Jump to content

A few Odyssey² Game/Controller questions for the Odyssey² experts here


Recommended Posts

So way back when I was a kid, my older cousins had an Odyssey²...and I have very vague memories of playing it with them.  Twenty or so years ago, I had gotten one for myself as an adult, I played it a very little bit...modded the console with A/V outs and disconnectable controller ports...and then sold it.  Then a couple of weeks ago I ran across a thread here, back from around November, wherein @sixersfan105 had mentioned an Odyssey² port/release of HERO...one of my all-time favorite games.  So I contacted Marc V to see if there were any copies still available, and sure enough he said yes.  So I sent him my payment, procured myself a new to me Odyssey² console, and I received my game today.  I will say that I'm very impressed with its gameplay on the Odyssey², it is very faithful to the Activision original, and very well done. 


So now that I've got myself an Odyssey² again, I'm looking into controller options.  Now one thing that I either forgot about, or never really knew about, is that some Odyssey² games use the left controller, and some use the right.  So I've had the idea to build myself a custom arcade stick controller for the Odyssey² that will have 2 controller cables, plugged into both controller ports simultaneously, wired through a 6PDT switch, that will allow me to keep this one arcade stick controller plugged into both ports, then by toggling the latching pushbutton switch, it will be wired to either the left controller port, or the right controller port, depending on the game I am playing...so that I don't need to keep unplugging and plugging in the cables. 


Additionally as I've played H.E.R.O. more on the ColecoVision with 2 buttons, than on say the Atari 2600 with 1 button and joystick down, I very much prefer playing this game with 2 buttons...versus pulling down on the joystick to set dynamite charges.  So I plan to have at least a 2nd button wired to the joystick down input, so that I can play this version that way as well.  So what I'm wondering here from all you Odyssey² experts, is there anything else feature-wise, that would be beneficial on this controller for other games that I'm just not that familiar with?  For example is there some game where the button does one thing, and say joystick up does something like shields or thrust or something?  If this is the case, then it is easy enough for me to wire a 5 position rotary switch prior to the 2nd button, so that the 2nd button isn't only just joystick down, but it can be any of the 4 joystick directions (up/down/left/right), or off (I've done this before on some Atari controllers I've built).  Is there any game where the button does one thing, up does something, and down does something else, wherein it would be beneficial to have a 3rd button wired through a rotary switch like the 2nd button?  


So again, basically I'm requesting from all of the Odyssey² experts here, your thoughts on any possible worthwhile features and/or options to install into an Odyssey² arcade stick controller, that I maybe haven't thought of (or mentioned above) yet.  Thanks in advance for any thoughts or ideas.  Remember, there are no stupid ideas...just stupid people.  😆

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I use db15 ports (neogeo pinout) this way there are plenty of pins to work from.  Something like H7MMH-1506M from Digikey.  I cut it in the middle in order to provide 2 ports.  This allows for power and joystick and 6 buttons, or more if you want to adjust further.  I usually add rapid fire.  Seems from above you want to add up and down.  Robot Ron uses twin stick setup, so maybe do that?  I like the idea of using a switch to select port 1 or 2, would reduce moving the controller cable.  Maybe go full custom and do that port 1/2 switch selection with a single cable?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I spent some time this weekend reading through game manuals available online, and play testing most of the original games (and a couple of homebrews).  It seems like there are really only a few games that can benefit from "specialty" controls, as most games are just fine, with simply a 2/4/8-way joystick and the 1 action button.  These exception games are as follows:


HERO: a 2nd button wired to joystick down for setting dynamite charges


Atlantis: a 2nd button wired to joystick up for detonating blitz bombs


Robot Ron: twin-stick configuration


Mars Menace: twin-stick or "Vanguard" arcade configuration (as I don't believe diagonal firing is possible)


Freedom Fighters: this is the most unique one.  I've read where people mention that this is a twin-stick type of game, but it's really not.  A conventional "twin-stick" game, like Robotron: 2084, Space Dungeon, or Tutankham is one where you're using both sticks simultaneously...one for movement, and one for shooting/firing.  In Freedom Fighters, you are either using the left stick for "conventional space drive" movement...OR you're using the right stick for "hyperspace drive" movement...but you're NOT using both simultaneously, as you only move with 1 or the other ("hyperspace drive" takes precedence), but at the same time, you also need to operate the action button, for firing.  


Based on these findings thus far, I think to start off, I'd build a custom controller with an 8-way joystick, 2 controller cables with a pushbutton switch to select either left or right controller control, and 2 pushbuttons...1 as the default action button, and the 2nd button wired through a 5 position rotary switch, so that the 2nd button can be either off, or joystick up/down/left/right.  I haven't run across any games where joystick left or right wired to the 2nd button would be of any benefit, but as I'd already be installing the rotary switch for joystick up or down control via pushbutton, a couple of extra wires is no big deal.  Then later, I could envision building a twin-stick controller for Robot Ron and Mars Menace, and something completely custom for the unique control scheme of Freedom Fighters.



7 hours ago, grips03 said:

I use db15 ports (neogeo pinout) this way there are plenty of pins to work from.  Something like H7MMH-1506M from Digikey.  I cut it in the middle in order to provide 2 ports.  This allows for power and joystick and 6 buttons, or more if you want to adjust further.  I usually add rapid fire.  Seems from above you want to add up and down.  Robot Ron uses twin stick setup, so maybe do that?  I like the idea of using a switch to select port 1 or 2, would reduce moving the controller cable.  May go full custom and do that port 1/2 switch selection with a single cable?


For any of these controllers, I think I'd stick with standard DE-9 connectors, so that they could be used with any Odyssey² console (with external controller ports), and not be tied to a specific/custom mating console.  I also don't think I'd consider adding rapid fire, as the Odyssey² console doesn't supply power at the controller ports, and thus would require a separate external/internal power source.  Plus rapid fire is cheating!  🤣

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get it, it allows you to discreetly wire a "universal" controller with enough inputs & pins for what you generally need, and then simply mod a console with a mating port, making a single controller useable on multiple systems.  But as I am often times coerced into selling some of my controllers, I need mine to be able to work natively with stock consoles.  Also, I personally enjoy designing and creating new controllers, especially those that are specific for one game when that one game can make use of a unique control scheme.  


Speaking of which, I designed the artwork for what will be my "general" Odyssey² arcade stick controller last night, and I think I have everything in stock, with the exception of the rotary selector switch (for the 2nd pushbutton)...which I'll have to order.  Then late last night I came up with a pretty cool idea for a control scheme/method for a dedicated Freedom Fighters! controller.  I'll have to work on some artwork for this one as it has no arcade counterpart that I can mimic, and I'll have to design something from scratch.  As far as a twin-stick controller for Mars Menace and/or Robot Ron...I already need to build myself a new twin-stick for Robotron for the Ataris/ColecoVision and T:me Salvo for the 7800 (as I sold my previous one), so once I build that one, I've already got 2 short Atari-to-Odyssey² cable adapters that I've made, so I probably just use that, vs. building a separate/dedicated Odyssey² twin-stick controller.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I got my new Odyssey² arcade controller finished up tonight:




Nothing too fancy, or too radical:  


** Hammond 14" x 11" aluminum sloped top enclosure (braced, reinforced, & weighted)


** iL Eurojoystick2 8-way joystick (Sg - 2-1/8) w/ Cherry microswitches, w/ threaded shaft (short), w/ 32mm black ball knob


** iL PSL-L Concave pushbuttons w/ Cherry microswitches, w/ grey bodies & red plungers


** C&K 5-position rotary switch, w/ Apem aluminum knob...used to assign button 2 as either Off (inactive), or as Joystick Up/Down/Left/Right, for in-game uses like setting Dynamite in HERO (Down), or detonating blitz bombs in Atlantis (Up)


** C&K 6PDT latching pushbutton switch, wired to 2 separate incoming controller cables (left port & right port)...allows the controller to be connected to both console controller ports simultaneously, and at the push of the button, connects it to the left port, or to the right port, depending on which is required for any specific game...without having to un-plug, and re-plug in the controller cables constantly when switching games


** Custom Magnavox Odyssey² console inspired, CPO artwork



  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, sixersfan105 said:

@doubledown this arcade controller of yours came out beautifully! Any plans to make more to sell to interested O2 enthusiasts?

Always a possibility if someone's interested.  A full featured version like the one that I built for myself and posted above, would be around $275.  A version with less features/options could of course be less expensive (maybe as low as $190)...just depends on what someone would want. 


Like the 2nd pushbutton, and the rotary selector switch for its assignment, so far as I can tell, is only really valuable for 2 games...but as the new-ish homebrew of HERO is the reason I got back into the Odyssey², and I really prefer to play HERO with 2 buttons, I really wanted it on my controller.  But the components for an assignable 2nd pushbutton:


(1) 5-position rotary switch

(1) aluminum knob

(1) lt. grey pushbutton (body used)

(1) red pushbutton (plunger used)

(1) D41X low-force Cherry microswitch


...cost me about $30, just in hardware costs...plus the extra machining, assembly and wiring time.  Of course this 2nd button could be installed and simply hard-wired to joystick down for HERO...saving the costs of the rotary switch and its associated installation time.  So basically more features = more cost, if anybody is interested is something, just let me know.

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...