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How I got left-handed non-Atari joysticks to become Atari right-handers


ave1
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Have any of you tried playing games with a Genesis arcade stick that's got the stick on the left and felt like it's just not a natural way to play? I definitely have found left-handed joysticks to leave me feeling like I didn't really have a good time on certain classic games that require a high level of positioning accuracy like Yar's Revenge, Missile Command, and Centipede...

 

Well, now there's a tutorial that can show you a relatively easy way to turn left-handed non-Atari arcade sticks into right-handed Atari-compatible controllers. I spent a bit of time researching an easy way to accomplish this, and now have a video presentation which might interest some of you here. Check it out and let me know what you think:

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After growing up with the original Atari joysticks, I feel awkward playing with a gamepad or a left-handed joystick. That's the one thing I don't like about the Jaguar. And I even have to fumble when I try to play games with my kids on our XBox 360. The one arcade machine I own is Ms. Pac-man (cocktail version), and I like how the joystick is on the right side were it belongs, and you don't have to push any buttons while playing.

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Glad I'm not the only one. I got used to d-pad gamepads (including the Jaguar controller back in the 90s) but it truly took months of persistent use. When it comes to games like Pac-Man and Missile Command, though, I'm not going to do as well if I'm directing things with my left hand. I think there are many people out there playing on emulators who are robbing themselves of a true classic gaming experience because the d-pad or joystick is not under the control of the right hand.

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After growing up with the original Atari joysticks, I feel awkward playing with a gamepad or a left-handed joystick. That's the one thing I don't like about the Jaguar. And I even have to fumble when I try to play games with my kids on our XBox 360. The one arcade machine I own is Ms. Pac-man (cocktail version), and I like how the joystick is on the right side were it belongs, and you don't have to push any buttons while playing.

 

I guess Ms. Pac-Man actually has the joystick placed in the center, which works great for either right or left handed, but only because you don't have to push buttons and the other player is on the other side of the machine.

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i remember a little dongle that flipped atari sticks sideways to move the button

 

i like the gravis pc gamepad cause it has a switch to floop the stick

Yes- I like using the PC Gamepad on my 5200 with the PC to 5200 adapter. As far as that little dongle you mentioned, I remember they made that to put the button on the right side of the Atari 2600 joystick to help the lefties out!

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  • 4 years later...

Such a cable-adapter, that switches the sides, is a good solution. No changes on the joystick itself, then are necessary. I have some arcade-controllers here for different systems (PSX/SNES/PC/MegaDrive) which i once opened and changed the directions inside by re-soldering. Now these sticks can be turned around and i can steer with the right hand on them. Not 100% ideal, because some of these casings had a shape, which was not built for turning them around, but on the most, it's not really a problem. :) Sadly in these days, i never thought about, to change this problem with a cable, that i plug between.

 

I always was confronted with this left/right steering thing, by being forced to either this or that. Back in the 80's, when i was in Italy one time a year in the summer for 3-weeks-holiday with my parents, i played alot games in the Arcades-halls there (it was much cheaper than playing in an Arcade-hall in Germany back in the days) and i must steer with left hand on the most Arcade-cabinets, cause they was built this way. After a time i was used to that.

 

Short time later, when i got my first Atari-2600 in the year 1982, i must change, because the controller for this system was made for steering with right hand, while pressing the firebutton with the left hand. So i am getting used to that. When i got my first C64 three years later, i go on steering with right hand, because also the most joysticks for this machine, was built for right-hand-steering. Then i was used to steer with right hand and when i was in holiday then and played on a Arcade-cabinet again then, it always felt a little bit strange to steer with left hand, so i sometimes even crossed my arms infront of the arcade-cabinets and played this way *lol*. Some years later again, when i got my first consoles (MegaDrive and shortly after this a SNES) i was confronted with the fact, that gamepads then was the standard. Then again i changed, at least when playing with the gamepad, but i also bought joysticks for these systems too.

 

All these left/right steering changes, to which i was forced, were kind of annoying for me. :) Similarly annoying, like for example the PAL/NTSC problem, with which users was confronted, because different countries had different TV-formats and often the games was not ported really good. When it comes to retro-consoles and you was a PAL user, you often had the joke's on you (slower speed and borders) and when you was a NTSC user then you often had the joke's on you, when it comes to retro-computers (on C64 for example, games dont work and so on). I hated these differences in the TV norms and wished it was only one system in the whole world, like i wished that all games should be made for either left or right hand steering *lol*.

 

Edited by AW127
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