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Hyperkin Trooper "Premium" joystick for Atari 2600 and retro computers


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I picked up a Hyperkin "The Trooper" controller this week for $15.  This is the "improved" version of the controller that shipped with the first run of the Retron 77 last summer.  Apparently, Hyperkin took the criticism of their initial controller and improved it for subsequent runs of the Retron 77.  In addition, they offer it as a stand alone purchase.  I'm not really in the market for a 2600 compatible emulation box but I was interested in the controller.  Here are the basic details:

  • Ambidextrous two-button layout 
  • Faux "woodgrain" styling
  • 10 ft. cable
  • Angled corners for comfort
  • Traditionally styled joystick 

I put about two hours on the controller playing a variety of games.  For purposes of comparison, I also played the games with an Atari CX-40 (XE version) which I purchased NOS from B&C Computervisions.  The games that I played included Berzerk, Ms. Pac-Man, Q-bert, Spider Fighter, Missile Command and Demon Attack.  I really wanted to try a cross section of games that put the controller through its paces.  Here are my thoughts:

  • Build quality: I've had bad luck with modern 2600 compatible controllers.  They frequently break within just a few gaming sessions.  The Trooper didn't feel rugged but it doesn't come off as cheap either.  The button was more responsive than an Atari CX-40; it felt great.  The joystick itself isn't as stiff as a real controller but it didn't feel like it would break.  My initial impression is that its a sturdy alternative to some of the other replacements that are on the market.
  • Styling/Design:  The first thing I noticed about the control was its angled corners.  These are a call back to the Retron itself and its an interesting/handsome look overall.  Functionally the corners make the controller slightly more comfortable to hold than a CX-40.  The 10 ft. cable is a nice touch and I'm glad to put away my Genesis extensions.  The ambidextrous two-button layout is a nice feature but I don't really need it.  Its a great inclusion for south paws I suppose.  One thing that is a bit off-putting is the faux wood grain.  Its a little too orange and doesn't really go with my 4-switch Woody.  They might have tried matching the original if they were going through the effort. 
  • Control:  As I said above, the Trooper didn't feel as stiff as the CX-40.  Its a softer overall feeling stick that you don't have to press quite as hard.  During my gaming session, I found it to handle diagonals much better than the CX-40.  Games like Missile Command and Berzerk were a joy to play.  It also fared comparatively well in the shooters Spider Fighter and Demon Attack.  The CX-40 had an edge on the 4-way games, particularly Ms. Pac-Man.  I found myself missing tight direction changes with the Trooper that I can hit with the CX-40.  As I stated above, button response was great; much improved from the CX-40.  

Overall, I like the Trooper.  It seems like a sturdy replacement/spare for 2600 compatible consoles.  It stood up well against the CX-40 for most games and the 10 ft. cable and angled corners are a plus.  For $15 you can't go wrong.  Also, I'm hoping the name is a reference to Iron Maiden. \m/

Have you tried the Trooper?  What are your thoughts?


Edited by atarilbc
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Thanks for the review!

The controller that came with my Retron 77 is still plugging away, but I may have to look into this.

(In case you missed one of my earlier comments, the R77 loaded with the latest Stella build is a wonderful little machine. It just needs better paddle compatibility & apparently that is in the works.)

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Thanks, StormSurge. I've heard that the community build of the Retron 77 has really improved the product.  I love that folks are working on making it even better. Eventually I'll probably break down and grab it.  For now, my 4-switch through a RetroTINK is giving me a great picture with no compatibility issues.  

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Todd's Nerd Cave
5.86K subscribers

Looking for an inexpensive controller for your Atari 2600, Commodore 64, Atari 8bit, Amiga or other retro computer system? In this video I dive deep into Hyperkin's Trooper "Premium" edition clone of the iconic Atari CX40 joystick. 



I am Rob aka MaximumRD aka OldSchoolRetroGamer and THIS is my world http://about.me/maximumrd

"For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me, it was Tuesday."

 - M. Bison

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