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Old 15 March 2011, 16:21   #1
alkis21
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The superiority of Greek joysticks

Note that the topic's title is intentionally provocative. It's not that I don't accept that different things appeal to different people, I just feel that retro debates are more fun when you add a hint of heat.

As a teenager, I was insanely jealous of the English, the French, the Germans, the Eskimos, basically all the people who were lucky enough to live in a country that was less... technologically challenged than mine. They all got their machines faster and cheaper, every game was released there earlier, their computer magazines were class, basically they seemed to me like residents of a technological paradise. The situation in Greece became a little better after the mid-90s, but we were still behind and by then we had the internet to constantly remind us of that fact!

However, in the beginning of the century when I first started traveling abroad for Kick Off 2 tournaments, I was delighted to discover that foreigners had something to be jealous of me: JOYSTICKS!

Before then, I was under the naive impression that the same style of joysticks could be found anywhere. In fact, I never even gave much thought to where mine were manufactured; I thought they were brought from abroad like everything else. Image my surprise when I realized that you guys grew up using Competition Pros, Cruisers, Speedkings, Quickshots etc. For some weird reason the Greeks enjoyed far superior controllers that gave the player the exact feeling one got when playing at the arcades. No matter what the brand was the logic was this: Sturdy, rectangular, with strong suctions so that it's placed on your desk, with a metallic lever with audible micro-switches and a fire button on the left side. Oh, and one more thing: Virtually indestructible!

I'm not going to mention every Greek joystick there is, just a few examples to give you an idea.

Tomahawk

My personal favorite and the one I'm still using on the Amiga.

Pacman - one button

Very similar to the Tomahawk.

Pacman - two buttons

Ideal for left handed players.

The three joysticks above were the most popular during the home computer era. They're rather rare to find these days. I should also mention the CMS joystick, which in its current form is perhaps not as good as the other ones but it has a major advantage: It's still being produced and sold! Both the PC (6 or 4 buttons) and the Amiga (2 buttons, only one works) version! Unfortunately the PC version can only be connected to a 15-pin gameport so it requires an adapter.

CMS


But what if someone wants a joystick that can be used for MAME or even recent games that require more buttons? For this purpose, I recently acquired the following baby, made by a hobbyist who spent years perfecting it. And it's USB:

ArcadeJoy


And this concludes my presentation of 'reasons why foreign retro gamers should envy Greeks'. Here are some links in case anyone is interested in buying a Greek joystick:

CMS Amiga version
CMS PC version
USB adapter
ArcadeJoy (not sure if he sells abroad, send him an email)
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Old 15 March 2011, 19:09   #2
killergorilla
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With the exception of "Pacman - two buttons" they all suck because the buttons are on the wrong side
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Old 15 March 2011, 19:14   #3
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Well the ArcadeJoy is custom made so one can order it with the button on the other side if that's your thing.
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Old 15 March 2011, 19:15   #4
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It would of been great to have these joystick back in the day... The joystick I had seemed to last 5 minutes, apart from the zipstick which was fairly robust...

Now I am too used to joypads and currently use a megadrive ascii pad which is flat and has a nice feel to it or a ps2 pad on the pc for emulation...
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Old 15 March 2011, 19:19   #5
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Vote for onebutton pacman.
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Old 15 March 2011, 21:24   #6
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I use to live in Greece in the mid to late 80's and I remember seeing them! They are awesome! I have been looking to buy one lately. Do you know where I can buy one? Are they readably for sale in Greece these days?
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Old 15 March 2011, 21:44   #7
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ebay?
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Old 15 March 2011, 21:52   #8
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I got a tomahawk when I went to Greece in 91 and it has held up well over the years. Really nothing I have ever used comes close. It remains my favourite joystick ever. I even tried to make my own and it just doesnt come close.



Whenever I would play a two player game back in the day, we had to play everything twice each having a turn of using the tomahawk because it such an unfair advantage. I would take it to an atari 2600 owning friends house and totally destroy him at decathalon.

edit: Oh and by the way the Star Cursors in the top left of my first pic are an Australian made joystick so the Aussies were responsible for some quality joysticks too.

Last edited by T_hairy_bootson; 15 March 2011 at 21:59.
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Old 15 March 2011, 22:08   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TjLaZer View Post
I use to live in Greece in the mid to late 80's and I remember seeing them! They are awesome! I have been looking to buy one lately. Do you know where I can buy one? Are they readably for sale in Greece these days?
If you're talking about the first three, like I said they're rare. E-bay? I doubt it... They sometimes appear on Greek sites and they are always sold within minutes. But I listed the links from where you can buy CMS sticks if you're interested.

T_h, fancy that, a Tomahawk in Australia.
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Old 16 March 2011, 11:23   #10
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nice post, just shows you can take something for granted then suddenly its the most important bit in the chain
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Old 16 March 2011, 11:53   #11
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WTF is with the buttons being on the wrong side of all these joysticks!

The Wico Boss has always been my favourite joystick.
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Old 16 March 2011, 15:05   #12
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do you use your left hand with the wico boss?
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Old 16 March 2011, 15:26   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killergorilla View Post
With the exception of "Pacman - two buttons" they all suck because the buttons are on the wrong side
Maybe you are a left hand user, but most people use the right hand on the stick, and left to trigger the button(s), so they are indeed on the good side.. for me at least they are
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Old 16 March 2011, 15:37   #14
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I have had this discussion with KG before, its weird how arcade machines and home joysticks are set up differently.

I blame Atari, but I never had a problem with either way myself.



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Old 16 March 2011, 15:44   #15
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I hate joysticks that have no buttons ON THE STICK (so impossible to play with one hand only)! In my point of view, all the joysticks above just suck.
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Old 16 March 2011, 15:47   #16
killergorilla
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I'm right handed, always have been.

99% of joypads have the direction controls on the left, and most joysticks do now too.

It's mainly the really early sticks which had buttons on the left, until they realised it sucked like that
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Old 16 March 2011, 15:50   #17
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Ah the nintendo generation. That explains it all.


@Predseda: seems you like to keep one hand free for other things.

Last edited by T_hairy_bootson; 16 March 2011 at 15:57.
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Old 16 March 2011, 16:02   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killergorilla View Post
99% of joypads have the direction controls on the left, and most joysticks do now too. It's mainly the really early sticks which had buttons on the left, until they realised it sucked like that
I hate joypads with a passion so I couldn't care less where the little gay cross is placed. I think that whoever thought first of using a THUMB to control a sprite should be executed. "Most joysticks do now"? Joysticks are pretty much extinct now. Anyway, Greeks have always believed in holding the stick with the right hand and almost all arcade cabins that were manufactured in my country were built like that too, unlike the ones that came directly from abroad. To me it makes much more sense because the joystick movements are the ones that require more dexterity so it's only natural for the player to use his right hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Predseda View Post
I hate joysticks that have no buttons ON THE STICK (so impossible to play with one hand only)! In my point of view, all the joysticks above just suck.
Wow, I honestly thought I'd heard every weird desire there was about joysticks but I was wrong.

But I suppose it's natural because with most foreign joysticks you waste one hand just to hold them...
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Old 16 March 2011, 16:20   #19
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I couldn't care less where the little gay cross is placed.
I have nothing to add
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Old 16 March 2011, 16:26   #20
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Nice flame
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