Controllers - what do you like, use and own?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by power, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. power

    power Member

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    I've wanted to chat about this for a bit as a specific topic rather than in a sub-topic. A big part of the retro experience for me is about the original controllers that shipped with the machine as I believe these connect me with the games in the most authentic way, i know i'm not alone in this but i also know that many people have preferred controllers they like to use with everything it's also a little weird as I spent a long time using third party stuff during the Amiga era. Where do you land?

    Watching a 10 minute video where a guy talks about the old paddles from the 2600 reminded me I wanted to make this thread!

    Feel free to share photos of your collection of controllers too I'd love to see what people use and for what and how they rate them overall. I will share mine at some point - i have a few. :)

    Any tips on variations, repairs and reproduction parts or controllers is also welcome - this is the great big controller thread, have at it.



     
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  2. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    I have a few posts in me, but I'll start on the Xbox 360. That was the first time I really thought about controllers. I guess games and their control schemes were becoming much more complex in the 00's, and I started to feel like there were some holes in controller design.

    On the 360 I'm an "index fingers on triggers" player, not comfortable with the "praying mantis" style grip that places the index fingers up on the bumpers. But my grip means you have six fingers sitting idle on the bottom of the controller. What a waste! So I added some buttons to the bottom, which were just extensions of the bumpers:

    IMG_20200912_181725.jpg

    My favourite use of this was dropping bombs from planes in BF1943. Soon afterwards, I also ran the bumpers out to a 3.5 jack on the side of the controller. This allowed me to connect a base that I built - basically a project box with an arcade button on each side (long gone and sadly no pics). This gave me pinball flippers, which made PinballFX a heap of fun to play. Amazing how such a small thing can ramp up the immersion.

    IMG_20200912_181804.jpg

    That thing had Kontrolfreek stick caps on it at one point too. Quite a beautiful Frankenhorror :D

    Of course the eternal complaint with the 360 controller was the d-pad. Once I started getting into XBLA titles, I had to pick up a Hori EX Turbo too:

    hori ex turbo.png
     
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  3. darkmenace

    darkmenace Member

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    The bulk of my gaming is retro these days and for shear comfort, convenience and broad compatibility I use a PS3 DualShock 3 controller which works well for most things.

    I have a heap of knock off snes, nes,mega drive controllers and whilst they work they’re cheap crap. I am looking forward at some stage to grabbing some quality mega drive controllers by either retro-bit or 8bitdo to do my 8/16 bit gaming “properly”. Should have got one ages ago, but haven’t gotten around to it.

    Once my mancave is built out the back I am going to upgrade my arcade machine controllers and other components and aet that up out there.

    For light gun gaming I have an aimtrak gun, which I really like. I really should set it up for mame, but haven’t found the time yet.
     
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  4. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Using my 8BitDo SF30 Pro for the bulk of my non-original console gaming. I do have a gripe with the d-pad - something seems off, and certain directions feel touchier than others. Certainly nowhere near as nice as genuine SNES controllers.

    Other people have said the same, and the current mod advice is to place ring binder "o-ring" stickers over the contacts as a fix. I've got myself some, and will give that a go soon and report back.
     
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  5. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    Thx power, for starting this thread.. i too am in the very same boat as you with authentic controllers adding to the feel and complete the experience as to how it /used/ to be.

    For me it's nearly AS important as the system itself, maybe more so. There are a few exceptions to the rule for me, N64 comes to mind quickly, I hates those controllers.. completely hated them even though they worked perfect.

    For each system, I have original controllers, and as said, I've bought knockoffs that look the same, and work okay, but something is off.. Nes , SNES, GC and N64 new remade controllers, yeah I am looking at you.

    Sfunny, I just realized they are all those cheap Nintendo eBay controllers.. lol I have boxes of them.. completly shit..

    I can't really comment on the generation after the original Xbox, as I never really played those much. My retro console experience of serious gaming pretty much ended after the PS2.

    The biggest change for me is with the C64, where I finally tracked down the exact joystick (Epyx) conic speedking I had as a kid before modding my own arcade stick to use with the system.

    For me, it's pretty important.

    I've modded quite a few of my own controllers in the past, some long gone, but one I specifically use with Mister as I generally use that for consoles I never owned or couldent afford back in the day.

    neostick10.jpg
    Sanwa buttons... Ftw!! :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
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  6. g12345567

    g12345567 Member

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    I'd also agree with the terrible d-pad on the Xbox 360 wireless controllers. The memorex wireless Wii remote combo is probably the worst controller I own.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2020
  7. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Ignore the fact that this was compiled on MiSTer - this list has very accurate test methodology that measures game device input latency (see the last page for the test procedure):

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet...yqg6qCJzGuhyGmXaOIUrpfncXIM/edit?usp=drivesdk

    Covered are a variety of gamepads, joysticks, input controllers (boards you can install inside things to make your own controls), wired devices, serial wireless and Bluetooth devices.

    One big caveat is that these are tested under a Linux kernel. However I would consider Windows and Mac old and new on par for the benchmarks in all cases.

    If fast responding devices are critical to you, definitely check it out.
     
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  8. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    I skimmed through this video and saw the ibuffalo classic (snes) controller was regarded as particularly low latency, I assume some of the discussion is based on this list.

    I picked one of these up years ago and I'm sure I didn't pay the price tag that is on them now.
     
  9. Daft_Munt

    Daft_Munt Member

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    Here are a few of my sticks. The MD stick still works after all the punishment it got SF2 and MK2-3 games years ago. I somehow kept it after selling my original console and games 25 years ago.

    Click to view full size!
     
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  10. OP
    OP
    power

    power Member

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    look at me not contributing to my own thread. Daft_Munt I also have that stick, bought it from Eddie's Retro not long ago to plug into my Amiga.

    OK

    So I have quite a lot of sticks, pads, wheels and such.

    Here's a couple of PC gamepads and an old stick of mine.

    this thing was pretty amazing for racing games, it was only missing analogue triggers, apart from that it's basically a modern gamepad.

    upload_2020-10-7_17-30-26.png

    this one actually has motion control (spoiler it's not amazing) I bought this to play Crimson Skies!

    upload_2020-10-7_17-31-14.png

    and finally this guy, eh it's ok.

    upload_2020-10-7_17-31-48.png
     
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  11. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    I've been documenting my search for a good analogue pad for DOS in other threads, but hadn't got to reporting back on any of them yet. So here they are.

    First is the Maxfire G-09D, which I bought because someone on VOGONS said theirs had analogue functionality in DOS. This turned out not to be the case for me unfortunately - perhaps we have different hardware revisions. Which is a shame, because it's a neat thing. The d-pad, the "steering ring" around it, and the stick all share the same axes. On the rear there are also digital bumpers and triggers. And there's also a power input for the force function. It would make a pretty great Win9x controller I think, but I'm using USB on those machines. I will probably offer it up here at some point.

    upload_2020-9-6_20-1-49.png

    I landed this Creative Cobra on a minimum bid. Not analogue, but I still wanted to check out a bit of Creative history. Sadly d-pad left doesn't work, and I can see that the previous owner has tried and failed to address it. "As-is untested" - that's how it goes sometimes.

    upload_2020-9-6_18-35-18.png

    Then, we found a winner! This unsightly beast, the Saitek X6-33M, turned out to be a real gem. I really love the feel of the analogue stick, both physically and in gameplay response. Functions span joystick A & B to fit it all into a DOS friendly package, with all manner of toggles to adjust how you want to use it. I haven't looked inside yet, but the d-pad and digital triggers all feel like microswitches.

    Accessing the full range of functions depends on game support of course, which can be hit or miss. But the important Screamer 2 test was a big winner, and it should be great in flight sims too. This unit is having an issue with the left trigger, which I'll try to sort out. But I like it so much I've put in an offer on the other ebay listing.

    IMG_20201007_182408.jpg
     
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  12. OP
    OP
    power

    power Member

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    oh did you not notice, the 360 Modena pad has dual analogue sticks - they are very good!
     
  13. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Yep, and I just realised the photo isn't upside down! Cool looking unit.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    power

    power Member

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    ah yes it's called the 360 modena "u-pad".
     
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  15. Daft_Munt

    Daft_Munt Member

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    Cockroaches will be playing worms on a Nokia phone with them after WW3. They are bombproof after teaching people zangief moves on it. I now remember why I kept it and it was for WIn 98SE and old emulators.
     
  16. Pierre32

    Pierre32 Member

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    Doing this post earlier prompted me to open up the Saitek for a look. Microswitches confirmed under the d-pad and triggers, and the internals in general are just a bunch of chunky old goodness.

    IMG_20201007_201739.jpg IMG_20201007_201814.jpg IMG_20201007_202900.jpg
    IMG_20201007_202919.jpg IMG_20201007_201654.jpg

    I went through it with contact cleaner & alcohol and got everything moving like new. Then there was just the matter of the non-working left trigger, which I found pretty quickly:

    IMG_20201007_204522.jpg

    See the top left cluster of pads on the daughterboard, which have been scratched away slightly. These are actuated by slide toggles (blurred red switches above left), which set the triggers to Off, Normal or Autofire. As a quick test I taped a bit of tinfoil over the middle contacts (for Normal operation) and reassembled. Success :thumbup: That'll need to be done properly later (maybe I can get away with conductive pen for this purpose?) but it will no doubt stay in service like this until it gives me issues again :D
     
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  17. OP
    OP
    power

    power Member

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    speaking of Saitek, I have an oldish Saitek stick that I bought specifically for Battlefield 2 (remember that?) anyway I plugged it into Windows 10 and played that new Star Wars game - it was still great and everything just worked.

    also shuddarp BF2 is 15 years old!
     
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  18. Vanne

    Vanne Member

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    For any games on either the C64 or Amiga, proper hardware, i generally use this. I absolutely LOVE this stick for C64 games. Its comfy, clicky and most of all, very accurate, and fully micro switch enabled.
    speedking.jpg

    Konix Speedking.. freaking amaze balls stick.
     
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  19. WuZMoT

    WuZMoT Member

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    Cleaned 5 dual shocks today including the two I've had since '98/'99, one of which had power dropping out which would switch analog mode off. I think electronic solvent cleaner and reassembly has fixed it though. Put new thumb sticks in where required.
    Decided to lay out all my PS1 Peripherals :shock: couple of memory cards not pictured.
    I am no longer of the opinion that my OG Xbox controller collection is out of control.

    ps1control.png
     
  20. nimmers

    nimmers Member

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    This is my favourite controller. Seimitsu LS-32 sticks with Sanwa OBSF buttons.

    20201103_214445.jpg
     
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