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Atari 2600 Joystick To USB Adapter Announced

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the classic-controller-lust dept.

Classic Games (Games) 53

TheAlchemist writes "AtariAge and Pixels Past have announced the creation of the Stelladaptor 2600 to USB Interface. This new hardware product allows you to connect standard Atari 2600 joysticks, paddles, and driving controllers to modern Windows, Macintosh and Linux computers. They have worked closely with the authors of the excellent z26 Atari 2600 Emulator, and an updated version of z26 for Windows will be released that automatically recognizes when the Stelladaptor is plugged in and allows you to play joystick, paddle, and driving controller games without any additional configuration. You can also use your Atari 2600 joystick and paddle controllers with the popular MAME arcade emulator, and standard Atari 2600 joysticks will work with any emulators that support standard USB controllers. The Stelladaptor will debut at the upcoming PhillyClassic 5 gaming expo later this month."

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53 comments

Hmmm (5, Informative)

Predathar (658076) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489360)

The joystick was awful, I always found it hard to use and that it lacked buttons (only has 1). The paddle however was cool.

But if you wanted some nice controllers, Coleco had them, the wheel and the pedals rocked, the super sized controllers for the sports games were great (although I kept getting blisters with them) with the little roller, the 4 buttons, and when you used it, it looked like a killer glove to hit someone with, not that I ever did, mind you :)

Re:Hmmm (1)

nic barajas (750051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489379)

Coleco controllers were a bit weird -- I remember playing with my brother's ColecoVision and the number-pad controller. The driving wheel and pedals were way cool, though.

[Tear] I miss the good old days.

Re:Hmmm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489400)

"I remember playing with my brother's penis"
TOo much info, pal.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489488)

god, is there really some kind of internet explorer thing to change ColecoVision to penis? it seesm two ACs has this happen to them, because konqueror says "ColecoVision" where you think it says penis. how odd.

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489504)

((god, is there really some kind of internet explorer thing to change penis to vacuum cleaner? it seesm two ACs has this happen to them, because konqueror says "penis" where you think it says vacuum cleaner. how odd.))

whoa...that's weird

Re:Hmmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489916)

The only error on that other AC's computer exists between the keyboard and the chair. He's just trolling. Haven't you even noticed the odd posts that crop up when you browse at -1 threshold?

Re:Hmmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489989)

why were there two ACs who thought the same thing?

and why is this AC still responding as an AC?

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489423)

Coleco controllers were a bit weird -- I remember playing with my brother's penis and the number-pad controller. The driving wheel and pedals were way cool, though.

WTF???

Re:Hmmm (2, Informative)

zonker (1158) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489430)

for the most part the coleco controllers were good, the only problems were that it was sometimes hard to do and ^ instead of a as you had to be a little precise about how you pushed the knob. also i found that i lost most of the command inserts for the controllers early on.

but yeah, the steering wheel with sega's turbo was awesome at the time.

Re:Hmmm (1)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489535)

"The joystick was awful, I always found it hard to use and that it lacked buttons (only has 1). The paddle however was cool."

Back in the day, my dad worked at K-Mart as an electronics salesman. I was not the most behaved little boy. It scared the hell out of me whenever he talked about bringing a paddle home.

Breakout was fun, though.

Finally.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489372)

Us old skool soldiers can bust out the old kit, to break bricks, catch bombs in three baskets.

And don't forget... (4, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489377)

that while the Atari 2600 joysticks were awful, you also should be able to use the full range of Commodore 64 joysticks were were identical, or Sega Genesis controllers (where you use the "B" button as the single fire key).

(Personally, while I enjoy many 2600 games the joystick is a completely loser for me, especially the ones I've used which tend to be old and only marginally working anyhow. Plug one of those other controllers in and the game immediately becomes more fun. Interestingly, sometimes it immediately becomes easier too, and I'm not a fan of a game being difficult because the controller is fighting you.)

I can't completely guarentee this since I haven't tried it but I see no reason it shouldn't work.

Re:And don't forget... (2, Informative)

TheAlchemist (89319) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489616)

Yes, any joysticks that are electrically equivalent to the original Atari 2600 joysticks will work fine with the adapter. We've tested several different types, such as the great Epyx 500XJ joysticks.

Instant Nostalgia! (2, Interesting)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489386)

I've got a joystick that I used with my C64 that was built from arcade parts...

I love the idea that I will now be able to hook it back up to my current computer and play games in my C-64 emulator or MAME...

damn 30 bucks (3, Insightful)

cyrax777 (633996) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489415)

for the same price i could buy one of those atari joysticks that plugs into my tv and have money left over!

Re:damn 30 bucks (2, Informative)

TheAlchemist (89319) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489594)

While the various controller units with built-in games are cool, you are limited to the few games built into those controllers. And with the ones I've tried so far (the Atari and Activision 10-in-1 units), the games aren't quite identical to the original versions. Also, the base of the one based on an Atari joystick is a bit thicker than a real 2600 joystick, so it's not quite as comfortable to hold (in my opinion).

Additionally, being able to use 2600 controllers with your computer means you are not limited to just playing 2600 games, but can use any emulators that support USB controllers.

gotta love technology (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489418)

A simple old joystick, probably a couple pots or rotary encoders, driving some simple ultra-low-res blocky graphics.

Never mind the massive amounts of hi-tech complexity in between.. just to get the same result as an old box of 7400-series logic chips.

And this old box 1) "booted" immediately, just turn it on, 2) didn't get viruses, 3) didn't leak your credit card number to a script kiddy in Russia.

*shakes head*

I don't know what the exact point of this post is, except it makes me want to shake my fist at the screen and say "These kids today... " :-)

Re:gotta love technology (2, Funny)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489665)

"And this old box 1) "booted" immediately, just turn it on, 2) didn't get viruses, 3) didn't leak your credit card number to a script kiddy in Russia."

It also wasn't very satisfactory in the porn department, either.

Re:gotta love technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8491847)

A simple old joystick, probably a couple pots or rotary encoders

For interest's sake, the Atari standard joystick is ... four switches (and the button). No pots, no enocoders, no proportional control. You push the stick along one axis and it pushes the switch.

This is why the WICO joysticks were so much better, they used actual microswitches in there, as opposed to bumps of solder on the circuit board for contacts.

awesome!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489427)

Now somebody needs to come up with a USB card that can go in the 2600 itself, and then we can use this adapter to connect the joysticks direc... hey wait a minute!!!

I had to check the calendar... (3, Funny)

Tricot (12160) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489437)

I thought it was a little early for April Fool's jokes, but an Atari 2600 joystick to USB adapter sounded just about as plausible as a new PCI based Z80 coprocessor card,

Truth is stranger than TCP over Avian Transport.
-- Mitch

Re:I had to check the calendar... (2, Insightful)

oskillator (670034) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489840)

It's not so surprising, really. People can get quite attached to the specific interfaces they're used to.

And there's really no harm in it; human interface hardware becomes obsolete much more slowly than CPUs or storage, because human interfaces are already limited by how fast a human can go. Keyboards and mice, e.g., haven't changed much since the 70s.

Atari 2600 (3, Informative)

BladeMelbourne (518866) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489453)

My parents were cheap - we only had 3 games:
* enduro (car racing)
* donkey kong (only 2 levels that repeated)
* tennis

I would have killed for that centipede game!

By far tennis was the most lame. We had two joysticks - whoever had the more expensive one (that form fitted the hand better, had more buttons) always won in a 2P game. The cheap joystick was literally like a chopstick sticking out of a box, it didn't even have suction pads to stick to the table surface.

Most people do not know that inside an Atari 2600 is a variable pot. Soldered onto the PCB is a component with a groove for a flat-head scredriver. It fine-tunes the RF being sent to your TV - if only I had known about it ~20 years ago!

http://www.mikeskinner.net/

Can make your own... (2, Informative)

baywulf (214371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489585)

With some resistors and DB9/DB25 connectors.

http://www.epanorama.net/documents/joystick/pc_c ir cuits.html#fake

Re:Can make your own... (1)

Shiifty (704247) | more than 10 years ago | (#8490899)

Digital joysticks for the PC are very easy to make. The hard part is getting foreign joysticks/pads to work with the PC (like the NES, PSX, Atari, etc). Although the Atari joystick and paddles are a very simple design, the adapter circuit required is rather complex. You could always hack up your original joystick, or you can make an adapter.

PC Atari (last updated 2000?) allows joysticks *and* paddles connected via the parallel port using a special circuit. The schematics are in their documentation. I've never tried it. http://www.classicgaming.com/pcae/ [classicgaming.com]

Re:Can make your own... (1)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 10 years ago | (#8491338)

Getting things to work on USB isn't as trival as the parallel port.

Re:Can make your own... (1)

Kris_J (10111) | more than 10 years ago | (#8493289)

Yes, but that's for the parallel port which, if my experience with the Bung GB Xchanger and Windows XP Pro is anything to go by (ie; it doesn't work), is an even worse option now than it used to be. That's if your PC still has one.

broken sticks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8489704)

The atari controllers are so prone to breaking I'd think they would be hard to come by. I would rather conserve my joystick for games I must play on a real 2600 than waste them on a computer where alternatives can be used.

If I'm going to emulate and care enough to do something like this, I'll just buy a nice arcade concole and then I can play MAME games, too. Or maybe just instead since a large number of 2600 games were just arcade ports.

Granted, if I need my paddles for pong I guess this is how I'd get them.

atariage is great. (1)

Suppafly (179830) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489837)

atariage is great, they are always release remade and new games and sponsering contests to design new labels and such. it's awesome how much interest lives on today for such an old console.

Re:atariage is great. (1)

kisrael (134664) | more than 10 years ago | (#8490683)

Yeah, they're really great with the homebrew community, they're helping me put my in development game JoustPong [alienbill.com] into actual hardware for release at PhillyClassic.

Had one of those Atari sticks... (1)

Korpo (558173) | more than 10 years ago | (#8489841)

And those st1x suxx0rs. No, really!

But the standard they created rocks! While the Atari stick broke in the 1st year after I had inherited it (darn you Summer/Winter/California Games!), my Competition Pro, I bought at 1st with my C64 is still alive today, and survived any other choice for secondary stick...

Nearly immediately after the switch to a PC I stopped playing arcade or action games completely, because without those good ole simple sticks games weren't really fun to play. And all because of that shitty flight sim!

the best joystick ever (2, Interesting)

prockcore (543967) | more than 10 years ago | (#8490007)

the best joystick I ever used was an Apple][ joystick

Pictures are here [mac.com]

It just had the perfect feel and was fairly well built. It was the only joystick I've ever seen survive Decathalon.

The One True Joystick (1)

johannesg (664142) | more than 10 years ago | (#8490079)

this one [funet.fi] . I've had mine since the day I first bought my first computer, and despite heavy use I've never broken one of these babies. And thanks to this gadget, I look forward to using it again!

Re:The One True Joystick (1)

MrBoombasticfantasti (593721) | more than 10 years ago | (#8491365)

You are quite right! I too consider myself lucky to own one of these great sticks. Not only is it extremely unlikely that it would break, but if it does it is very easy to repair. I'm sure it is the last joystick I've ever bought and it will surely last well into the next millenium.

Relatively simple to do (1)

JensR (12975) | more than 10 years ago | (#8490275)

You can get eprom/flash/ram based USB controllers that handle all USB communication and provide a some I/O ports. Similar to the PIC.
By the way, nothing beats the Competition Pro!

I'll be getting one (1)

necronom426 (755113) | more than 10 years ago | (#8490299)

This is good news. I have never been able to play old games on emulators without using a proper joystick. If WinUAE works with this I will get one straight away for WinUAE and MAME. Hopefully C64 emulators will support it as well.

My personal choice of joystick is probably the most popular joystick used with the Amiga. I present... The Zipstick:

See this eBay search for pics [ebay.co.uk]

not only atari joysticks. (2, Informative)

Gadzinka (256729) | more than 10 years ago | (#8490374)

Back in the day, when the world was young there was only one standard for joysticks, the Atari joystick. It was one button and four directions (plus four semidirections).

So if you have a joystick from your old C64, Amiga, Spectrum (connected via interface), Amstrad, Atari (XL, XE, ST, or any Atari console), you can use it with this controler on your PC.

There were other joysticks using this same plug, but different wiring (Sega, MSX, afair Nintendo), so if the interface doesn't have switches you can't use them.

Some of them were really cool, and 10 year old Quickshot joysticks are still working fine, in contrary to my overpriced badly designed joysticks bought a year or two ago.

Robert

Sega Genesis (1)

Apreche (239272) | more than 10 years ago | (#8490404)

The Sega Genesis controller has the same plug as the atari 2600 joystick. In fact you can plug sega genesis controllers into ataris and play just fine. You can also plug atari joysticks onto a genesis, but you will lack some buttons. So I assume that a sega genesis to USB converter, which has existed for awhile, would work just fine for a 2600 joystick. No news here, move along.

Re:Sega Genesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8491524)

The Stelladaptor doesn't only support JOYSTICKS, it supports the original Atari PADDLES and DRIVING CONTROLLERS, too. Does the Sega Genesis USB adapter that you are talking about do that? I don't think so. And, since the Sega Genesis pad is 2600-compatible (with button B as the fire button), you could use Stelladaptor for the USB interface there, too. Creating a USB interface for an 8-direction joystick is not groundbreaking news. Paddle and DC support, which has not been previously done, is.

Re:Sega Genesis (1)

bloo9298 (258454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8493968)

Do you have a link to a place selling a Genesis to USB converter? I haven't had much luck finding one.

Re:Sega Genesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8495788)

RetroZone [sealiecomputing.com] has had NES, SNES, Genesis, and Atari USB controllers and adapters for a while. Cheaper prices too.

Looks good, but.... (1)

gozar (39392) | more than 10 years ago | (#8492646)

I would have rather seen two 9-pin ports on it, so I can play two player games. I don't see myself wanting to spend $30 for one player games.

Any ideas why they didn't put two ports on it?

KABOOM!! (1)

Xenolith (538304) | more than 10 years ago | (#8493413)

Now I can use the Atari paddles for use with KaBoom! and other paddle games. Wooty woot. My Mame joystick was more than adequate for the Joystick games, but the spinner was no good for KaBoom! I scored over 23000 with my 18 year old reflexes, I wonder what my 40 year old reflexes will do?

Yeah, I agree, the Atari joysticks were no good. That's why I bought those a red ball Wico joysticks. I am looking forward to using those again also.

Whee! (1)

WWWWolf (2428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8493517)

This will let people use the One True Joystick [passagen.se] on modern hardware.

I could have sworn I've seen an Atari-to-USB adapter before, though, but maybe it was just an Atari-to-PCJoystick adapter after all... frankly, it's strange that no one has come up with these before.

I have had one complaint about USB: It's not so easy for random people to make hardware based on USB. Back in the C64 days, everyone who could hold a soldering iron could make all sorts of weird widgets to connect to the computer. Especially controllers. Almost everyone I knew who had any kind of access to parts had built themselves a reset switch or a game controller, or in latter times, an 1541-to-PC cable (I, with more than a little help from my father, have done all three =) ... can't say that's going to take off on PC world, unless "legacy adapters" like these joystick adapters or serial-to-USB adapters take off!

This reminds me (1)

ReyTFox (676839) | more than 10 years ago | (#8493937)

That I really need a joystick, myself. Gamepads with thumbstick just don't cut it for games that expect precision movement.

Any recommendations?

this has been done before: nes to usb too! (1)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 10 years ago | (#8494266)

check out retrozone [sealiecomputing.com] they sell mod'ed original joysticks that have been "converted" (liberated?) to USB interfaces.

They do NES, SNES, atari and more... You can send your controller to them and they'll usb-afy it. *shrug*

e.
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