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Hawkangel

Imitation 2600 joysticks

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My Atari 2600 Jr was bought second hand and came with a Commodore joystick and one other one that has rapid fire on it.
I would like to get a joystick that looks and feels like the official Atari ones (cx10/40). 

I notice there are a lot of imitation 2600 joysticks on Amazon/eBay and the reviews on some are good (ie telling you to avoid them) but others have no reviews. 
I’d like to buy one of these but if there a complied list telling you which ones are good/bad? I know this is impractical for a single person to buy every single one and do a comparison but does anyone have any advice? 

Sorry if this has been asked before, I quickly searched through the threads on this forum and couldn’t find anything. 

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You should be able to find the originals on ebay fairly easily. [EDIT: Yes, there is the risk of getting one that suffers from age and isn't as good as it should be without work.]

 

I use the USB Hyperkin Trooper 2 on my computer with the emulator, and it works comparably and feels pretty good.  However, I do prefer my restored original Atari controller on the actual console.  Hyperkin's regular Trooper joystick is made for the console use, and I imagine it works comparably.  Part of why I chose Hyperkin as opposed to numerous other "imitation" sticks, beyond reading reviews, was that Hyperkin released the Retron 77, an emulator console, and the success of that requires them to package joysticks with it that actually function properly and feel right.  Other generic companies just have to sell their controller and not worry about a lack of quality making their console look bad, as they dont produce one.  It made sense to me, and after using the trooper 2 on the computer, I would be comfortable getting the regular trooper for the console.  MY Trooper 2 does occasionally give off a slight squeak if the stick starts to uncrew, but it is classy and solid, and it functions - and the stick can be easily re-tightened.  I have not found an equivlent controller for the Atari Paddle games.  You can get originals, but they may suffer from "jitter" in their old age and need to be restored.  Atari age has a nice list in their database of games that require the paddle, but there aren't that many.  I dont know of a comprehensive rating system for all the brands of joysticks, but I agree that having one like the original helps give the play experience the games were designed for.  I have joysticks that I happily used on my Commodore that just dont have the reflex accuracy I need for Atari.
image.thumb.png.50eff59155adbff75d0861402080238f.png

Edited by Superkitten

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Thanks for the information and in- depth reply Superkitten. I really appreciate it. I may look into those Trooper 2 joysticks. 

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20 hours ago, Hawkangel said:

Thanks for the information and in- depth reply Superkitten. I really appreciate it. I may look into those Trooper 2 joysticks. 

Just to be clear, Trooper 2 is the usb version.  Trooper has the original port for the console.

If you try this or another brand, let us know how it feels. :)

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23 hours ago, Hawkangel said:

My Atari 2600 Jr was bought second hand and came with a Commodore joystick and one other one that has rapid fire on it.
I would like to get a joystick that looks and feels like the official Atari ones (cx10/40). 

I notice there are a lot of imitation 2600 joysticks on Amazon/eBay and the reviews on some are good (ie telling you to avoid them) but others have no reviews. 
I’d like to buy one of these but if there a complied list telling you which ones are good/bad? I know this is impractical for a single person to buy every single one and do a comparison but does anyone have any advice? 

Sorry if this has been asked before, I quickly searched through the threads on this forum and couldn’t find anything. 

I highly recommend the upgraded CX-40 from Best Electronics. $50 each well worth the money.

 

https://www.best-electronics-ca.com/quickguide.htm

 

 

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the atari flashback corded joysticks work great on the old consoles.  Just buy the Flashback system, to get one, I've gotten many of them over the years in thrift stores.  Cheaper than the Best Controllers and the troopers.

 

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On 6/7/2021 at 6:01 PM, Yurkie said:

I highly recommend the upgraded CX-40 from Best Electronics. $50 each well worth the money.

This👍 I have two pair and can’t say enough about them. I was among the first to purchase a pair and they are still as good as the day I received them.

 

The flashback sticks have too lose a throw for my taste. 

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I'll put in another vote for the Hyperkin Trooper sticks.  I grew up with the originals in the 80s and I have a few of those kicking around but they all need to be rebuilt to be usable.  After checking out the vaunted "Best Electronics" site and getting frustrated because I couldn't figure out how to order anything, I just hit up Amazon and was able to score a pair of Hyperkin Troopers for dirt cheap - I think $7 each or some shit, if I recall.  I believe they're a fair bit more expensive now though; not sure how I lucked out.  

 

While they physically resemble the originals the feel is notably different.  As someone mentioned, they're a bit "looser" than the originals.  But to be honest, my aging hands find them more comfortable to use than the originals, so I'm totally happy to use these from now on.  My litmus test for a 2600 joystick is always whether or not I can perform up to my capability on Frostbite, and these sticks pass that test no problem.  

 

To provide balance to my review, I should mention that I've seen reports of the handles snapping off these things, and I guess I can see that would be possible in theory.  But after using mine for quite a while now I feel as though such a failure would be quite unlikely under normal use (at least, for me).  Now, of course, "normal use" would exclude playing Track and Field or Decathlon.  

 

 

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For what it's worth, I waiting on some cheap knock-off from AliExpress.com.

I have no idea as to the quality.I don't have high hopes, but I'm hoping they're at least as good as the controllers that came with some of the Flashback units. I'll report back once I get them.

Retro-Classic-Controller-Gamepad-Joystic

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I'll agree that the flashback joysticks are looser, but once you get used to them, they work well.  I bought the Trooper for my retropie and I think its adequate for most of the Atari games.

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On 6/8/2021 at 10:01 PM, reklen said:

the atari flashback corded joysticks work great on the old consoles.  Just buy the Flashback system, to get one, I've gotten many of them over the years in thrift stores.  Cheaper than the Best Controllers and the troopers.

 

I also have 4 Flashback joysticks as well, since I owned a flashback 9 unit I used the player 2 stick for my XEGS and my 2600 and I like the unscrewable shaft and that their looser than the OG CX40 sicks in which feel cheap and the fire buttons on the FB9 sicks have a very tactile response to them, highly recommended.

 

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I have a pair of originals that I tend to keep with my original plugged in 2600, but most of the time I probably end up either using the Hyperkin Trooper or the Hyperkin Ranger. The Trooper isn't 100% like the original, but it's good enough in both build quality and ambiance. The Ranger is good to have around because people under the age of 50 may not quite understand the joystick. (The Ranger does also have a built in paddle, but I'll confess I don't think I've ever put it through its paces.)

 

To complicate my life I have also purchased one of the Atari 7800 d-pad controllers that came out in Europe, but I'll confess (embarrassingly?) that I haven't actually plugged that one in yet.

 

But for price/availability ratio I'd just go with the Trooper for now.

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On 6/6/2021 at 7:33 PM, Hawkangel said:

My Atari 2600 Jr was bought second hand and came with a Commodore joystick and one other one that has rapid fire on it.
I would like to get a joystick that looks and feels like the official Atari ones (cx10/40). 

I notice there are a lot of imitation 2600 joysticks on Amazon/eBay and the reviews on some are good (ie telling you to avoid them) but others have no reviews. 
I’d like to buy one of these but if there a complied list telling you which ones are good/bad? I know this is impractical for a single person to buy every single one and do a comparison but does anyone have any advice? 

Sorry if this has been asked before, I quickly searched through the threads on this forum and couldn’t find anything. 

The TAC 2 is an excellent joystick, IMHO with 2 large fire buttons for either left or right handed use.

The "Slick Stik" is a decent one as well, that works more or less the same as the TAC 2, just that the TAC 2 is larger.

 

Both of them are better than the original cost-cut black plastic joystick.  Honestly, the common Atari cost-cut joystick feels terrible in your hand due to the almost rubber like texture of the stick and the spongy limited motion that cause my hand to cramp.  I got into the habit of gripping it through my shirt because I just don't like the feel of that material on my skin.  Most of the "not weird" aftermarket joystick feel better in the hand and work better.

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On 6/9/2021 at 1:01 AM, reklen said:

the atari flashback corded joysticks work great on the old consoles.  Just buy the Flashback system, to get one, I've gotten many of them over the years in thrift stores.  Cheaper than the Best Controllers and the troopers.

 

I second this, and wanna add to it-

They feel sooo cheap, and flimsy, and they DO break, unfortunately.

I play in the HSC here, am kinda laying up right now, lol, but the results speak for themselves, I'm a tad above average, I guess(still, nowhere NEAR some of my God-Like Friends!!!).

I got stuck in a spot where I HAD to use the Flashback sticks once and quickly realized-I was better, period.

They are looser, as mentioned, and do take some getting used to, but I've honestly pushed hard for high scores in my short time retro gaming, and the difference is clearly there, they respond fine, are easier on the hands, etc, etc, etc.

Just don't ever, EVER play Dragster or Decathalon with one, as that's simply asking for trouble.

:)

Ya, you can find the flashback systems sometimes cheap enough just to buy them for the controllers, I've actually done that.

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On 6/9/2021 at 11:12 AM, pboland said:

For what it's worth, I waiting on some cheap knock-off from AliExpress.com.

I have no idea as to the quality.I don't have high hopes, but I'm hoping they're at least as good as the controllers that came with some of the Flashback units. I'll report back once I get them.

 

Well, I got the new sticks. For the price they are okay. The stick feels a little too rubbery and the click seems pretty loud (do to the cheaper plastic). They do work well however, I was surprised to see just how close they are to originals (see pics). The weight of the plastic is why they feel cheap and the internal stick is made of the wrong kind of plastic to last (really needs to be nylon(?) like the originals and not ABS). As a matter of fact one of the sticks was broke out of the box when I go it for this reason. The good news is the parts seem to be compatible with original controllers. I had two original sticks that didn't work (bad cable and the boards were flaky). I was able to use the bottom parts of the new sticks with the old parts and they now work/feel great! Here's the pics of the new knock-offs:

Insides1.thumb.jpg.81e2b4cdeb9b2f28cc2e0a53d884ed12.jpgInsides3.thumb.jpg.fb5d35f9418748368ce464a944c2fbfb.jpgInsides2.thumb.jpg.bff8c68e57ff97f050ae605174d608b1.jpgBroke1.thumb.jpg.dba622bf6be17d52c2948d7b34dbca3e.jpgBroke2.thumb.jpg.febbb5d4ae54fde319e5c612047cf87b.jpg

 

I wanted to also add: The wire connections are solder to the PCB. So, you will have to unsolder the connections if you ever want to use just the PCB board.

 

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I would have like to have gotten one of these years ago when I spotted it online, but missed out on it. No, telling how the quality is though....

$_57 (17).JPG

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I got a Retron 77 back in May.  I've not used the console or the Trooper joystick that came with it much, preferring to play on original hardware.  Probably used the Trooper a little more than the R77 as I sometimes use it with my 6 switch woodie.  It's still in pristine condition or at least was.  I made a quick lane change while playing Dodge 'Em a few nights ago and SNAP, the stick broke right off.  I superglued it together and left it to cure for a couple of days, half expecting it to break off again, but even I was surprised at just how quickly it broke a 2nd time.  It broke again in less than a minute of playing Pitfall.  Not impressed with its robustness at all. I cannot recommend this flimsy product to anyone.

 

 

A7B8AAF7-366D-4D54-B838-B968B7290329.jpeg

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You can find rebuild kits to replace the rubber outer, the inner nylon sticks, and the fire button and spring, in the originals. Then add the Best electronics "Gold" boards and have brand new joysticks.  That's what I did anyway. I also have a few old aftermarket ones that aren't bad, but I'd stay away from modern joysticks. The durability just isn't up to par. I will admit that the Flashback joysticks will do, in a pinch, but nothing beats a restored original.

Edited by RamrodHare
Deleting an extra letter.

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Hyperkin Trooper (Black with Stripes, Not the woodgrain because that one breaks easily) or an OC CX40 upgraded with Best Electronics gold PCB.

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I'm a big fan of the Suncom Slik Stik joysticks; great action, easy to clean/repair.

 

You can find them on Ebay easy enough.

 

 

slikstik.jpg

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Hyperkin Trooper (Black with Stripes, Not the woodgrain because that one breaks easily) or an OC CX40 upgraded with Best Electronics gold PCB.
I've got the black and brown trooper and use it often with no issues. I've heard about the issues with the woodgrain options and steered clear of them.

Sent from my SM-G996U using Tapatalk

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On 6/9/2021 at 1:59 AM, sramirez2008 said:

This👍 I have two pair and can’t say enough about them. I was among the first to purchase a pair and they are still as good as the day I received them.

 

The flashback sticks have too lose a throw for my taste. 

I want to bump this. I just ordered 4 controllers for my Heavy 6ers (Telegames and Atari). While I agree that mine are like new even after a fair amount of use I would hate for Brad to retire and have an issue.

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On 6/6/2021 at 7:33 PM, Hawkangel said:

My Atari 2600 Jr was bought second hand and came with a Commodore joystick and one other one that has rapid fire on it.
I would like to get a joystick that looks and feels like the official Atari ones (cx10/40). 

I notice there are a lot of imitation 2600 joysticks on Amazon/eBay and the reviews on some are good (ie telling you to avoid them) but others have no reviews. 
I’d like to buy one of these but if there a complied list telling you which ones are good/bad? I know this is impractical for a single person to buy every single one and do a comparison but does anyone have any advice? 

Sorry if this has been asked before, I quickly searched through the threads on this forum and couldn’t find anything. 

Personally I would avoid the regular joysticks.  The plastic/rubber never felt good on the skin when it was new and it doesn't feel good today.  There are many quality sticks that are well worth your time.  For example assuming you are not using it with an Amstrad CPC.  Decent price and has autofire.  If you just want an Atari joystick, you can probably get one on EBAY pretty easily.

 

 

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