[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Super Gorilla Advantage

March 3rd, 2008 by Benj Edwards

SNES Super Advantage - Asciiware - Gorilla Magazine Ad

It's true: most controllers can't stand up to the intense punishment delivered by the average Donkey Kong Country player. That's why Asciiware created the Super Advantage joystick for the SNES. It's built "gorilla tough" for "gorilla games."

Woah there — don't try using this sophisticated piece of technology on a non-gorilla game, or that tiny gorilla (pictured) will jump out of the controller and smack you. Just a warning: he goes straight for the eyes.

Discussion topic of the week: What if standard joysticks looked like this in the Atari 2600 era? How would games have been different?

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6 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] The Super Gorilla Advantage”

  1. Jim Ulrich Says:

    I thought the Super Advantage came out well before DKC. It's odd that it would advertised for use with that game. I think that the Super Advantage would have sold better if it used the 3 X 3 button layout for fighting games because IIRC, the Super Advantage was around $50 and Capcom's fighting controller was around $75. I found this site that mentions various SNES controllers:
    http://www.gamersgraveyard.com/repository/snes/peripherals/controllers.html
    As for topic of the week: I can't imagine a 2600 game that would use all those buttons. It seemed like all those buttons would make gameplay too confusing for that era of video games.

  2. Jay Says:

    If 2600 controllers looked like the Super Advantage…

    Defender would still have sucked.

  3. Zoyous Says:

    In my opinion, the control scheme for the 2600 version of Defender was actually a lot more elegant and intuitive than Williams's original arcade coin-op version. Even as a reckless youth, loose with the tokens, Defender intimidated me in the arcades.

    Now when I look back at the brilliant elegance of Joust (one of my top 5 coin-ops of all time*), I am baffled by how the same company could come up with the clunky array of buttons that were featured in Defender.

    *My top 5 coin-ops of all time are a nebulous, amorphous lot that are never listed all at once and could possibly include dozens more than just five.

  4. Layne Says:

    This joystick doesn't feature a layout that seems to be that friendly, either…..with buttons that size and on a flat surface, the desire would be to use the fingers laying across all of the buttons (Street Fighter is a prime example). The angle would mean that you would have to cock your wrist to lay across the primary buttons which would lead to RSI's more than likely. Also, most SNES games gave a preference to the four buttons on top (rightly so), so you are forced to do a lot of finger movement which again takes away from the benefit of the controller.

    And if the controller looked like this for the 2600, I don't think it would have been a success. Graphics weren't there to support that many inputs (bombs and missles and lasers would all look the same even if you shot them from different buttons) and part of the appeal was that anyone could play the games (even my sisters) because there were only two things you could do: move and shoot. Once people became used to playing games, the added complexity was not as big of a stretch…..just like any other technology, you need that gradual ramp up from simple to complex or you alienate the people that can make it a success.

    Layne

  5. Benj Edwards Says:

    Many games on the 2600 could have benefited from two buttons (i.e. one to jump, and one to shoot, or one to shoot missiles, one to shoot bombs, etc.), but I agree that six would have been a stretch. :) On the other hand, some games were complicated enough that they had to use either a second controller as extra input (think Raiders of the Lost Ark) or they used the B/W-Color and Difficulty switches to toggle extra functions (think Star Raiders and the like). Still, if the 2600′s controller looked like this, I think people would have just given up and gone home without trying it. :) Any other thoughts?

  6. Dennis - SGMM Says:

    I still have one.

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