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electronicsibley

7800 Joypad - Thoughts?

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So I’m thinking about taking the plunge and picking up a euro-style Joypad for the 7800. I’ll probably order a modded one from Best Electronics if they have any left in stock. I’m not expecting it to work wonders, but I am looking for more of a NES/SMS-like experience vs. the Proline. Also, one of my Proline controllers is out of commission, so it’s now or never! 
 

I’m just looking opinions of the controller, good and bad, to inform my purchase. FWIW, I know Sega controllers are an option, but I’d rather pick up the Atari product for authenticities sake, unless it’s a total dud. 

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Well if you are stuck on only wanting to use an official Atari released controller than the Euro pads are your only option pretty much. If you want really good controller for the NES like usage then I would suggest getting one of the controller from Retrogameboyz. I've now purchased about 3 of his controllers for different systems and been impressed with all of them. I use one of his NES style 7800 controllers as my main 7800 controller in fact.

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RetroGameBoyz?ref=usf_2020

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IMHO it's terrible.  I never use mine.  Maybe good for one or two game, but mostly they were designed for a joystick and that works better.  I hate to say it, but I'd rather use a ProLine than the pad.  It's not that the pad itself is that terrible, it *does* work, the games just weren't (mostly) designed for it.  There might be some exceptions like Tower Toppler.  If you want to play 7800 games on a NES/SMS-style pad it does that fairly well.

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My 7800 didn't come with controllers, so I used single button ones for a while before I found some Europads for a good price.

I like them OK.  Not a huge joypad fan, but they are OK.

Then I got some Prolines, and...  I put them away..  I'm a joystick fan, but I prefer the Europads to the Proline.

At some time, I'll probably get/make a 2 button real joystick.. ;-)

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8 minutes ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

Well if you are stuck on only wanting to use an official Atari released controller than the Euro pads are your only option pretty much. If you want really good controller for the NES like usage then I would suggest getting one of the controller from Retrogameboyz. I've now purchased about 3 of his controllers for different systems and been impressed with all of them. I use one of his NES style 7800 controllers as my main 7800 controller in fact.

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RetroGameBoyz?ref=usf_2020

Thanks, I forgot about those. I’ll check them out!

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7 minutes ago, BydoEmpire said:

IMHO it's terrible.  I never use mine.  Maybe good for one or two game, but mostly they were designed for a joystick and that works better.  I hate to say it, but I'd rather use a ProLine than the pad.  It's not that the pad itself is that terrible, it *does* work, the games just weren't (mostly) designed for it.  There might be some exceptions like Tower Toppler.  If you want to play 7800 games on a NES/SMS-style pad it does that fairly well.

I see what you’re saying. That’s definitely something to consider. FWIW, I see an Ed Laddin controller in my future at some point, so I’m definitely not giving up on joysticks!

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7 minutes ago, desiv said:

My 7800 didn't come with controllers, so I used single button ones for a while before I found some Europads for a good price.

I like them OK.  Not a huge joypad fan, but they are OK.

Then I got some Prolines, and...  I put them away..  I'm a joystick fan, but I prefer the Europads to the Proline.

At some time, I'll probably get/make a 2 button real joystick.. ;-)

That’s good to hear. The general consensus seems to be that they’re fine for what they are. 

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10 minutes ago, electronicsibley said:

I see what you’re saying. That’s definitely something to consider. FWIW, I see an Ed Laddin controller in my future at some point, so I’m definitely not giving up on joysticks!

Since I picked up a Seagull 78 I've been using a Genesis arcade stick quite a bit.  That's a really good solution, definitely consider in the future.

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2 hours ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

I would suggest getting one of the controller from Retrogameboyz.

This! @-^CrossBow^-actually made me aware of the 7800 controller and it’s the best NES style controller out there. I liked it so much, that I purchased a second one.👍

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2 hours ago, BydoEmpire said:

Since I picked up a Seagull 78 I've been using a Genesis arcade stick quite a bit.  That's a really good solution, definitely consider in the future.

I'm thinking of doing this too as I prefer a stick to a pad, that said, I do like the Megadrive / Genesis pads and there are some nice "modern" ones available too :

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retro-Bit-Official-6-button-Arcade-Control/dp/B07H3Q2CX7/

 

The retro-bit controllers come highly rated.

 

Of course, I'd love an EdLadin controller but that's $119 and probably a small fortune in shipping and import duty :( 

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The CX78s are meh at best. They're not very well designed in that the D-pad is a little too small and the buttons are also spaced too far apart to be really comfortable. Build quality is also pretty bad, I had to replace the cable on mine (which was NOS!) because it developed a break due to how thin it was.

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To echo what others have said, I had a CX78, and I didn't like it. Now, I use either a converted NES pad (like those from RetroGameBoyz) or a Genesis to 7800 controller adapter (which probably is the best value for the money, if you have different Genesis controllers you like to use).

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4 hours ago, -^CrossBow^- said:

Well if you are stuck on only wanting to use an official Atari released controller than the Euro pads are your only option pretty much. If you want really good controller for the NES like usage then I would suggest getting one of the controller from Retrogameboyz. I've now purchased about 3 of his controllers for different systems and been impressed with all of them. I use one of his NES style 7800 controllers as my main 7800 controller in fact.

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/RetroGameBoyz?ref=usf_2020

 

I'm surprised you don't build your own?

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Here's how I view the 7800 Joypad: it's far from the worst joypad you'll ever use, but you'll probably never call it the best, either.

 

They're functional.  For some games, preferable to a joystick.  For others, not so much.

 

I'd say grab one and see what you think.  There's pretty much always someone out there who wants one, so if you don't like it it should be relatively easy to unload.

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43 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

I'd say grab one and see what you think.  There's pretty much always someone out there who wants one, so if you don't like it it should be relatively easy to unload.

That’s about where I’m landing on it. Even if I’m not crazy about it, it’ll make a good conversation piece as long as it’s around.

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I'm a bit of a weirdo in that I love the 7800 pad. That does come with a couple of proviso's though. We've put tac switches in for the buttons, and we've taken the joysticks out and filled the hole with epoxy resin. Do that and it feels like a proper gamepad with proper resposive fire buttons.

Edited by juansolo
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3 hours ago, juansolo said:

We've put tac switches in for the buttons, and we've taken the joysticks out and filled the hole with epoxy resin. Do that and it feels like a proper gamepad with proper resposive fire buttons.

Glad to hear. I love to tinker, but this time I’m going to take advantage of someone else’s ingenuity. If you’ve never seen it, Best’s write up of their modified controller is something else. After reading, I basically feel obligated to experience it.  

http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/Best CX78 Upgrade kit 2.htm#CX78

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3 minutes ago, electronicsibley said:

Glad to hear. I love to tinker, but this time I’m going to take advantage of someone else’s ingenuity. If you’ve never seen it, Best’s write up of their modified controller is something else. After reading, I basically feel obligated to experience it.  

http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/Best CX78 Upgrade kit 2.htm#CX78

Comprehensive write up indeed :) 

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FWIW, I purchased a CX52 kit from Best and it is great.  All I had at the time was a shell of a controller with pots and buttons.  It works great with the gold plated boards and silicone buttons.  The buttons do feel much better than stock.

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While I like Best Electronic's efforts to improve upon Atari designs and the Atari pads feel better than e.g. a Quickshot, I'd go for a Sega Pad with an Edladdin Seagull or home-brew converter. The Sega pad is nicer to hold , the D-pad feels more precise and less wobbly and the buttons are easier and more comfortable to reach and press. I also have converters to use them with my Vectrex.  

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13 hours ago, Shawn said:

 

I'm surprised you don't build your own?

You are like the 3rd person who has said this very thing to me? Could I build my own, sure! But I'd rather spend a small amount of money to purchase something someone else has already come up with that suits my needs. In this case Retrogameboyz controllers are using generic parts, but his PCB design is what makes it all work so well. Also, with some slight modification to his PCBs, I can set them up to do other functions like the remote pausing I demoed on a 7800 as a test, and for use with the SMS.

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Well’p, to bring this thing full circle, I just received two Best-modified CX78 joypads, and tested them out this evening.

 

Long story short, I’m a fan!
 

The work done by Best seems to be top notch. All buttons and the d-pad are clicky and precise. The cord is a good length, and seems very durable. 
 

As for the design, I like it. The thumb-stick works better than it has any right to, and is a neat engineering flourish that really sets the controller apart. If you’re not into it, it can easily be unscrewed. I also like the diagonal offset of the Atari logo and the recessed space below the 1&2 buttons. I suspect this is related to similar features on the XEGS case. There’s also a textured grip on the backside of the controller behind the buttons that can be helpful depending on how you hold the controller itself. 
 

YMMV, but I have no significant complaints about this pad vs. those for the NES and SMS, both of which I owned during their release. I have to wonder what effect packing in these controllers would’ve had on US 7800 sales. It certainly couldn’t have hurt. 


Finally, my experience with Best was great. You do have to email or call them directly, which is odd in this day and age, but once I placed my order the package arrived via USPS in about 3 days (CA to VA). 
 

I do plan to purchase a Ed Laddin controller at some point for a true arcade experience, but I’m more than happy with these controllers in the meantime. 

 

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On 10/31/2020 at 1:29 AM, Muddyfunster said:

I'm thinking of doing this too as I prefer a stick to a pad, that said, I do like the Megadrive / Genesis pads and there are some nice "modern" ones available too :

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Retro-Bit-Official-6-button-Arcade-Control/dp/B07H3Q2CX7/

 

The retro-bit controllers come highly rated.

 

Of course, I'd love an EdLadin controller but that's $119 and probably a small fortune in shipping and import duty :( 

Hi Muddy

but the Edladdin controllers are worth every penny....they are fantastic.

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On 11/6/2020 at 6:42 PM, electronicsibley said:

I have to wonder what effect packing in these controllers would’ve had on US 7800 sales. It certainly couldn’t have hurt.

From what I've seen, Atari seemed to have every intention of releasing them in the US around 1989 (they're shown in the Atari Advantage catalog/poster) but for some reason didn't go through with it. 

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7 hours ago, ApolloBoy said:

From what I've seen, Atari seemed to have every intention of releasing them in the US around 1989 (they're shown in the Atari Advantage catalog/poster) but for some reason didn't go through with it. 

Interesting. I actually have that poster somewhere, but I just Googled it, and sure enough, there they are. Atari seemed to be so haphazard about things in hindsight. New controllers would’ve been kind of a big deal, and they just put them in a poster with no special mention of any kind. And they had every interest in drumming up interest in the console. It was going to be years before they discontinued it, and even more before the Jaguar came along. Maybe the thought the Panther was just around the corner?

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