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Joystick Recommendations


StormSurge

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I'm not happy with my current set of 2600 joysticks. I thought I was all set using the ones that came with the Flashback 2, but they both snapped pretty early on.

 

I've been using a Genesis controller, which works fine, but I want a joystick when I'm playing these classics!

If there's one out there that everyone swears by, I'll put it on my Christmas list. It will go well with the other item on my list (Harmony cart).

Thanks!

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I actually think the Gem Stick is pretty nicely made as far as 2600 style joysticks go.

So far, I've had issues with several old Atari joysticks, but better luck with old GemSticks.

I also hear a lot of love for Wico's.

And, course, edladdin has some really nice premium sticks.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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I actually think the Gem Stick is pretty nicely made as far as 2600 style joysticks go.

So far, I've had issues with several old Atari joysticks, but better luck with old GemSticks.

I also hear a lot of love for Wico's.

And, course, edladdin has some really nice premium sticks.

I too am a fan of the Gemstik.   The WICO controller is well made, but feels odd to me.

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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Well, if you want the most quality and authentic arcade experience, build your own. Pretty easy and simple. Just salvage an atari 2600 controller, and disassemble the controller. Just match the 2600 controller pinout with your arcade joystick and button. Pretty easy.

 

You can find a guide here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-Your-Own-Atari-Joystick/?ALLSTEPS 

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Here's a pic of the Kraft stick.  Ugly as sin, but it works very nicely.  Added bonus - it has a switch on the bottom that makes it a 4-way only stick.

 

kraft.jpg

 

And here's the Slik Stik.  The button is way too small, but it and the stick work very well.  Not a lot of movement of the stick.  Really good for games that need tight controls.

 

F81RLY8GVO98WM5.LARGE.jpg

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If others are recommending Slik Stick then I would also recommend it's sibling the Starfighter since they are the same.  Just different handle designs.  I haven't tried one yet but have plans to pick up at least two.  

 

When I picked up a TI 99/4A it came with Amiga Power Sticks.  Those are extremely small but have worked rather well on the TI so I wonder just how well they would perform on the 2600.  They are strangely comfortable for their size.  

 

I ended up upgrading my original 2600 controllers with micro switches.  It really made a difference in the feel and operation of those controllers.  They work exceedingly well!  I have noticed a difference in my scores since the upgrade so I would recommend that route as well if you can solder.  

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I currently own a Wico stick and of course 2600 controllers, but usually I use the Wico. When playing two players I use a 2600 standard controller with the 'Stick Stand' with a ball on top and it makes the standard CX-40(?) sticks nearly as good as the Wico in terms of control (not durability of course). But I also use Genesis controller too, when I have multiple Atari's running and don't want switching controllers from one to another. I modded my Genesis controller to work with 2-buttons on the 7800 (which I still need to get again), that's usually the only thing I use on the 7800. The Wico is usually connected to my 1200XL and the CX-40 with the Stick Stand to my 2600 or 2600 FB2.

 

I use to own the Gem stick and Slik stik joysticks, both I recommend, but of course the Gem sticks durability is equal to the CX-40 since they both use the bubble contacts, the slik stik and Wico use solid high-quality contact switches and a metal shaft and metal contact strips (forget which uses which) that last indefinitely. Another good controller that uses quality contact switches is the Epyx 500J ergonomic controller, but, I've had the plastic molding/housing on those break before so if you are rough with sticks, I wouldn't recommend it. Wico also made a sturdier joystick similar to the Epyx 500J that is a lot sturdier, but also more expensive and rare, as are all Wico's.

 

I did own the Kraft stick at one time, but I don't care for it or the Apple joysticks they are modeled after, too small for me.

"Slugs, he created slugs?...Is this not the work of a complete incompetent? I would have started with Lasers, 8 o'clock, day one."-Evil (Time Bandits)

"...burn the land and boil the sea, but you can't take the sky from me..."-theme song (Firefly)

"I try to respect him, I really, really do, but he's just such a Smeg-head."-Lister (about Rimmer, Red Dwarf)

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I use an Epyx 500 XJ, and a CX-40. I don't like a D pad for 2600 games, especially maze games. I agree with Bakerman about the Epyx stick, it feels sometimes like it's going to break into tiny plastic shards right in your hand.

 

I think I am in the minority when it comes to Wico sticks, I don't really like them. I have a Command Control ball top that I used for awhile; the stick itself is great but there's not enough support for it in the base.

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500 XJ, yes, sorry I forgot the "X." thanks for reminding me Fergojisan.

 

I'm not sure what type of Wico I have, it doesn't have a ball on top. It has a red base bottom, black base top, big red button and the joystick is a red shaft similar in shape to a baseball bat, with a white button on the top and there is a sliding switch on the base to choose which button to make active. I'll post pictures of it later.

 

With the 500 XJ, it's not the outer housing that broke on me, but the inner part that holds the contact switches in place.

 

Here are my two mainstays for my Atari computers and consoles:

post-878-0-12011300-1449182233.jpg

post-878-0-33766200-1449182241.jpg

"Slugs, he created slugs?...Is this not the work of a complete incompetent? I would have started with Lasers, 8 o'clock, day one."-Evil (Time Bandits)

"...burn the land and boil the sea, but you can't take the sky from me..."-theme song (Firefly)

"I try to respect him, I really, really do, but he's just such a Smeg-head."-Lister (about Rimmer, Red Dwarf)

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My 2 cents: I usually use the TAC-2 when I want a traditional stick, or the Wico Ergostick if I want something more akin to the Epyx Stick. Those ergonomic sticks are great, but only as long as it's a game that doesn't need rapid button tapping, and the Ergostick easily beats out the Epyx one in my opinion.

 

I hear great things about the Competition Pro sticks, which are nice and springy and have microswitches, but I was never able to try a working one (a friend had one but it was busted). Those didn't come out in North America as far as I know.

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Here are pics of the Wico and Epyx 500XJ ergonomic controllers below. there are actually several different configurations of the 500XJ with one or two buttons and some with rapid fire switches and select/start buttons, etc. Great controllers, as long as they survive...which in my case is one good go with an intense game...the Wico is much better built and will last.

post-878-0-60260600-1449182478.jpg

post-878-0-51593800-1449182656.jpg

"Slugs, he created slugs?...Is this not the work of a complete incompetent? I would have started with Lasers, 8 o'clock, day one."-Evil (Time Bandits)

"...burn the land and boil the sea, but you can't take the sky from me..."-theme song (Firefly)

"I try to respect him, I really, really do, but he's just such a Smeg-head."-Lister (about Rimmer, Red Dwarf)

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bought one of these from 2nd and Charles, Beaumont, TX right before the expo - pretty neat for those with smaller hands

post-52-0-10072100-1450500921_thumb.jpg

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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bought one of these from 2nd and Charles, Beaumont, TX right before the expo - pretty neat for those with smaller hands

I like the color scheme.  I really want to eventually find something that matches the INTV II color scheme. 

"For you - Rowsdower from the 70 - have been appointed Omnivisioner of the Game Grid."  ~ Atari Adventure Square

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That Mini Gemstick look identical to the Amiga Powerstick. ;)

yep.....pretty much the same joystick just in different colors

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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Oftentimes, the "for parts" consoles that I pick up and fix do not come with controllers or PSUs. PSUs are an easy replacement, but I'm down to my personal set of CX-40s, a pair of WICO bat style Command Controllers, 7800 pads and my DIY sticks. These joysticks aren't going to be given or bundled in a resale lot. Reading through the thread its clear that we all have a preference for vintage sticks. Has anyone come across worthy reproduction CX-40s? Something new, sturdy and responsive that has the iconic Atari look and feel?

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