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7800 Guy

Is it worth it to buy a Trak-Ball?

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After getting a good deal on a pair of driving controllers with a free copy of Indy 500, it got me thinking about getting a Trak-Ball. I've been doing some research on the subject and it seems that no official games were ever developed for use in true Trak-Ball mode. I'm aware of the hacks and homebrews however. Looking at some of the prices for these things which are quite steep, is it worth it to get a Trak-Ball to use in joystick mode on games that had a track ball in the arcade just for suspension of disbelief?

 

I watched a really good YouTube video which compared Missile Command in joystick mode vs true Trak-Ball mode and the difference seemed to be night and day. What is the experience like playing in joystick mode using these trackballs? Do you find that it's easier to just use a joystick or do you get a better experience by using the trackball?

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54 minutes ago, 7800 Guy said:

After getting a good deal on a pair of driving controllers with a free copy of Indy 500, it got me thinking about getting a Trak-Ball. I've been doing some research on the subject and it seems that no official games were ever developed for use in true Trak-Ball mode. I'm aware of the hacks and homebrews however. Looking at some of the prices for these things which are quite steep, is it worth it to get a Trak-Ball to use in joystick mode on games that had a track ball in the arcade just for suspension of disbelief?

 

I watched a really good YouTube video which compared Missile Command in joystick mode vs true Trak-Ball mode and the difference seemed to be night and day. What is the experience like playing in joystick mode using these trackballs? Do you find that it's easier to just use a joystick or do you get a better experience by using the trackball?

So I have two different track ball controllers and in joystick mode I do think the joystick games that should have been track ball really work well and are much better to use then the joystick. I also have a super charger as well as the harmony cart which allows me to run the hacks designed to use track ball mode and the experence is truly worth either buying the games or getting a Harmony cart. Now you mentioned trach ball had no officially made games. Well that is half true and I will say your correct sence we are in the 2600 forums even though on the 8 bit computers you could infact use the track ball mode on specific games. Why this was never added to the 2600 is beyond me and never made any sort of logic. Now if you want the cheap route go get a raf net adapter (note I only asume it will work) I used a StellaDapter and you can use the hacked roms for track ball and put your track ball in track ball mode and you can play with out costing $25.00 a pop.

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Good to know about the 8-bit games. I'm looking at getting a XEGS (my Atari obsession is growing fast!) I'm trying to stick with cartridges to force myself to play the games although it would be a nice savings to play the downloaded hacked versions after investing in a pricey trackball. It's looking like the Retron 77 will be my go-to for 2600 games because I seriously need the pause function and save states would be nice. Will a trackball work using the 2600-dapter on the Retron 77? I plan on updating to Stella 6.

 

It seems that the version Video61 sells would add the most functionality because it has two independent buttons to use for 7800 games but they are showing out of stock.

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I say yes! The 2600 TrakBall is great even in joystick emulation mode for games that move in 8 directions.  Even 2 direction games like Space Invaders are also good with it.  In fact it's easier to play Gyruss because I can spin around the edges of the TrakBall to move the ship in a circle than with a digital joystick.

 

Those are my experiences using the 2600 TrakBall...

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I'm going only on memories of what it was like 'back in the day' but I had a friend with a trackball and it was nice to have as an option for a different way to play a game. I wouldn't say it's a revelation on any of them since it doesn't change the actual mechanics of how the controls work. I wouldn't spend a ton on one, but it's a nice thing to have around.

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I had two of those controllers "back in the day." They never worked very well, even when brand new from the store. I don't know if they were defective but it might be hard to find one that works well now that we're 35+ later in time. I used mine with Stargate as the emergency fire button -- it was large and easy to whack for Smart Bomb, Inviso, and Hyperspace. 

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The 2600 Trak-Ball is definitely worth it with many of the 2600 games that have been modified to add proper Trak-Ball support.. 

 

Atari 2600 Trak-Ball Series: AtariAge Store

 

The list currently includes:

  • Centipede
  • Colony 7
  • Millipede
  • Missile Command
  • Missile Control
  • Plaque Attack
  • Reactor
  • SpaceMaster X-7
  • Star Wars Arcade
  • The Challenge of Nexar

It's a night and day difference playing some of these with proper Trak-Ball support versus using a joystick.  :)

 

 ..Al

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+1 for the Trakball whether you use it in analog mode or not. A real shame VCS software didn't make better use of it BITD, but that's been remedied now of course. Thanks to the offerings above, makes your "old" Atari that much more of a serious gaming machine.   :)

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Yeah, the modded trak ball games are awesome with an actual track ball. Unlike the old CX-40 joysticks, they are built like tanks. Very easy to restore too.

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I've had bad luck with both trackballs I've bought. Neither of them worked at all. One was used, the other was NOS. I ended up returning them to the seller for a refund. After that experience, I just gave up on owning one.

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I've had bad luck with both trackballs I've bought. Neither of them worked at all. One was used, the other was NOS. I ended up returning them to the seller for a refund. After that experience, I just gave up on owning one.


I’m sorry to hear that. I’ve owned 3 or 4 CX-80 and they have all worked pretty well.

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On 11/7/2019 at 12:24 PM, high voltage said:

Millipede?

millipede_siver_pal_cart_3.jpg

Hmmm...no trackball on the NTSC box, even without the seven extra languages.

20681-millipede-atari-2600-back-cover.jp

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