Joysticks ...  

Jeff Woodward


Issue 2

Feb/Mar 83

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All you 'arcade' game players out there must agree that a more sensitive joystick would be a boon to our game playing enjoyment. I have found that the standard Atari joystick starts to lose its 'reaction' on certain types of game that require FAST and true responses from the stick. I can bring to mind playing Asteroids and pushing the stick forward to fly my spacecraft round the screen only to find that I am totally out of control and whizzing (or should that Hyper-warping?) all over the screen. Alternatives that have been introduced up to now I have found very much the same. I can think of LE STICK which I think would eventually give you Rubik's Wrist in five easy movements! I also find with the standard joystick that it also gives you hand fatigue after extensive play. There are two general positions in which the right handed player can hold the stick. Grasping the stick handle in his right hand, he can either hold the base in his left, or put the base on the table or floor and use his left hand to steady it against a flat surface. In either case, while the left hand is trying to keep the base steady, the right hand is jerking the stick around in order to register the press. The effect of this is that the right hand is always trying to tear the base from the grasp of the left. Since the right hand has the leverage of the stick working for it, the left must work much harder to steady the base, all the while holding it in an awkward position. The fatigue that results is nature's way of telling you to turn the T.V. off! Also note that I have been talking about RIGHT HANDED people only. All you lefties must get to be ambidextrous real quick - Atari never thought of you. I have seen the K-Byte Stick Stand but I personally believe this gadget will soon become known as the 'Stick-Breaker'.

In ANALOG magazine Issue 5, a guy wrote in showing how you can wire up a push button controller just like the original Asteroids controllers on the arcade machines and he said it worked equally well on Space Invaders. The problem is I do not know where you can buy the input plugs but the rest of the hardware he describes is easily obtainable. Can any reader help?

I have not tried the new 'Trackball' controllers but at over 50 each, there must be a cheaper way to play games. What about someone coming up with a project for a joystick or controller, I am sure we would all be interested?