Joysticks

The first attempts to drive the machine using coordinates entered with 2D electronic controllers were made during World War II in Von Braun's research of V2 rocket and Henschel Hs 293 remote controlled missile. Later, joysticks were common in NASA space program in 1960s and they spread to hobbyists in radio-controlled models. In 1970s and 80s paddles equipped with resistance trimmers became insufficient for controlling early video games, as they were able only to work in one dimension, so joysticks started to be used.
Most (if not all) joysticks in microcomputers are digital ones, which means that they use on/off switches for every direction instead of trimmers. They are cheap and not reliable, as their contacts may wear out very quickly. There are many types of technology used in these contacts, but it's simpler to divide them to two: Joysticks with conductive contact switches similar to these used in remote controllers (or metal membrane switches like in calculators, grounded metal contacting PCB track or neutral metal contacting two tracks together) were cheaper, but less reliable than more expensive joysticks with microswitches.
The usual standard for these devices, called Atari standard, uses DB9 female plug at the joystick and is used not only in Atari computers, but in Commodore 64s, amigas and many other computers too. Exceptions are Amstrad, MSX and some Spectrum interfaces.



Atari Game Stick 2
atari.png Atari standard (Atari, C64/128/VIC-20, Amiga)
Manufactured by: Atari
Manufactured for: Atari video games / 800XL
Technology: Metal membrane
Additional capabilities:
 - None, except its unusual shape...

 


 

This joystick, released with video game consoles in 1983, has been used in microcomputers as it was cheap and compatible. Metal membrane mechanism gave good stick reliability, but button "pistons" which pushed membranes were made of thin plastic and sometimes they broke off.

 


Atari Joystick
Atari standard (Atari, C64/128/VIC-20, Amiga)
Manufactured by: ?Atari?

Manufactured for: Atari XL computers, some video games
Technology: Metal springs
Addiditonal capabilities:
 - None except being the most known joystick, and the symbol of 8-bit gaming era.
 
Well known gaming joysticks, which became symbol of 1980s 8-bit gaming era. Their mechanism gives uniform, durable yoke, but poor contacts based on PCB tracks shorted by metal springs.
My unit is probably not genuine Atari one.

 


 


QuickShot QS-129F
atari.png amstrad.png Atari standard (Atari, Commodore)
Amstrad CPC, MSX, Sega consoles
Manufactured by: QuickShot

Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore, CPC, MSX, Sega video games (selectable by switch)
Technology: Rubber membrane
Additional capabilities:
 - Unusual shape, more ergonomic in some games
 - Autofire.
 - Compatible with many standards.

 

The unusual shape of its joystick is useful in games where fast switching of directions is needed - it can be used only with thumbs. Unfortunately using cheap rubber membrane mechanism made this joystick less reliable.

The switching is:
 - A - Atari standard
 - B - MSX
 - C - Amstrad
 - D - Sega





 


QuickShot QS-130F
atari.png amstrad.png Atari standard (Atari, Commodore)
Amstrad CPC, MSX, Sega consoles
Manufactured by: QuickShot

Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore, CPC, MSX, Sega video games (selectable by switch)
Technology: Rubber membrane
Additional capabilities:
 - Autofire
 - Switch to select compatible computers.

 

Autofire switch is located on the stick itself. This joystick was used with 8-bit microcomputers such as Atari and was sold in early 1990s.

The switching is:
 - A - Atari standard
 - B - MSX
 - C - Amstrad
 - D - Sega

My unit's autofire requires to press fire button to activate, maybe it's this way or maybe it's damaged.


 

 


QuickShot QS-131
Atari standard (Atari, C64/128/VIC-20, Amiga)
Manufactured by: QuickShot
Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore/Amiga
Technology: Metal contacts
Additional capabilities:
 - None

 

 

I got this unit with Amiga and it's working quite nicely. It's built with metal springs touching PCB tracks when  joystick is used. Here springs are part of circuit, so only one track needs to be shorted for a direction. More reliable than 2-track joysticks.


 


Sinclair Joystick
spectrum.png Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2/+3
Manufactured by: Sinclair
Manufactured for: Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2, +3
Technology: Membrane?
Additional capabilities:
 - Nothing excitig here...
 
Special joysticks used with ZX spectrum +2 computer. I have 2 units, one with red and one with yellow buttons.


 


Spectravideo SV-102
atari.png Atari standard (Atari, C64/128/VIC-20, Amiga)
Manufactured by: Spectraviedo

Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore
Technology: Metal contacts
Additional capabilities:
 - Autofire.
 

 

Spectravideo made many good joysticks which were produced and marketed as QuickJoy too. This one is the simplest one, only with autofire function.


 


Spectravideo SVI-102 Plus (QuickShot II)
atari.png Atari standard (Atari, C64/128/VIC-20, Amiga)
Manufactured by: Spectravideo

Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore
Technology: Microswitch
Additional capabilities:
  - Autifore
  - More reliable than SV-102

 

 

In 1984 Spectravideo renamed  their products from SV to SVI, but nothing more happened.
The only difference between SV-102 and SVI-102 plus is switching technology - Plus model is more reliable as it uses microswitches instead of metal contacts.

This model has been marketed as QuickShot II Plus.

  

 


Spectravideo SV-121
atari.png Atari standard (Atari, C64/128/VIC-20, Amiga)
Manufactured by: Spectravideo
Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore
Technology: Metal contacts.
Additional capabilities:
 - Nothing interesting.

 


 

The simplest SVI model, sold as QuickJoy QJ I Turbo. No autofire, only Atari standard supported.

     

 


Spectravideo SV-123
atari.png amstrad.png
Atari standard (Atari, Commodore, Amiga)
Amstrad CPC
Manufactured by: Spectravideo
Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore/Amstrad CPC
Technology: Microswitches
Additional capabilities:
 - Autofire
 - Amstrad CPC support by switch

Very popular joysticks known as QuickJoy Supercharger, QJ III Supercharger / SuperJoy III or variations of these. Thanks to microswitches it's reliable,  and it has CPC support activated with switch.


(inside SV-123 you can see microswitches, one is damaged - broken spring fell out of casing)

        

 


Spectravideo SV-124
atari.png amstrad.png Atari standard (Atari, Commodore, Amiga)
Amstrad CPC
Manufactured by: Spectravideo
Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore, Amstrad CPC
Technology: Microswitches
Additional capabilities:
 - Simpe autofire
 - Amstrad CPC support

 


 

Sold as QuickJoy II Turbo. Sometomes sold with NES-clone game consoles.

   

 

 


Spectravideo SV-126
atari.png amstrad.png Atari standard (Atari, Commodore, Amiga)
Amstrad CPC
Manufactured by: Spectravideo
Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore, Amstrad CPC
Technology: Microswitches
Additional capabilities:
 - Two level (frequency) autofire.
 - Amstrad CPC support

 


 

Sold as QuickJoy JetFighter, it was known as reliable, but quite loud joystick. Yes, loud as microswitches made  clicking sound while switching on and off. Another feature not commonly seen is two level autofire.

  

 


Spectravideo SV-111
atari.png amstrad.png
Atari standard (Atari, Commodore, Amiga)
Amstrad CPC
Manufactured by: Spectravideo
Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore, Amstrad CPC
Technology: Microswitches
Capabilities:
 - Autofire
 - Amstrad CPC support.

 

 

 


 

Marketed as QuickShot II Turbo, or QS-111 (licensed versions), was quite good as it used microswitches. However, some units are equipped with metal contacts.


 


QuickJoy Superboard V SV-125
atari.png amstrad.png
Atari standard (Atari, Commodore, Amiga)
Amstrad CPC
Manufactured by: Spectravideo
Manufactured for: Atari/Commodore, Amstrad CPC
Technology: Microswitches
Capabilities:
 - Autofire with 3 frequency levels
 - Amstrad CPC support.
 - 3 pairs of Fire buttons, switchable: Stick, base left, base right.
 - Battery-powered stopwatch with alarm (AA type cell required)
 
It was known as very "professional" joystick, at least in Poland. And it was very expensive. But technology was the same, microswitches, the only new things were 3-level autofire, additional Fire buttons and stopwatch.
Stopwatch required 1 AA 1.5V cell. It can count down in minutes and, when time goes out, it beeps until button is pressed.