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DOUBLEDOWN Custom ColecoVision Controllers

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A fresh shipment of controller enclosures in today, hot off the FedEx truck:

 

LsANGA.jpg

 

The front 2 are sloped topped 17" x 11", 1 for the 2nd #2495 Display Edition - VVG Experience Controller, and the 2nd is for new controller I'm working on for myself (SEGA Genesis)

 

The rear left is a sloped topped 20" x 11", no plans for this one yet, just added it to the order as I'm sure I'll use it at some point

 

The rear middle is the baby, its a sloped topped 14" x 8", for a secret project

 

And lastly, in the rear right, is a flat topped 17" x 10" x 4" enclosure I plan to use for the Gauntlet Edition - VVG Experience Controller.  Those OEM Atari joysticks are so deep, they won't fit into any of the sloped topped variants, so I thought I'd try this one to see how I like it.  

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Yet another, "not for ColecoVision", but unveiling my NBA JAM Edition - VVG Experience Controller:

 

TpESCQ.png

 

I've probably played more NBA JAM (and it's sequels) than any other arcade game or franchise.  I had it for my SEGA CD way back (which I still own)..and played it a ton, then got the 32X version of NBA JAM T.E (which I still own)....and played it a ton.  I still play it, and I still love it, so I figured I might as well make myself a proper controller for it.  While the game and franchise sequels have been released for a lot of different consoles over the years, I generally like the older ones better.  And for the Genesis, releases include Arch Rivals, NBA JAM, NBA JAM T.E., NBA Hangtime, and College Slam, so I figured I'd wire it for the Genesis/CD/32X, and it will additionally be my universal 3-button arcade stick for other Genesis games.  So built into a 17" Hammond enclosure and featuring arcade accurate controls:

 

(1) iL Eurojoystick w/Cherry microswitches (Blue bat-handle) (P1/P2 coloring)

(4) iL PSL-L Concave pushbuttons w/Cherry microswitches (Orange = Start, White = A, Red = B, Blue = C)

Wired to a Genesis 3-button controller PCB with a 12' cord

 

"Boomshakalala!"

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So I'm constantly on the lookout for new controller components, and I'm constantly coming up with ideas for new controllers.  The item that I probably look at the most, is the controller enclosure itself.  The Hori HSS-09 donors that I use for my line of VVG Joystick Controllers work great, but their biggest limitation is their size...especially where height is concerned.  With an internal mounting depth of approximately <1.5", there is a limited number of of options for joysticks and pushbuttons that will fit.  So enter the big brother to the HSS-09, the HORI/NAMCO Tekken V 10th Anniversay PS2 controller:

 

481O9f.jpg

 

The HSS-09 is approximately 11.25" x 9.25" x 1.50", whereas the Tekken V is 16.00" x 9.50" x 3.00".  As is, from Hori, the layout of this PS2 controller is garbage, the buttons and joystick are way too low and don't provide adequate hand/palm/wrist support, but fortunately I can take care of that when I re-purpose it.  With the additional internal depth, vintage, arcade accurate controls like the WICO joysticks, and true leaf switch pushbuttons can be used with no problem.  Unfortunately they aren't any easier to find, or cheaper than the HSS-09 donors, but again I'm looking for options when and where I can find them, and more often than not its regardless of price.  I don't have any plans for this new donor yet, I just picked one up to take it apart and see if it would work for my needs...and it will.  I'm sure I'll create something amazing with it at some point! 

 

Any ideas?

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On 12/27/2019 at 5:51 PM, Robertkirby said:

How can I order a set of Donkey Kong controllers?

I will start a new pre-order thread around the middle of January for any available models, and I'll post the link here for those who are following.

 

And for those who don't also follow the Jaguar forums, as my last "new" controller of 2019, I made this:

 

B9hX95.png

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No, not yet.  I've still got a few items on my plate that I want to get finished up before I take on a new batch.  I'll start a post in Buying/Selling when it happens and link it here.  

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On 11/27/2019 at 2:47 PM, doubledown said:

So 27 days after ordering it, and arriving just in the nick of time before the 4-day weekend, I finally received the enclosure I'm using for the Spy Hunter Edition - VVG Experience Controller:

 

WGSbF9.png

 

S0KvWi.png

 

It is a steel enclosure from Saginaw...its 20" wide (like my other Experience Controllers), at the peaks approximately 8" tall and 8" deep, and weighs about 11 lbs empty.  Depending on what surface you use as the back and/or the bottom, it can feature a 60 degree slope, or a 30 degree slope.  I plan to use it with the 60 degree slope as it sits in the above pictures.  If you laid it down as a 30 degree slope it would be like driving a bus, or using the Coleco Expansion Module #2...which I never cared for due to its angle although they made it like that to use in your lap.  

 

So now I can take some final measurements and check for clearances, then I'll be able to get the modifications done so that I can mount all of the components.  It will of course get painted black, but I'll do all the machining first, so that I don't have to worry about scratching the paint when I'm working with it.  Won't be much longer now!

Have you completed this one yet? Really want to see the final result

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The enclosure needs to get painted black, which is tough this time of year due to temperatures.  Plus the enclosure is so big/heavy, I still have to come up with some way to hang/support it for the painting/drying process.  I have the door painted, but I don't know when I'll be able to get the box done.  

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So for those interested in some of the other projects I've been working on, but who may not peruse other sections here on AA, here are a few things I've finished up recently:

 

SF2 / Twin2 Edition - VVG Enhanced Controller:

 

tDSx5C.png

 

5200 Edition - VVG Paddle Controller:

 

7GSm3X.png

 

5200 Digital Edition - VVG Enhanced Controller (seriously makes the 5200 a playable console...finally):

 

8HoliP.png


Asteroids Upright Edition - VVG Enhanced Controller:

 

jJIYVH.png

 

Asteroids Cabaret Edition - VVG Enhanced Controller:

 

RCSdUy.png

 

Plus:

 

-I've finished up the artwork for the Gauntlet Edition - VVG Experience Controller...I'm just waiting on the last few parts for testing (should be in this week), and then building the 1st one.

 

-I've received the very "unique", arcade-correct controls for another (2) "Secret" - VVG Experience Controllers.  I just wanted to finish up a few other projects before I started on these.  I ordered the enclosures and remaining components I'll need for these this last week, so I should be able to get started on them in another week or so.

 

-I've got a 5200 VVG Experience Controller I'm working on (parts on order, need to finish up the artwork).

 

I think that's it! 

 

Just a side-note regarding me offering an up-coming, pre-order period for purchasing any of my available controllers...the Hori HSS-09 (or HSS-12) controllers I use for my VVG Joystick Controllers are getting to be thin-pickings on ebay these days, so I don't know how many of these I'll be able to get/offer for those who were interested in these models.  We'll just have to wait and see when the time comes.  

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Unveiling my new masterpiece...the Gauntlet Edition - VVG Experience Controller:

 

bmuQlJ.png

 

G6J0wJ.png

 

1ETOdR.png

 

For those who didn't read my other thread regarding this controller project, here's the story.  I love the arcade game Gauntlet, and the Sega Genesis release Gauntlet IV, is a pixel perfect port of the arcade classic.  So I wanted to build an experience controller with the arcade-correct, vintage controls, so that I could enhance my game-play experience.  I was able to source (4) original (1985) Atari-logo'ed, ball-knob, 8-way, leaf-switch joysticks from an original cabinet, and rebuild them to like new.  To continue with the arcade hardware accuracy, I also purchased (4) of the original style, 4-piece leaf-switch push-buttons.  I realize that the arcade game Gauntlet only needs (2) buttons, but in the Genesis release there are 3 other modes of play, some of which require a 3rd button for hand-to-hand attacking, and as a Genesis controller, it obviously needed a Start button.  But as there were multiple sequels to Gauntlet, released on several different consoles/computers, I wanted more compatibility than just the Sega Genesis...so the 10PDT latching/indicating push-button switch in the upper right corner, switches the wiring from a 3-button Sega Genesis control scheme, to a 2-button ColecoVision control scheme.  Thus making this the ultimate controller to play the following Gauntlet-esque games and sequels on the following consoles/computers:

 

Dandy:

Amstrad CPC / Atari 8-Bit / Commodore C-64

 

Dark Chambers:

Atari 2600 / Atari 8-Bit

 

Gauntlet:

Amstrad CPC / Atari ST / Commodore C-64 / SEGA Master System / ColecoVision

 

Gauntlet II:

Amstrad CPC / Atari ST / Commodore C-64

 

Gauntlet III:

Amstrad CPC / Atari ST

 

Gauntlet IV:

SEGA Genesis/MegaDrive

 

Additionally as this is truly a full-fledged 3-button Genesis controller, as well as a 2 independent button ColecoVision controller (without keypad), it is compatible with a myriad of consoles/computers/games that can be played with these types of controllers, in addition to being used with adapters for use in emulation.  Thus far I've successfully tested this controller on the following systems:

 

Sega Master System (SEGA Mode)

Sega Genesis, Model 1 (SEGA Mode)

Analogue Mega SG (SEGA Mode)

Coleco ColecoVision (Coleco Mode)

Coleco ADAM (Coleco Mode)

CollectorVision Phoenix (Coleco Mode)

 

Currently I have (3) more of these original Atari joysticks (in-hand and rebuilt), and have decided that I will only make a total of (4) examples of this Gauntlet Edition - VVG Experience Controller (and I'm keeping 1).  Additionally I have an alternate idea for a less-expensive (more "mass" producible) "Enhanced Controller" variant, which will re-use the artwork and styling, but will not include the Atari "authentic" joystick/push-buttons, as they are very rare, have limited availability, and are very expensive.  I'll need to sit down and calculate my cost and a selling price for these, and then I'll post a thread in the buying/selling forum for the (3) of these that will be available, and link it here.  Just ball-parking it in my head right now, the price for these will be a little north of $400 (due to hardware costs), just to give some idea to those who may be interested.  Obviously these will be on a first come, first serve basis (limit 1 per person), and 2 people have previously expressed a tentative interest prior to this reveal and ball-parked pricing...so 2 of 3 may already be spoken for.  More info to come.

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Unveiling my Space Invaders Cocktail Edition - VVG Experience Controller:

 

L03UsE.png

 

I got the idea for this one when I was researching the Asteroids controllers.  I was looking at the ColecoVision library of arcade ports to see what games originally used buttons vs. a joystick that would be properly played with the Asteroids controllers, and I found Midway's release of Space Invaders...on their upright cabinets.  On their cocktail (sit-down) cabinets however, they used a different type of control...a 2-way paddle lever controller.  So after a bit of hunting I was able to source a pair of original cocktail cabinet control panels, and this controller was born.  Here's a pic of the panels when I got them:

 

1HWVId.jpg

 

The player 2 panel had an incorrect replacement lever installed at some point, but I was able to source a proper replacement for that one. So all of the control hardware is original and rebuilt, except the P1/P2 start buttons, which are still manufactured...so I bought a new set, as the red plastic on the originals was severely faded.  

 

Here is a pic of the underside of the panels to highlight the paddle lever mechanism:

 

VRKXdi.jpg

 

Pretty simple really.  The rotating shaft has an arm which actuates the Left / Right leaf-switches when you manipulate/rotate the knob.  Its amazing how good the condition was of these now 40 year old controllers!

 

So building this as something unique, and as a proper & alternate way to play Space Invaders Collection, I knew I was going to need some sort of Up/Down control (to manipulate the in-game menus, and AtariMax/Phoenix game selection menus) and a way to press the # keypad key to "insert coins".  So in the upper left area (above the paddle, left of the marquee artwork), I installed a return-to-center NKK paddle switch, which is wired as UP & DOWN, and in the upper right area (above the Fire button, right of the marquee artwork) an NKK momentary push-button switch (with clear flip-cover protector) wired to the # keypad key.  

 

Its all installed into a beefed-up Hammond 14" x 8.25" aluminum enclosure (same as the Asteroids - Enhanced Controllers), which is actually a few inches larger than the original panels, and features a digitally re-drawn CPO replicating the original artwork.  Enjoy!

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So to compliment my Space Invaders Cocktail Edition - VVG Experience Controller, I'd like to unveil my new Galaxian Cocktail Edition - VVG Experience Controller:

 

9izhxv.png

 

This was the only other game Midway released that made use of this same 2-way paddle/lever controller, and as the ColecoVision has a fine port of Galaxian...it just seemed like a natural fit.  So built into a "beefed-up" Hammond Mfg 14" x 8.25" aluminum enclosure, it features an arcade accurate 2-way Control Lever, P1 & P2 Start buttons, and a leaf-switch Fire button.  The AtariSoft ColecoVision port of Galaxian allows for 3 levels of difficulty, so to account for this without installing an unsightly keypad, I installed a 2-pole, 3 position rotary switch in the upper right corner for the in-game selection of Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced, which basically switches the wiring of the P1 & P2 buttons between the keypad inputs of 1/2/3 & 4/5/6 respectively, based on it's orientation.  Then to allow for Multi-Cart or SD card menu navigation, I installed a return-to-center NKK paddle switch, which is wired as UP & DOWN, in the upper left corner.  

 

In other news, for those that don't follow the 5200 forums, I also recently created a Space Dungeon Edition - VVG Experience Controller:

 

rOfk1J.png

 

And additionally I recently got my vintage/original Zaxxon arcade joystick rebuilt, I'm just finishing up re-painting the handle grips.  To compliment one of the greatest arcade games ever, I've come up with a very radical (and over-the-top) design for the enclosure, for what will be my Zaxxon Edition - VVG Experience Controller.  It will be wired for both the ColecoVision and 1 other, very different system, which will allow it to be used for the complete trilogy of Zaxxon-esque games across multiple consoles/computers.  

 

I've also been working on building a prototype joystick to replicate the look and feel of the original 2-way joystick found in original Galaga machines.  While there are modern 2-way joysticks, none of them are are anything like (or feel anything like) the original Midway 2-way stick, and as originals are hard to find, and very expensive when found, this would offer a sustainable solution.  And with a little modification, it will also work as a significantly more authentic feeling 4-way joystick for Pac-Man as well.  

 

I think that's all for now, I'll have more exciting news/unveils soon, so stay tuned.

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Howdy friends...I hope everybody and your families are healthy and safe, in the midst of the current state of the world.  Hang in there...we'll get through this craziness.

 

And now onto some happy ColecoVision hardware news.  I had an opportunity last week to visit a former (now mostly retired / hobbyist) arcade operator/technician who was looking to clear out some inventory of games and parts/hardware.  I personally wasn't really looking for any full sized cabinets, but I was definitely interested in hunting for some original and rare control hardware (joysticks & the likes).  So a buddy and I went down and had a good time for a few hours hunting/searching through boxes, and wheeling and dealing with the old timer, and I did come out with some good stuff controls-wise.  Normally I like to reveal "completed" projects, but as I don't know how soon I'll be able to get the remaining necessary pieces to build these, and then back to the office to use the CNC...I thought I'd share a few of the finished CPOs I've been working on recently. 

 

Here are the 3 "Mystery" CPOs that I currently have finished/printed/laminated/trimmed and ready for build, once the world returns to normal.  

 

Mystery Game #1

 

tA484N.jpg

 

Mystery Game #2

 

NzHXdw.jpg

 

Mystery Controller #3

 

JCF9zu.jpg

 

The inspiration for #1 & #2 should be obvious to most ColecoVision fans, but I'm not sure if anybody will guess the inspiration for #3.  So let the wild speculations commence, and once each of the controllers are properly guessed/identified, I'll share more info & details regarding each of these projects/controllers.  

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First is Root Beer Tapper, second is Tutankham. Third one must be for a homebrew game, because I can't link it to any ColecoVision legacy game. Is the third one a ColecoVision controller to begin with?

 

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1 hour ago, Pixelboy said:

First is Root Beer Tapper, second is Tutankham. Third one must be for a homebrew game, because I can't link it to any ColecoVision legacy game. Is the third one a ColecoVision controller to begin with?

 

 

Correct about #1 & #2, as should be obvious to any ColecoVision fan.  Number 3 is not "game specific", it's based on a vintage controller that did not have a ColecoVision counterpart.  But due to a recent acquisition, I aim to correct that.  

 

8 minutes ago, Swami said:

3 looks like some sega sms game cover

 

It really does.

 

4 minutes ago, 5-11under said:

Sorry, only spending a minute on this...

 

 

I can't tell what the picture is.

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1 minute ago, doubledown said:

 can't tell what the picture is.

SMS Wrestling. Arguably one of the worst video game covers ever.

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26 minutes ago, 5-11under said:

SMS Wrestling. Arguably one of the worst video game covers ever.

I just looked up the artwork for SMS Pro Wrestling...and you're right, AWFUL!  It looks a head-less wrestler with a disembodied head (perhaps his own) in a head-lock.  They really went all out on that one.

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No further guesses regarding #3?

 

JCF9zu.jpg

 

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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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:

 

2TXkoW.jpg

 

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:

 

4vC3AZ.jpg

 

...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.  

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1 hour ago, Pixelboy said:

So it wasn't a wild goose chase, it was a wild koala chase.  :) 

 

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.  

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5 minutes ago, doubledown said:

You gotta wonder, was the koala/controller ad photo a legit picture, or was some sort of pre-Photoshop witchcraft used for its creation?

I don't think that pic was Photoshopped. Koalas pick up and play with anything that you put in front of them, kinda like raccoons. But I'm sure it took a lot of tries to get the picture just right.  :) 

 

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