Where do I get joysticks for my Amiga?

From Jonathan's Reference Pages


Amiga-style DB9 joystick port

If you own an Amiga or similar machine, you have at some point owned a small cache of broken joysticks. Those jet fighter style Quickshot controllers looked pretty awesome in the nineties, but were terribly prone to breakage. One of the few survivors is the Competition Pro, the defining image of the joystick with the big red buttons on a black base and the red-ball stick - but good luck finding someone willing to part with theirs.

I was pretty excited, then, to hear that Individual Computers and Speedlink had put the Competition Pro back into production. This is good news for Amiga owners looking to replace worn-out joysticks. The Atari, Commodore 64 and Amstrad used the same joystick standard as the Amiga, and should be compatible with this.

A site called AmigaKit.com supplies the replica Competition Pro joystick, along with a USB version for PC use, and other handy Amiga-related hardware.

Competition Pro: Is it any good?

I own two of the Amiga joysticks and one of the PC joysticks, and I have to say that they're pretty good. You have four fire buttons, all of which (on the Amiga version at least) do the same thing. The switch on the back is not an autofire, but enables or disables the smaller fire buttons in case you want to hold the joystick at that point and use the larger buttons instead.

The connector was a tight fit in my A1200's port, but worked fine. However, it lacks the special features of those snazzy Quickshot controllers such as trigger buttons and autofire; good luck playing games like Apidya which were specifically designed for autofire controllers.

The USB version works just fine for playing I Wanna Be The Guy and under WinUAE. It's silver and blue rather than the traditional red and black, and differs from the Amiga version in that all four fire buttons are separate function, as on a Megadrive or Playstation controller. The switch at the back also functions as an autofire.

Alternatives

I previously bought two used Amiga Quickshot joysticks on eBay. One doesn't move right, the other doesn't fire. I put them in the cupboard with "doesn't move left", "trigger doesn't work" and "doesn't work at all". Your mileage may vary.

The interoperability between consoles means that Atari 2600 / 7800 or Sega Megadrive / Master System /Genesis controllers will work for the Amiga, although most games won't support the Sega joypad's extra buttons. Broken controllers are often possible to repair, if you've got some time and a solder iron (or even some tin foil and tape).

For PC users willing to emulate an Amiga, you've got more options available. You can find USB adaptors for both old and modern game controllers, including Sega Megadrive and Playstation 2 joypads. You can also find new PC joysticks, although these tend to be analogue sticks where the consoles of old are expecting digital, so it's not always a perfect match.

Conclusion

I heartily recommend the Competition Pro remake as a replacement for your broken Amiga or Atari joysticks, and its USB counterpart for those of us who use an emulator or just want to play IWBTG the authentic old-fashioned way.


Page created: 17th August 2008