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Where to buy a C64 joystick that doesn't suck?

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I bought Hessian recently and, turned out my video out was getting reallly bad so then bought an S-Video adapter. Works like a champ on my PVM but now I realized the joystick I have is absolutely horrific. Anyone have suggestions on a joystick that doesn't completely suck? For Metal Warrior it's not so bad but Hessian seems to have different jump mechanics and oh man it's terrible. Had the kiddo try Hessian out just to see what he thought and though he might not hate the game, the joystick really ruins the experience.

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That's a tough one as it comes down to a) preference then b) availability.

I have 3 and they are all vintage.  One is a Suncom TAC-2 that I had since I was a kid which I wired a 2nd button into it (2nd joystick port for a game that I suppose I really liked at the time and can no longer remember; One is the Epyx 500XJ which is ideal for Summer/WInter games (track and field) type fast movement, very short throw and leaf switches, I believe.  One is the terrible Commodore T-1341 which has DIN connectors and was made specifically for the Plus/4 Commodore 16 machines.  I bought the latter two off eBay w/orig boxes; one was near new, the other dirty and nasty.

If you want a modern gaming experience, maybe try that SNES interface that was mentioned here and on the Petscii Robots Facebook group.   I don't know anything about it other than what I've read but that will open up options for gamepad type controllers.  You'll need native support via a userport type interface to gain access to all of the buttons/switches which you will not be able to easily support in games that you don't have source for, however but as you are talking about vintage games, this might be a good option.

One other option, is to buy modern joysticks parts from x-Arcade and wire your own to a DB-9.  These are simple switches based units so very easy to work with.

 

 

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Oooh I hadn't thought of just making one. That's actually a pretty solid idea! SNES interface though sounds perfect as the kiddo is very used to controllers. I too tend to prefer a controller over a joystick for most games. Very cool, thanks for the suggestions!

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On 1/6/2021 at 1:45 PM, EMwhite said:

One is a Suncom TAC-2 that I had since I was a kid which I wired a 2nd button into it (2nd joystick port for a game that I suppose I really liked at the time and can no longer remember

My first guess would be Spy Hunter, since I very sharply remember the fact that C64 Spy Hunter needed one actual stick (single-player) but two buttons (one for guns/rocket, one for oil/smoke), and even came with a plastic tray that you could put two joysticks into (if you had two of the right model of joystick).

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Ah, Spy Hunter, forgot about that game...switch weapon... could very well be.

I've got a few Mame type machines and joysticks are a touchy subject.  On a bastardized Atari Millipedes machine that I have (w/60:1 board), I installed a 4-way PacMan style stick only to find out that one of my favorite old 8-bit arcade games (Scramble) required two fire buttons and an 8-way stick.  Meanwhile, games like Crazy Climber, Robotron 2084 (both dual stick type games) require very different feel in order to mimic authentic gameplay and best chance at dominance! 

Again, the EPYX stick if you can find it is great for the sport type suites or impossible mission but definitely look into attaching a gamepad if you want a good general controller for Mario style games.

 

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