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mikey.shake

Competition Pro / New 5200 Owner Thoughts

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Hi everyone!

 

I've recently jumped in to the 5200 not to collect it, but because I like to play that era's games, and it seemed to be in my sweet spot. I had a little trouble getting things hooked up (bad switchbox, etc), but once it was playing, it's been a delight. (More on that in this other thread.). I cleaned up the stock controllers, and with some double-sided tape and foil, have brought them back from the dead, working about as well as I could imagine they would for the time being (quickly responsive, not a lot of pressure needed, etc). I have plans to get some gold flex circuits from Best (or OEM replacements if I need a quick fix), but my bank account is telling me to tighten the reins, so since things work well for now, I'm going to stick with what I've got.

 

But.. I was lucky enough this week to be browsing a good vintage clothing/games shop in town, and happened upon a Competition Pro digital stick. I knew what I was looking for, because everything I've read says that the CP or the Wico stick are the top choices for this system. I've played that Wico once before and liked it, but I have to say that the CP is really doing everything I would have needed a 3rd party stick to do, and I like that it's a digital alternative. It's completely saved Pengo for me, and made Mario Bros and Joust play like new games. My only minor complaint is that the "upper" fire button can be tricky to hit in some games, but frankly it's not a big enough deal to worry about. The two-button games I've played aren't too bad on the stock stick.

 

However, that said, the Competition Pro is a godsend. Spoiled by CX-10s, it took a Wico Command Bat (for the 2600) for me to come around to the possibility of "truly great third party sticks", but I'm now hooked. The fact that the Comp Pro has the built-in Y-cable was a saver, too -- so I didn't have to worry about finding the detachable one with a Wico. Next up, I want to find/build a "button box" that can replace the CX-52 attached to the CP right now. A number pad and control buttons, no stick or pass-through port necessary. I've had a couple hiccups with the CX-52 stick not being centered, etc., and that seems like a way around that problem.

 

unnamed.jpg

 

I definitely think the CX-52 gets a bad rap, even though I'll be the first to line up and say it's got lots of problems, based on my limited experience. But there aren't any games I yet own that are unplayable on it (though Pengo gets pretty tricky), and I get why they did what they did with their design -- pretty much to "one up" the INTV controllers and maybe the Coleco. I understand why some games (Missile Command, Super Breakout) would be preferable with the analog (or likely the elusive trackball), but I'll get to those when I get to those.

 

Overall, I'm finding that I like the 5200 a LOT more than I expected to. The complaint that "it's the same games as the 2600 with only minor upgrades" seems like it's more than a little bunk. These are really good arcade game ports. And if I were playing the 2600 back in the day as the "home version" of the games I love so much, I'd certainly be tempted by the 5200. (Though I'm one of those people for whom the home versions have their own unique charm.) Frankly, I got a 7800 in the same deal as the 5200, and while I thought I'd be more drawn to that, IT'S the one I'd lodge that complaint against: "Same games, nicer graphics, so what?" (No disrespect to 7800 fans. I haven't dug into the catalog much yet.) But I feel like the 5200's main competitors were other systems with contemporary arcade game ports, so I think it's fair to measure it by that standard. And I think it does a really nice job.

 

In addition to my original pickups (Mario Bros, Q*Bert, Centipede, and Pengo), I've since grabbed Joust, Defender, and Berzerk. Joust wasn't quite the upgrade I was expecting from the 2600 port. It looks great, and I don't have much experience with the arcade version since about '87, but it was nice. However, Defender is amazing. It plays so smoothly with the analog stick and the button placement is just about right. It's just too hard for me, but I'm working on it. Berzerk is about as good as I could imagine a 1983 cart being. The voice and all the gameplay are there, and while I've been spoiled by the Berzerk VE hack for the 2600, this is now my preferred version. Mrs. Shake's, too. She's been lingering in my office a lot more lately to get her hands on the 5200. And she's quoting the robots more often than ever.

 

It's a great system, I'm very glad I got it, and thanks to this forum for all the helpful info and suggestion. Oh, and Mrs. S and I put up a warning on my office door, lest anyone get too comfortable:

 

unnamed-1.jpg

Edited by mikey.shake
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you can make a spiffy dongle if you have the minimal rudementary soldering or wiring skills and not use a 5200 joystick

 

depending on if you need the full keypad or just a start button

 

you can use a thing like this

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/D-SUB-DB15-2Row-15Pin-Female-Plug-Breakout-Board-Terminals-Connectors-MA-/111986725552

 

two 240k resistors (one pin 9 to10 the other 9 to11and a momentary pushbutton(for start 4 to 7)

Edited by bohoki
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you can make a spiffy dongle if you have the minimal rudementary soldering or wiring skills and not use a 5200 joystick

 

depending on if you need the full keypad or just a start button

 

you can use a thing like this

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/D-SUB-DB15-2Row-15Pin-Female-Plug-Breakout-Board-Terminals-Connectors-MA-/111986725552

 

two 240k resistors (one pin 9 to10 the other 9 to11and a momentary pushbutton(for start 4 to 7)

 

 

This... is AWESOME. I could probably put something like this together. I can solder, but mostly "by-numbers", but your instructions make sense. It would be a snap to have just a "start button" ready to go for games on which I dig the default setting. Thank you very much for the info!

 

 

Or I use a masterplay clone and works with the y cable. The bulitin keypad is much more reliable than the stock stick.

 

 

I've been intrigued by this. But I can't seem to find much info on where the best place to source a Masterplay clone is at the moment. I also didn't realize you could use one at the open end port on the Competition Pro's Y-cable and leave the Masterplay's input un-stuffed. That might be the most versatile option long-term.

 

Can anyone offer a good suggestion on where the best bet is to get a Masterplay clone these days? They seem like a sure-fire alternative, but I'm at a bit of a loss.

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A trick to make the Competition Pro a little easier to use is to tweak the wiring inside so that the two buttons are on the left instead of the top. Then I rewired the buttons so button 1 is at the top and 2 is on the bottom.

 

I had a Wico but they are so floppy and unsturdy. I prefer the Pro. Trak Ball is the best though for the games it works with (except Defender - thrusting is too much of a chore).

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Or I use a masterplay clone and works with the y cable. The bulitin keypad is much more reliable than the stock stick.

Thanks for this- I never considered doing that, but I now will :)

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... Trak Ball is the best though for the games it works with (except Defender - thrusting is too much of a chore).

You are right about Defender... but with a Masterplay Clone you can use a Sega Master System (U.S. version) two button trackball (called the Sportspad) and get really nice control on Defender. See my video: https://youtu.be/x7qcW_8Fb4Y

 

(Go to 13:48 for the part about Defender and the Sportspad.)

 

By the way- I like that idea about the Comp Pro joystick directional rewire to make the second button more accessible. Cool! :)

Edited by ave1
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A trick to make the Competition Pro a little easier to use is to tweak the wiring inside so that the two buttons are on the left instead of the top. Then I rewired the buttons so button 1 is at the top and 2 is on the bottom.

 

I had a Wico but they are so floppy and unsturdy. I prefer the Pro. Trak Ball is the best though for the games it works with (except Defender - thrusting is too much of a chore).

 

PREACH!

 

Joystick Jedi has one such Competition Pro for his 5200s. He bought it at a thrift store and it was already modded to work that way.

 

I've always found the Competition Pro to aesthetically look weird if it's turned in the direction it was originally designed. Maybe that's why it appeals to Commodore fans so much [personal theory]. I suppose the standard fire button configuration allows for left or right handed play. Still, I think the top-bottom wiring mod makes the controller worth while. It certainly worked well with Tep392's Pac-Man Arcade.

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