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Comparing Atari Jaguar Controller Variants


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I got two new Atari Jaguar joypads in the mail this week. I've heard various accounts comparing the Jaguar controllers. Of course we know about the Six Button Atari Jaguar controllers, but looking at the original 3 Button Jaguar controllers we notice differences. I've heard varying accounts between there being 2 versions of the original Jaguar controller, vs. there being 3 versions of the original Jaguar controller. Anyone with first hand knowledge want to weigh in? What I know for sure is at least two versions:

  • 1st Rev: Grey Pause, Option & Keypad Buttons, Very Thick Cord, Smooth D-Pad. Very Nice Feel.
  • 2nd Rev: Black Pause, Option & Keypad Buttons, Very Thin Cord, Sharp D-Pad with "pop" sound. Feels cheap.

My original Jaguar controller (stolen) was the earliest release, as I received my Jaguar the morning they became available in November, 1993. It had the grey keypad buttons and the thick cord. You could buy additional Jaguar controllers at Babbage's, which I remember being the 2nd Rev. controllers with the black buttons and thin cord. My new Jaguar controllers that I just received this week also have grey keypad buttons and a thick cord, but the d-pad feels different than I remember, more mushy as though there's no internal spherical "rocker" base at the inside center of the d-pad. I also don't recall my original Jaguar controller having the numbers stamped in a "Courier" serif font, I remember them being more Helvetica. That leads me to wonder if there were actually 3 revisions of the original Jaguar controller. @Video 61 told me something along these lines a few years ago. Is it possible there was a 3rd Rev. that brought back the grey buttons, thick cord, but had a "spongy" d-pad and the keypad numbers stamped in a "Courier" font?

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@btbfilms76 compares the two original Jaguar controllers in his Cybermorph Christmas Special of The Jag Bar. He says the earlier Jaguar controllers with the grey buttons and thick cord has a soft D-pad with very smooth touch to the control, while the later Jaguar controllers with the black buttons and thin cord has a very different sharp D-pad that feels cheap and is very hard to get any kind of smooth control with it, and that you can feel the differences playing Cybermorph.

He talks about this at the 12:22 mark:



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One has to wonder what led to the variants, particularly when they are of the same design controller.  Most likely it was cost containing reasons but that accounts more for differences in plastics, etc.  I don't think that would account for changes to colors or fonts.

🖖 Going to the final frontier, gaming...

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I have my original pack in and 3 of the cheaper “black number pad” thin cord ones.  I’m wondering if the thicker corded grey number pad variant is what was left over from the Falcon?  I have seen pictures of the grey / blue button Falcon controller but never held them in my hands.

Host of The Jag Bar • Lynx Lounge  7800 Avenue

:youtube: Watch now on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrhPvmALbHpBUqrbBOms5Vw

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My original Atari Pro-Controller is great.  In my view it's the best available for the Jag. I personally never noticed a ton of difference between the black button and grey button standard pads.   

I bought the reproduction controller (2x) on release but both had issues. The pins were misaligned and completely bent on one and the other doesn't function well - issues with option button. Because of personal circumstances they sat in a box for months before I tried them out so I never followed up. I hear most people like them. 🤷‍♂️

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