[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Flippin’ Enjoystick

October 20th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

Enjoystick - Compute 1983(click for full advertisement)

[ From COMPUTE!, November 1983 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What’s the worst video game controller you’ve ever used?

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18 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Flippin’ Enjoystick”

  1. Jay Says:

    Worst? Has to go to the original Atari CX45, the standard Atari first-party joystick from the 2600 well on into the later days (I believe the same piece of junk was even the standard stick for the ST). As others have said in many places, flimsy, uncomfortable, poor feedback, shoddy construction… and that was be right-handers. As a lefty, that bloody single-fire-button-in-the-upper-left-corner trick made the blasted thing beyond painful to use.

    What a piece of trash hardware that was. Fortunately there were tons of third-party alternatives. My old Suncom TAC2 wasn’t so bad as a replacement (though the supposedly “improved” TAC3 had lousy fire buttons and a ridiculously long throw, and generally stunk).

  2. Geoff V. Says:

    Wow, tough call. I had an Apple II controller that was built for a pygmy child. The fire button was too close to the stick, so you could only operate the stick with the top of a finger. Couple that with very weak return springs and a 4.5′ cord and you had a migraine waiting to happen.

    Now, if you want to qualify the “Nintendo Power Glove” as a joystick… I think it wins hands down.

  3. Daniel Says:

    Wow. For some reason that picture confuses the crap out of me!

    P.S. I love the blog! Keep up the good work!

  4. Derek Quenneville Says:

    The Epyx 500XJ, the official wireless Atari 2600 joysticks, the Power Glove, and the Xbox 360 D-pad.

  5. David Moisan Says:

    The original Radio Shack joysticks for the Tandy CoCo were pretty bad. It was common for the fire buttons to break and they were not self-centering. I eventually got a third-party stick; I don’t recall the make, but it was one of the nicer models with trim pots and self-centering, like you’d see on a model plane controller.

  6. Cozmo Says:

    I had several different joysticks for the 2600…the wireless ones (actually used them quite a bit, but boy were they a brick), the Tron version with suction cups on the bottom, and probably the worst was one that came with some space game…it was two-handed with the button on top and a “radar”-like display pasted in the middle.

  7. SirPaul Says:

    The NES Max. Definitely. The weird control… thing was just too hard for me to use.

  8. Layne Says:

    The Atari 2600 keypad was pretty bad…..at least for me….I didn’t have the best of luck with the overlays, so had to memorize the button positions if I wanted to use them….wound up only learning a few of the more crucial ones and eventually didn’t even play the game much (too many other games were much better — Yar’s Revenge, anyone?)


  9. Layne Says:

    BTW, as an ambidextrous person, even *I* don’t get that joystick…..it looks like the fire button piece was detatchable (in other words: lost easily) and you could flip it over so that the fire button moved from one side to the other……why not just put a fire button on each side….had to have cost less to make that way, cheaper to engineer, etc. But I guess then, no one would have bought the ugly thing.


  10. Craig A. Betts Says:

    I think that is a tie for me between the Atari 5200 and ColecoVision controllers. I would always have some serious hand cramps after fifteen minutes of play. I finally broke down and built a custom controller for the ColecoVision I saw in a magazine (sorry, don’t remember what magazine it was) that used a Wico arcade stick mounted on an old push button desk phone. As far as the 5200, never found a good replacement. I think Wico had something out there, but by the time it did, the 5200 was pretty much dead and buried.

  11. Jim Ulrich Says:

    Couldn’t find out too much about this company, but I did find out that they made joysticks and games for the 2600 and joysticks and trackballs for Apple computers. They probably went out of business during the videogame crash of ’83.


  12. Bob Says:

    I know the 5200 controller gets a bad rap but I thought it was okay as long as you cleaned it every week. Pain in the butt. I think the worst is the o.g. Gameboy advance. It always made my hands numb.

  13. Chris Says:

    The Colecovision controller, hands down. It equalled pain if you played any more than 2 hours.

  14. Layne Says:

    No update on the joystick you refer to, but I did find this: http://www.chromesphere.com/coleco/index.html

    and this:

    Both of which are probably interesting.


  15. Matt Says:

    For the NES, I had a controller called “NES Max.” The buttons were fine, but the directional pad was replaced by the control pad was terrible. Instead of cross, you had to move around a little circle inside of a bigger circle, and then push down on the circle. In addition to turning moving into a 2-step process, it was terribly unresponsive.

  16. walmartcartpusher Says:

    The Nintendo Gamecube Controller, The Atari Jaguar pad, and for a slightly less vintage touch the Wii Classic controller (the wire goes toward you to attach to the Wii’mote).

  17. Malon Romani Cremia Says:

    @walmartcartpusher: what’s your beef with the Cube’s controller?

    Anyway, I’ll go with the ColecoVision Super Action Controller, the Jaguar pad, and the NES Max.

  18. Jason Says:

    I bought a pair of these Enjoysticks and they are far from the worst, in fact quite close to the very best, especially for the 2600. .. The controllers were a big barrier for me on the 2600 and the Enjoystick bridged the gap perfectly. I was looking for something like the Vectrex analog thumbstick and this is as close as I’ve come. I’m not sure what is going on electronically but there are some analogy looking potentiometers inside of the Enjoystick and it has a very smooth centering action. The fire button leaves something to be desired but it is still leaps and bounds ahead of the standard Atari stick even in that department. .. Obviously this does not substitute real analog for the natively digital VCS directional controls, but it feels so sweet. Moving diagonally is quite easy.

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