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guitarmas

What is a good joystick for the Atari 2600?

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Hey everyone.

 

I'm trying to get a general idea as to what joystick is great for the 2600.

 

Any ideas? Thoughts?

 

:)

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I like a lot of different ones...

 

 

Favorites would be Slik Stik ball top, 7800 Europads, Sega Genesis controllers, Atari Flashback 2 joysticks, adapting HORI Arcade sticks originally built for Playstation 2, Wico Ball top (though I find these to be quite a workout)...

 

And if money is no problem, check Edladdin,...And here's something on ebay from Jin on AtariAge:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Atari-2600-Arcade-Stick-One-of-a-kind-Custom-built-with-real-arcade-parts/112177630245?_trksid=p2047675.c100009.m1982&_trkparms=aid%3D888007%26algo%3DDISC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D40147%26meid%3D01a1e3af493248298d3fbd368f0f8bdd%26pid%3D100009%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26sd%3D302113656234

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The One I Always Use Is The Sure Shot, It Has Micro-Switches And Is Really Responsive, To The Point Where It Could Match The Midway Arcade Joysticks

Here It Is: (Sorry For The Massive Photo)

PRODPIC-34805.jpg

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Slik Stik

Tac-2

Gemstik (although my latest Gemstik is letting me down a little)

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I like a lot of different ones...

 

 

Favorites would be Slik Stik ball top, 7800 Europads, Sega Genesis controllers, Atari Flashback 2 joysticks, adapting HORI Arcade sticks originally built for Playstation 2, Wico Ball top (though I find these to be quite a workout)...

 

And if money is no problem, check Edladdin,...And here's something on ebay from Jin on AtariAge:

 

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Atari-2600-Arcade-Stick-One-of-a-kind-Custom-built-with-real-arcade-parts/112177630245?_trksid=p2047675.c100009.m1982&_trkparms=aid%3D888007%26algo%3DDISC.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D40147%26meid%3D01a1e3af493248298d3fbd368f0f8bdd%26pid%3D100009%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26sd%3D302113656234

Thanks for promoting my Atari 2600 arcade stick GoldLeader! :)

 

As far as other options that are a little more budget friendly go, I've always thought that the bat top style Wico Command Control was a pretty great stick. It's definitely constructed to an arcade level of build quality and feels fairly comfortable to hold, but it can be a bit difficult to activate the diagonals on. Awesome for games that only use 4-way movement though.

 

If you want a classic Atari look and feel then a CX-40 joystick with Best Electronics' upgraded gold PCB board and silicone boot is a good choice. Best's upgraded paddle controllers are absolutely amazing too and worth every penny if you want to get the best gameplay experience from paddle controlled games. I really dig Atari's CX-78 joypad as well if you don't mind using a D-pad equipped controller rather than a joystick. I figure the CX-78 was the pack in controller that came with many European Atari 2600 Junior systems way back when so there's no reason not to play Atari 2600 with it if you like that style of controller.

 

Personally I am at the point where I prefer to use lap sized arcade sticks made with real arcade parts (Sanwa JLF joysticks and Industrias Lorenzo buttons specifically) for playing Atari, since I find it the most comfortable way to play and feel like I get the most precise control with the fastest response timing from real arcade parts. Sadly these arcade sticks aren't exactly cheap to buy though, so if you're just starting out with Atari I'd recommend trying out some of the less expensive handheld joysticks like the Wico Command Control or an upgraded CX-40 first to see how you like them. If you end up being happy with their comfort and performance then great, and if not you can always spend the big bucks on an arcade stick from Edladdin (or Kosmic Stardust, he's got some nice looking arcade stick projects in the works too) later down the line.

Edited by Jin
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One of my favorites to use is the SMS Control Stick with the handle top removed.

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Thanks for promoting my Atari 2600 arcade stick GoldLeader! :)

 

 

No problem brother!

 

Seems like I had just looked at your auction when I came across this thread. Like I say I often use a HORI Real Arcade Pro for PS2 (plus adapter for Sega Mega drive that works for Atari as well) that is in many ways similar to your joystick.

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Suzo Competition Pro, the two button version, and preferably the very first edition with leaf-switches. These have a black handle instead of a red one, but I've seen an occasional exception to that rule).

 

Owned one since 1982. Still works great and still my weapon of choice. Is very precise and has short throw and travel. The micro-switch version is great too but I can't stand the constant sound of clicking micro-switches.

 

Suzo also built joysticks for arcade machines and had fantastic quality. Quality wise they are equal to Wico, but the Wico's have HUGE travel and throw, which make quick responses impossible. Ever since I owned this joystick I have always felt 100% in control, and never could blame the "crap joystick" anymore when I lost a life ;)

 

Be sure not to get some cheap knock-off or repro, all of those suck.

 

Competition_pro_first_version_45deg.png

Edited by Level42
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Hey everyone.

 

I'm trying to get a general idea as to what joystick is great for the 2600.

 

Any ideas? Thoughts?

 

:)

You've been around AA since 2004 and you still don't know a good joystick for the 2600? :P

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Thanks everyone. I really appreciate your responses. :)

 

I hope that I'm not walking on rare turf here, but how hard is it to get a fitted NES pad for a VCS?

Edited by guitarmas

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I use a custom arcade controller made by grips03 here (it's actually for ColecoVision but works perfect with the 2600). Besides that, I mainly use a Genesis controller, which is reliable, cheap and plentiful.

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Classic sticks for the Atari 2600 (and all the machines that used 9-pin D-subs back in the day)

 

* Suncom TAC-2, nice short throw but not over sensitive

* Suncom TAC-5 (and its non-click brother the TAC-3), Have an easy to grip handle, with a decent weight, great for shooters

* Amiga Power Stick (very small, palm sized, fantastic sensitivity, if you can find them and they still work)

* Zircon Video Command (basically repurposed design from the Fairchild Channel F, a vertical stick design with an unusual triangular head, EXCELLENT for space shooters!)

* Epyx 500XJ (An overall excellent stick, if you're right handed, if you're a lefty, you're screwed.)

* Wico Ball/Bat, they just keep working, decent throw, and the switches last forever and a day

Of course, an Atari CX40 with Best's gold plated switch mods are also fantastic, as they are tight, without being too tight, and can take a beating.

 

I also used to use Sega Genesis controllers (the original 3 button pads), which had a great balance of ergonomics and responsiveness (just use the B button for fire)

 

What matters is what feels good in your hand, and you need to take into account how long you'll be holding the device, and if little things like the seams in the plastic will irritate your hands (this is a _Very_ real problem, my father played Atari 400/800 Defender with the Zircon sticks so much, that he literally had to wrap medical tape around them and his wrists because they started bleeding from too much play... he was ultimately able to score over 21 million points, after playing for a week at nights, pausing the game before bed.)

 

-Thom

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Thanks for promoting my Atari 2600 arcade stick GoldLeader! :)

 

As far as other options that are a little more budget friendly go, I've always thought that the bat top style Wico Command Control was a pretty great stick. It's definitely constructed to an arcade level of build quality and feels fairly comfortable to hold, but it can be a bit difficult to activate the diagonals on. Awesome for games that only use 4-way movement though.

 

If you want a classic Atari look and feel then a CX-40 joystick with Best Electronics' upgraded gold PCB board and silicone boot is a good choice. Best's upgraded paddle controllers are absolutely amazing too and worth every penny if you want to get the best gameplay experience from paddle controlled games. I really dig Atari's CX-78 joypad as well if you don't mind using a D-pad equipped controller rather than a joystick. I figure the CX-78 was the pack in controller that came with many European Atari 2600 Junior systems way back when so there's no reason not to play Atari 2600 with it if you like that style of controller.

 

Personally I am at the point where I prefer to use lap sized arcade sticks made with real arcade parts (Sanwa JLF joysticks and Industrias Lorenzo buttons specifically) for playing Atari, since I find it the most comfortable way to play and feel like I get the most precise control with the fastest response timing from real arcade parts. Sadly these arcade sticks aren't exactly cheap to buy though, so if you're just starting out with Atari I'd recommend trying out some of the less expensive handheld joysticks like the Wico Command Control or an upgraded CX-40 first to see how you like them. If you end up being happy with their comfort and performance then great, and if not you can always spend the big bucks on an arcade stick from Edladdin (or Kosmic Stardust, he's got some nice looking arcade stick projects in the works too) later down the line.

The one-off Atari stick really is a thing of beauty. I helped Jin by building the wire harness for it and drilling out the JLF plate. I hope it goes to a good home as there will likely never be another like it. ;-)

 

As for my mystery project, the cigar box controllers aren't really a secret, just a small batch of handmade controllers using real arcade parts. The target audience is anyone looking for an affordable option for a real arcade controller who doesn't have the technical skill or is unwilling to attempt building their own stick. I've got everything drilled out and components in place. The last step I just need to build eight wire harnesses to finish them.

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/256709-homemade-cigar-box-arcade-controllers/

 

EDIT: I noticed it's been a month since my last update and I should really get these completed before everyone blows their gaming budget on Christmas loot, LOL! :party:
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Classic sticks for the Atari 2600 (and all the machines that used 9-pin D-subs back in the day)

...

You forgot the Competition Pro.

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The One I Always Use Is The Sure Shot, It Has Micro-Switches And Is Really Responsive, To The Point Where It Could Match The Midway Arcade Joysticks

Here It Is: (Sorry For The Massive Photo)

PRODPIC-34805.jpg

Interesting choice. Even more interesting to me is why you typed everything in title case, with a capital letter for each word, as if it were a book title?
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One of my favorites to use is the SMS Control Stick with the handle top removed.

I like that Sega joystick also. Check out my mod here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SXN4silDFiQ Wired-Up Retro #4: Transformation of Sega Master System "Control Stick" to a hybrid Atari joystick Edited by ave1
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You forgot the Competition Pro.

 

Yup, that one comes up a lot too... this is true, I just never managed to get my hands on one, which is odd, because I've used just about everything else. :)

 

-Thom

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I think the joystick question is a fundamental one for the 2600. As someone who grew up with NES, there is a disparity for me in the basic functionality. A great deal of 2600 stuff just doesn't seem to work. This is kind of part of the experience I think, but you do need some effective means of access.

 

A sega genesis controller is a good means of basic reliable control. But it isn't a very fun or authentic means and competitively I think pad controllers constitute cheating on this console.

 

Among popular joysticks I can vouch for the Tac-2 and for the (modern repro micro switch version) Competition Pro, and I can say that I despise the standard CX-40. Neither of the good ones are wonderful, but they are totally reliable and somewhat fun.

 

Best joystick for me so far is an obscure one that I feel very lucky to have discovered and acquired: the Enjoystick by TG. The body fits comfortably in the hand and the stick is similar in size and feel to the Vectrex analog thumb stick. .. The problem with the Enjoystick is that it is not so durable and reliable as I would like. .. The other problem is that they are near impossible to find or replace.

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BTW I do have an NES pad that was wired to control Atari. I got it off of ebay and yeah it's OK...My exact one may be a bit worn. I was expecting it to be a like new controller to start with, but it was used...So if I were to wire one myself I'd probably start with a fresh new controller...

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