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New 2600 owner. Question about controllers.


segaatarifan
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So finally after years of thinking about it I bought a 2600 today. The console itself is in pristine condition, so I'm happy about that, but both joysticks it came with seem to be worn out because they're not very responsive (although one is a better than the other). Fortunately, I have a flashback system, so I decided to try to see if the controllers that came with that system work... and they do, and they are a lot more responsive but still leave a lot to be desired. My question is -- are my flashback controllers is good is it is going to get? Should I try to find an original controller in better condition or is there a good 3rd party controller I could get that might be better?

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If you just want to play the games, and aren't too worried about what type of controller, you could use Sega Master system game pads. A contentious issue, because a lot of people say you aren't playing Atari unless it's with a (probably crappy :D ) joystick! I use an SMS gamepad, and also a home made joystick with my Atari and C64.

Edited by danny_galaga
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Think of it this way...we used Atari style sticks back in the day because that was what the system came with. So you either burned your game money buying something better to use and lived with 'em as long as you could stand it, or said forget it and ditched them right away. The plastic innards and foil buttons don't have a long lifespan anyway (unless you just collect stuff to watch it rot) Try to find something solid like a Wico. I prefer Suncom's Slik Stik. Very short throw for responsiveness, and it's still chugging along after 30 years. Flashback controllers? I'd be surprised if they don't break after 1 or 2.

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Thanks for the replies everyone. I'm thinking part of the reason now is that I was playing games with crappy controls. The two games I felt like control was unresponsive were Pac-Man and Berzerk. But I went to the retro game store and got Demon Attack and Missile Command and both play beautifully (with the flashback controller). I may consider picking up a Genesis controller, and I already have a set of paddle controllers, too so maybe I should look for some paddle controller games.

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It is a fact that this is the ultimate joystick:

$_1.JPG

It even says so.

Seriously though, I have all of the controllers listed so far minus the modified NES controller and I have a lot of other controllers too but this one seems the most responsive and accurate while remaining closest to the form factor of the original controllers.

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Have you ever tried the Competition Pro 5000? IMO the StarFighter doesn't even come close to that one. It feel almost like an original Atari joystick, maybe a bit stiffer. But that's it.

 

faq_controller_slik_stik_2.jpg

 

The Pro however is a completely different thing. It offers extremely precise control, with microswitches (just like the arcades) and it is build like a tank. The only thing that broke on mine after 30 years of usage is the cover of the connector cable.

 

faq_controller_competition_pro_orig.jpg20120928-095311.jpg?w=549

Note: There also exist variations, which use microswitches for the buttons too. Those click when pressed.

Edited by Thomas Jentzsch
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So why do you prefer the StarFighter?

 

I never liked the original controllers. I think it was mainly the hex shaped grip that made them uncomfortable. So, I grew up using mostly the GemStick which I preferred a little more because of the round stick but it still had the same kind of internal problems that cause wear and tear. However, what I liked about the round stick is that my playing style for games with constant movement like Missile Command and Ms. Pac-Man for examples is similar to how I write with a pen. In other words, my movements for those type of games is like I'm drawing the movements on the screen almost like a stick version of a mouse. For other games my playing style is more about quick taps kind of like the taps of pressing a D-pad but instead of pressing down on buttons it is tapping the sides of a stick. Sometimes it is a mixture of both styles. So, the StarFighter seems to be the best of both worlds because it is a round stick but internally built solid.

 

As for the Competition Pro 5000, it feels very hard to play with them styles or alternative styles like controlling with your thumb on top for an example because it feels forced to hold it on top from the ball. In other words, there are many different ways that people hold a pen but there aren't many ways to hold a ball. Also, holding it from the ball feels more unstable to me because with the StarFighter when I'm not pressing the fire button and therefore not fully gripping it the palm of my right hand near my wrist is still holding it in place while holding the stick but the Competition Pro 5000 feels like the base is kind of wobbling in the opposite direction that I am moving the stick. In other words, the Competition Pro 5000 feels more like it needs stabilized on a table like on arcade machines instead of held. I don't like the clicky sound and feel of the microswitches or the springy feel of the leaf switch buttons. I feel like I get more feedback of a press and can do a quicker press with the metal on metal feel of the fire button and stick of the StarFighter. Now I'm not saying that, in my opinion, the Competition Pro 5000 isn't a good controller and I would put it high on my list but not as high as the StarFighter. The StarFighter feels absolutely perfect.

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