[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Kraft Premium Joystick

December 1st, 2008 by Benj Edwards

Kraft Premium Joystick Ad - 1983Better than sliced cheese.

[ From Popular Computing, November 1983 ]

Discussion topic of the week: What’s the best Apple II or IBM PC compatible joystick you’ve ever used? It was always hard to find a really good one for platforms with analog joystick inputs.

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9 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Kraft Premium Joystick”

  1. Bill Kendrick Says:

    Hey, I remember using these back in… junior high school? We used them for CAD. First time I encountered the concept of vector graphics (seemingly infinite zoom-in) and analog joysticks (pain in the ass to use).

    And it was slow-as-hell and ugly green… I much prefered my Atari 1200XL at home. I think I tried writing some CAD software in BASIC after school.

  2. Ben Says:

    My friend had one of these… except his said “Tandy” on it. Now I know where RS got them from!

  3. Charles D. Says:

    My favorite joystick for the family Apple IIe was a 3-button stick from CH. The design was almost identical to the Kraft stick shown here. I used to love playing Flight Simulator II and F-15 Strike Eagle using it.

  4. Ant Says:

    I had a Kraft KC3 joystick or something with its splitter to PC and Apple 2s.

  5. Twoflower Says:

    Criminy. I HAD one of these joysticks for my Apple //c. Hated it. The tip was all plastic-toothy and would really wear down your hand (unless you were pinching it delicately to move it around) and it was a massively analog stick, terrible for action games. Only advantage was that it had the ability to unlock auto-returning to center, so you could use it as a pseudomouse thing, not that many apps used it.

    I never found a better stick for my apple, but granted, I wasn’t exactly looking. I was eight or ten at the time, I believe, and didn’t know anything better existed or where I’d find it.

  6. David Moisan Says:

    I had the Coco version. The fire button easily broke, and I remember retrofitting a new switch shortly afterwards. Many owners did the same. Otherwise good stick.

  7. Psittacine Says:

    We had a bunch of these boxy beige joysticks for the Apple 2. Had a metallic red “TG Products” logo on the lower right. Self centering joystick. Actually felt pretty good to use with a very smooth movement. Two really big red fire buttons. I really loved how those buttons felt as they were quite sturdy. Of course, it also had that immensely annoying DIP connector. I always managed to impale my fingers on it when trying to connect up the Koala pad.

  8. Rockin' Kat Says:

    There are three Analog joysticks that I’ve used from “back then” that really stick in my memory.

    (linked pictures are not mine, but they are the same exact kind of joysticks)

    First one was an Archer brand joystick my dad has for his WYSE 286. It had really loud buttons and the stick was maybe a little rubbery…. My dad had maybe a couple games on the comptuer…. one which used the joystick was some kind of ninja game… I mostly just remember getting irritated because the joystick calibration was really easy to get buggered(though not as easy as other joysticks I’ve used)

    The next one was a Gravis joystick a friend of mine had on his IIgs. It’s a very nice joystick with an adjustable auto-center… not just on or off, but it has like 5 settings of tension using a large dial in the base which presses on ball berrings which in turn put force on the springs which make the joystick center…. nice buttons…. the buttons have three-position switches to set each of them to button 1, button 2, or dissabled. A very nice feel… and since you have to calibrate it with jewlers screwdrivers, you’re not likely to lose your settings while in the heat of battle, which can be a massive pain in the ass with other joysticks.. though not my favorite analog joystick…. I honestly really like small joysticks which I can hold in my hands and this thing really needs to be on the desk.


    My favorite joystick though, is a small CH products joystick I have. I have one which just says CH Products presently plugged into my IIgs… I like it because it’s small and can fit in one hand, on which the thumb can push both the fire buttons, while the other hand holds the stick…and can press the fire button on the tip of the stick… the stick also does not feel rubery… it has auto-center which can be shut off…. and my favorite part… the joystick calibration can be set by hand without tools…. it’s on the top… but it is NOT easy to accidently bugger it… it’s set by stiff little knobs .. not sliders, which I hate because they can be easily bumbed, and not screws which are annoying to have to adjust when some game doesn’t center at the same point as others.

    I also have a lot of Mach II joysticks and Mach I’s as well… they are all slightly different…. but in general, CH products(and nockoffs like them) are generally my favorite Analog joysticks…. I recently was very excited to find a Mach I and another brand of joystick of similar size and style for IBM PC at a thrift shop. I have always wanted one, but I always tend to find them for Apple II, and I’ve already got plenty of those(and I’ve got a lot of them since I tend to buy them anyway if the price is right.)

    (this picture is not up yet…. my camera battery is dead… so I’m going to put up a url and put the picture up tomorrow of all my CH joysticks..and maybe some others.)

  9. mariospants Says:

    My parents bought us a similar joystick on my apple ][+ back in the day (i, too was about 8-10 years old at this time). I don’t remember the brand name but it was a similar analog stick in a beige box with two buttons similar to the ones shown here. The base was squared off as it was one piece rather than made into two and there was a telemetry adjuster pot twiddler for each axis. If I recall, it was an 8 bit system that had 0-255 values for both axes but for action games, it was pretty useless. You could easily create a pixel-drawing program for it and my brother once filled in every single pixel on the screen with it (so yeah, it was pretty accurate). The control stick seemed very fragile, but we never broke it.

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