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Author Topic: Looking for Good/Current Information on Joysticks  (Read 695 times)

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optimusq

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Looking for Good/Current Information on Joysticks
« on: November 22, 2020, 10:44:15 am »
First time builder here, I'm planning to build a standalone control board to be connected to a Windows PC running MAME, possibly adding it to a pedestal later.  I've been doing (alot) of research (and learning to compromise), and I'm narrowing in on my layout.  My priorities are a good 4-way directional joystick for classics like BurgerTime, Ms. Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger, etc. but also support a 2-player, 8-way directional joystick setup.  I'm still on the fence about adding a trackball.

My question/issue is that I'm having problems finding a lot of objective and current information on joysticks.  I want to try to capture the feel of the classic games as much as possible.  I'm OK getting a 4/8 way convertible stick if I can achieve this and it's reliable (I'm reading mixed reviews on things like the Mag-Stick Plus).  I'm also OK having separate 1P 4-way and 8-way clusters if that is a better route.  (Side note:  if I have two clusters for 1P, can the inputs be spliced together to feed into a single I-Pac input?  Both 1P clusters would never be used simultaneously.)

Where are some good reference sites for joysticks?  I'm interested in the right "feel", reliability, and low maintenance.  Of course, I'm always open to suggestions.  Thanks!

bobbyb13

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Re: Looking for Good/Current Information on Joysticks
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2020, 05:26:57 am »
I think it depends on what you grew up on- and no matter what, feel is inherently subjective and multigame cabinets (especially for titles with different controls originally) are always a compromise.

A great excuse for more than one cabinet though! :lol

If you were born in the US in 1970 like me then you played a lot of Happ and Wico sticked games probably, but what you actually like is up to you.

To cover a decent amount of games we wound up with Mag Stik Plus units in the machine in the house presently.
Most of the games we play are 4-way ones, but we have a few favorites that are 8 ways and for us, those sticks are a great and functional compromise.
No complaints.

That machine first had U360s to try to do it all, but the feel wasn't right for all those classic 4 way games.
I could tell immediately, but it was also affecting enjoyment of the machine with everyone else (who wasn't born in 1970) so I switched them out.
If I can make an improvement on the U360s by making Andy's restrictor inserts out of urethane (thereby improving the feel) than I will be putting them back in there, but everyone is happier with the Mag Stik Plus ones at the moment.
Seems like maybe the people who don't like those are more vocal about it than people who do, but I bet it is more a microswitch vs leaf switch complaint than anything else.

There are numerous other switchable sticks out there too, but I believe nearly all others require access underneath your control panel to switch them (which may or may not be a deal breaker for you.)
Except the ServoStik, which I haven't tried yet.

The two stick panel for my multi-panel machine has 8 way Leaf-Pro units from GroovyGameGear and for a relatively inexpensive stick they are great- but those are only available as dedicated 4 or 8 way sticks.
They are 8 ways, but I think the leaf switches make it so that they are really pretty good for playing 4 way games actually.
Maybe Randy's Dominux as an 8 way is even better as a compromise.

If you want quality, I have only wound up with really nice components from both Ultimarc and GroovyGameGear myself.

I see a fair amount of 3 stick panels also (8 ways on the outsides with one dedicated 4 way in the middle- which is probably a best scenario compromise.)
That is if you don't want a trackball.

Doubling up input wiring like you are asking about works if done properly- as long as nobody bumps the other stick during play.

Buy and try as many as you can afford to!
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rackoon

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Re: Looking for Good/Current Information on Joysticks
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2020, 01:55:32 am »
My 2 cents after seven cab builds is two 8 ways on the outside and a 4 way in the middle.  As for brand I have been jumping back and forth between happs competitions and sanwa jlf's. Get one of each and mess around with them they are cheap :cheers:
They treated me like an animal and that's what I became.

MartyKong

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Re: Looking for Good/Current Information on Joysticks
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2020, 01:41:16 pm »
I use IL Competitions for the 8 ways. I have a dedicated Pacman reunion joystick for the 4 way. I had to adjust the spring on that one a bit because it felt too tight (user preference). Yes, both player 1(4 & 8 way) joys/buttons can be connected together on ipac. Do a search for "Kneivel's" builds to see an all in one approach. Good luck

nipsmg

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Re: Looking for Good/Current Information on Joysticks
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2020, 05:38:23 pm »
I will shout from the rooftops any chance I get that ServoStiks  are the absolute best option for a multi game cabinet. Iíve been through happ 8-ways, manually switchable sticks, U360s, and I finally landed on ServoStiks on my latest cabinet and I will never go back.

optimusq

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Re: Looking for Good/Current Information on Joysticks
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2020, 01:17:57 pm »
Thanks everyone for the replies, and sorry for the late reply here.  This is all good information.

I haven't ordered anything yet, but I think I am leaning to the leaf joysticks right now.  Based on everything I've read, I think they have the best chance of having the right feel.  That would also most likely mean I'll build a 2 player, 8-way setup with the 4-way in the middle.  And yes, what I saw on Knievel's website is the general idea I had for the layout.  That guy has some talent, for sure.

bobbyb13, thanks also for the recommendation on GroovyGameGear.  As a beginner, t's hard to tell which sites are reputable.

The servo sticks look intriguing also (except for them being microswitched), but I may go a little more conservative since this is my first build.  Keep things as simple as possible.  I'm sure I'll have enough surprises along the was as it is. :) 

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Re: Looking for Good/Current Information on Joysticks
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2020, 03:25:58 am »
Myself, I like the Servo Stik/J-Stik if you are looking for something that switches easy between 4 way and 8 way. Happ is my all time fav as I can play 4 way games with it pretty easy even though it's an 8 way stick. But when it comes down to it, the Servo/J-stik has a very nice throw to go along with that 4/8 way switching option. And another cool thing, is you can add an RGB top to it if you like and are into that kind of thing.