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I know that this may cultivate a divisive discussion around here--the old ​ColecoVision was meant to be played with its native controllers argument. I've paid attention to that argument, and I've seen the truth in it! Especially with the ball-knob enhancement.

 

But now, finally having a drop-in PCB for the Famicom NTT Data controller, there is at long last a compete solution in using a fantastic D-Pad type controller for the ColecoVision!! This was a quiet little release by atariguy1021, but I hope to keep the torch burning in support of this killer homebrew product. Thanks goes to him for his fantastic work!

 

I'd like to add that I was a fortunate kid, in that I grew up in the 70s and 80s, loving video games throughout the decades. After the U.S. market went bust and 2 years of home computing went by, the NES came on the scene and the rest is history. With that, I'm skilled and fluent in both traditional controllers ("Joysticks") as well as D-Pads. For certain game programming the pad just feels right!

 

...So here is a short list of some games and gameplay that I've tested with my new ColecoVision Super +Control Pad™ :grin: Please feel free to add opinions, write-ups, and reviews of your experiences, likes, and dislikes to this list.

 

 

Games that Play Better with the Control Pad:

A. ) Classic games:
  • Lady Bug - can move around corners much easier, but the game mechanics put in place by the programmers are still prohibitive.
  • Buck Rogers - maneuver your ship with ease. Can blast saucers with less effort and far better gliding skill.
  • Gyruss - this game was designed to use the D pad. Gameplay is now utterly phenomenal, fully playable, and you'll go much farther if you're an experienced "pad professional".
  • Looping - Another game where the D-pad breathes new life into it. Maneuver your airplane with ease. Was able to get to the "End" for the first time!
  • Omega Race - I could go either way on this one, but the pad does help with fluidity in the movement of your ship.
  • Spy Hunter: much more fluidity and the super action controls are much easier to use on the pad.
  • Root Beer Tapper: so much easier, it makes for championship game play. Must play on skill level four!
  • Montezuma's Revenge - A great example of what the pad can do with rigid game mechanics. At the risk of overemphasizing, plays far more like Super Mario Bros. (without the jumping mechanics of course)
  • Star Wars - plays better, but this would do well with a game hack. Ultimately this game needs smoother controls, and up and down directionals could be (re-) reversed. [Also a hack of the music to be louder and multi-tonal would be awesome!]
  • Burgertime: much better gameplay--just like with Lady Bug--eliminates the rigidity of turning corners, etc.
B.) Modern games:
  • Wonder Boy: allows the game to be actually playable. I'm pretty sure this game was meant for a pad because it was designed for the Sega SG series of gaming consoles. Much better control over your character and better maneuverability.
  • Twin Bee - Along with Star Force, these vertical scrolling shooters were meant for the pad. Much better maneuverability and control over your ship, and much more fluidity when it comes to fire power.
  • Mario Bros. - another game where you could truly go either way with the controllers, but the pad gives it that classic Nintendo feel. More like playing it on the GameBoy.
  • Star Force - Very similar to TwinBee in its ship's control improvement.
  • Road Fighter - Level mastering freedom! Way easier to maneuver your vehicle and pass levels.
  • Ms. Pac-Man - Again, this one could go either way. Depends on your preference, I think. With your thumb on the pad, you'll have to lift it a bit (rather than rock the pad with your thumb), in order to precisely press each direction.
  • Joust (Team Pixelboy release) - Amazing improvement! Excellent fluidity and control. I could play this one for hours vice using the standard controller.
These are just a few games that I've had the chance to experience since I got my Super +Control Pad put together last night. I know there are many more experiences out there, so again, let's hear yours!
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I picked up one of atariguy1021 Super Famicom NTT controllers and I love it! I do admit that I'm guilty of playing most of my ColecoVision games up until I got the SFC controller with a Nintendo NES D-Pad and I agree, so many games just play so much better with a controller like that. Off the top of my head, to add to that list:

 

Mouse Trap - This was the first game I tried with the SFC NTT controller and it worked AWESOME!!! It took me a few tries to get used to pressing the buttons for the gates, but I was able to navigate around the screen so much easier.

Burgertime/Lady Bug - While on the list above, I just have to second how much better they are to play with a D-Pad.

Bagman - Have very few issues with getting on/off ladders using a D-Pad with that game.

Space Panic - Again, just much easier navigating the board only using the D-Pad.

Goonies - Basically, any game with ladders...much easier! lol

 

I'm gonna have to try more shooters with it. Never thought about how much better they could control. And yes, while I fully can appreciate the ​ColecoVision was meant to be played with its native controllers argument I do have to wonder if game pads had been introduced just a few years earlier if we'd have seen one for the ColecoVision.

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Finally got a chance to try out Zanac today with the SCP. This is one game that has impressed me with its super game play, AI, and scrolling capabilities! For some reason I've had trouble dumping the ROM, so I had to dig out the cartridge.

 

This is another of those modern ports that was intended to use the D-Pad controller. Your ship glides much better, yielding superior control. Firing is easier with your thumb able to press both buttons at once--or, use the R-button for the secondary weapon. I've gotten much farther along in this game just by switching up to the D-Pad, and I look forward to setting aside some time for a long play!

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The PCB will drop into something that looks like this:

Unknown-1_zps9vieoyj0.jpeg

 

It has the all the buttons you could want, Y and X (the green and blue buttons) are matched to super action buttons #3 and #4.

B and A (yellow and red buttons) along with the shoulder buttons are mapped to the Colecovision's left and right buttons. It has everything you need but the spinner wheel.

 

Then there is the Famicom Network Controller which looks like this:

Unknown_zpsd6ysonwr.jpeg

 

This PCB is being developed by Atariguy1021.

All of the Super Action Buttons will be mapped to this controller as well. The best thing about this deign is that the surface is a sticker, so it could be replaced with a ColecoVision style sticker.

 

You can also use a 7800 europad for some home-brew games:

atari_7800pal_controller_1_zpsmhu9aomb.j

 

The problem with this controller is that you can't use it on Parker Brothers games (unless you had a champ adaptor, then you get into the differences between two button and one button Champ adaptors).

 

...and why would you want a d-pad that doesn't work on Montezuma' s Revenge?

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Adding:

 

  • Gradius (Opcode Games) - While a full arcade quality stick might kick total butt with this game, the D-pad and two thumbed buttons carry the console port of this game through as it was on the NES. I don't know what controller folks use(d) with the MSX back in the day, but the modded ball-knob Coleco stick is clearly more difficult when it comes to snagging those power-ups with quick precision!

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