be using them on any other platform (Zircon Video Command notwithstanding), that's all that matters.

 

(These controllers ARE a bitch to fix, though, I'll grant that.)

 

"The Atari 5200 controller is great when it works, but that's the hitch right there. The Atari 7800 controller addressed several problems with the 5200 design but created a few more serious ones of its own."

 

Really? I found the 7800 controller much better. It wasn't as good as a NES pad but I didn't have any serious problems with it.

Yes, really. The 5200 controller has a very deluxe feel, and its smooth analog joystick doesn't create a torque effect when you move it like the 7800 ProLine does. And the 5200's fire buttons are located on the same side of the controller, which again is FAR easier on the wrist. The 5200 controller isn't perfect; it could have used a better circuit, solid plastic buttons, and maybe centering toggle for the joystick. But it isn't the pain in the wrist the ProLine joystick is. There's a reason everybody just uses 2600 joysticks instead, or tries to get the "Europad," or builds their own homebrew arcade stick (or buys one of the handful currently being sold).

 

But then, that's just me.

 

"The Intellivision controller must be one of those things where you either love it or hate it...though 'love' is a strong word here; it's not a 'great' controller but I've never had problems with it or the Intellivision II version. At least the fire buttons are on the same side, unlike the 7800 and Coleco controllers."

 

In comparison with the Jaguar controller it's truly poor. It's also significantly worse than the Coleco and 7800 controllers because of the disc and the tiny hard buttons. It's also hard to hold because it's thin and, as I recall, its coiled cord pulls it away from the player. It was a controller that I wanted to like because it looked nice.

Why is the disc so bad? It provides for relatively fluid movement, it's easy to use (unlike Coleco) because you don't have both hands working against each other, and it doesn't destroy your wrist (unlike 7800). Fire buttons aren't great, though, I'm with you there, but again, at least they're on the same side of the controller. I'd go Intellivision > Coleco > 7800 here, but this is definitely one of those "to each his own" areas. What's also definite is that since there valid arguments for either of these controllers being better than the others, none can really be considered the "worst ever." ;) (Although I really do hate the ProLine. :D)

 

"As I said in another thread recently (I forget which; too lazy to look/link), the standard Color Computer joystick comes to mind as objectively one of the worst controllers. It's good for the kinds of games you'd use a mouse, trakball, or paddle for -- early games like Polaris, Clowns & Balloons, Popcorn, and Project Nebula make great use of the CoCo joystick -- but it's horrible for everything else, especially games from ~1982-83 on when most CoCo games were designed with digital movement in mind. Many games are literally unplayable with the standard Color Computer joystick, and it makes many others really hard to play."

 

I didn't know anyone else recognized the CoCo joystick as being the worst ever. Props.

My feeling is that anyone who says another controller is the worst (of all stock/standard controllers) has never experienced the Color Computer joystick. After that, I don't see how anyone COULD say another controller is worse.

 

It's kind of funny because it doesn't have a lot of the problems I knock other controllers for. At the very least, it's quite comfortable even despite the button being on the front face and the cord sticking out of the side. It causes no hand fatigue. And I kind of like that it's analog, I feel it lends the sophistication that separated computers from game consoles in the early days, and how it could be applied to other applications, etc. The only real problem (and it's a BIG one) is that it fails, even on the most basic levels, in the one thing a game controller is expected to do: control games.

 

Now, like I mentioned, there were some well-designed games in the Color Computer's early years that used the free-floating joystick to great effect, or at least adequate effect, so it isn't ALL bad. And there were other games that employed unnecessarily convoluted joy+keyboard and joy+joy control schemes (welcome to the CoCo...) where the joystick alone may have been a wiser choice. But there are so many other games -- good games, too; Stellar Lifeline, Microbes, and Demolition Derby come to mind -- that are simply unplayble with the Color Computer joystick. It's like driving on ice with bald tires. Thank god/Tandy/Kraft for the Deluxe Joystick and keyboard control.

 

But since the Color Computer joystick is at least good with *some* games...are there any stock controllers out there that aren't good for *any* games? Until then, the CoCo joystick -- it grieves me to say -- has to be the worst.

Edited by BassGuitari

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Didn't I see somewhere here on AA the Ti joystick is the worst?

Yes, you did. It's not true, though, although it IS kind of bad.

 

I've never used them, but they don't look worse than the CoCo. The top one looks worse, like it was designed as a tabletop joystick but is too small and light to be used that way. The button placement in particular looks awkward when held in the hand.

Oh, they're definitely handheld; you're right about these things being way too small and light to be anything but handheld. Besides, the bottom edges are curved (ergonomics!), so it would probably roll and twist on you with lateral stick movement. In fact, it does that in your hand anyway, thanks in no small part to the stiff joystick. Like the 7800 joystick, this thing's a bit of a hand cramper. Long, narrow "TV Remote" design + fairly tall joystick = Carpal Tunnel City. There's no tactile feedback whatsoever, but it is responsive (ditto for the fire button). And most TI games play well with it, so that's a big leg up on the Color Computer joystick.

 

That second set of ball-top joysticks came out in 1979 with the TI99/4 (before the 4A) and are supposedly more comfortable, but I've never used one.

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It's not without it's sins, but have large hands, i've always gotten on fine with the Jaguar controller and indeed the otriginal Xbox pad (was'nt so keen on the S-Controller though).N64 pad i was'nt so keen on.

Whilst it has been the object of ridicule by the media for as long as i can recal (just like the CD-Drive, OMG it looks like a loo seat, guffaw etc), i can see the reasoning behind the numeric pad.
If you were looking to get 'sims' converted to your platform from PC/Amiga/ST (ie things like TFX, Gunship 2000, Falcon etc) then your going to 'welcome' something like the numeric pad.
But it's easier to rage or bring the hate in videos etc like this than simply say we can see the reasoning behind it, but it'd of been better if.....

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My feeling is that anyone who says another controller is the worst (of all stock/standard controllers) has never experienced the Color Computer joystick. After that, I don't see how anyone COULD say another controller is worse.

Basically this. The only exception is if someone wants to exclude computers from their list. But, if you're going to bring in the U-Force, Power Glove, and the like then you should at least consider standard controllers for home computers.

 

"Why is the disc so bad?"

 

It's not precise. It's difficult to get it to go in the proper direction. It's also not ergonomic. It's also slow in terms of response.

 

As for the 5200 joystick, the mushy tiny side buttons are more of a hindrance than the 7800's large buttons are, regardess of where they're mounted. I will also pick the 7800 controller over the Intellivision any day, in part because its buttons were much larger and thus easier to press. The joystick is also better than the disc and there is no coiled cord to deal with.

 

The Fairchild shouldn't have been designed with such thin gauge wire. That's what causes the "up" direction to fail. It happened on my console and I took care of it. When I started reading about the problem on the Net I saw that it's widespread and due to the use of very thin wire. This is a severe design flaw, particularly for a hard-wired controller and a system where the first controller was required for some games, so moving to the second one (which was less likely to be broken) was not an option. Even in 1976 it would have made sense to use thicker wire to avoid the issue, especially for a system that lavishly used a zero insertion force cartridge mechanism.

Edited by Justin222

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I find that the Intellivision controller is okay for some games, especially strategy or sports where you make slow, deliberate decisions, but need a multiple of input choices. A game where it works well is Night Stalker. You move slowly and carefully through the maze, using the disc for direction and the number pad to aim your shots. The aggravating side buttons are ignored.

 

No, the 5200 controller is much, much worse - and the bloody thing breaks easily to boot. At least the Intellivision Controllers are relatively simple and reliable.

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I find that the Intellivision controller is okay for some games, especially strategy or sports where you make slow, deliberate decisions, but need a multiple of input choices.

Utopia is another great use of the INTV controller.

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Sneak peak quote from the latest interview i've just done, but seems a few of those involved at 'ground level' with Jaguar Game Development were'nt keen on the pad:

' I was never a big fan of the controller. (As I recall I don't think most of us were.) While I think the keyapad was ok, I think in theory it sounded better than actual execution. I would have preferred something more conventional with 6 buttons like the SNES or Genesis, so that more fighting games could have been created.'

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The Jaguar controller is far from the worst controller, for sure. Its very comfortable, ergonomic, buttons laid out well and if a overlay is used the keypad isn't bad to use once you get used to the button position for the game your playing. Now the Nintendo NES was an uncomfortable controller ;)

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I've never used them, but they don't look worse than the CoCo. The top one looks worse, like it was designed as a tabletop joystick but is too small and light to be used that way. The button placement in particular looks awkward when held in the hand.

 

ti99_joystick_refresh_01.jpg

joystick.jpg

 

The TI sticks are horrendous. Even as a 7 year old, I preferred playing Munch Man, Parsec, etc... with the keyboard because they were so stiff and unresponsive. They're the only controllers I've ever truly hated.

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The Jaguar controller is far from the worst controller, for sure. Its very comfortable, ergonomic, buttons laid out well and if a overlay is used the keypad isn't bad to use once you get used to the button position for the game your playing. Now the Nintendo NES was an uncomfortable controller ;)

The only drawback about the original NES controllers was the square corners cut into your hands and caused cramps after several hours of playing....a flaw that the dogbone controllers fixed, and that's one of my favorite controllers of all time. I also have small hands, which is why I really love the Xbox S controllers and Xbox 360 ones.

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