Posts Tagged ‘joystick’

Joystick evolution is an ongoing affair. Sometimes designers add interesting features, sometimes its just plain fun.

 

The handheld gamepad had a great feature that hasn’t been available on the joystick… the rumble.  Of course, military-grade joystick has force feedback added to the stick itself, but half the videogames that uses vibration motors don’t do it for feedback such as bullet being shot but for added feature such as low life warning.

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Geeks and gamers like their games. But they also like their controllers. Different games call for different controllers. Perhaps it is good to remember the evolution of the joystick?

Nevertheless, the reason gamers aren’t always super enthusiasts about the Move and the Kinect is the “no joystick” part of it. Voice control is good. Its cool and innovative. It adds to gameplay without removing much. Removing the physical contact to the joystick and replacing it with arms in the air doesn’t make hardcore gamer success.

People like their joysticks. They get better versions of ’em, they hack’em, they adapt’em, make bigger, better sticks. Or plain different sticks or control panel adapted to the needs of their favorite games.

Now, Valve is coming out with a joystick-less joystick (or rather, trackpad) design in their new controller!!!

joystick-less design for the Valve gamepad. Image courtesy of Kotaku.

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GameTime ►

Don’t let the ambiguous title confuse you, this isn’t an opinion, it’s a fact. We’re not using the word “better” to mean the most popular, most successful, or the ones you’d want to hang out with most. We’re talking purely skill-based. Sure, console controllers have grown in complexity and sophistication with each new incarnation. At times, it seems the game developers feel the need to add additional in-game actions just to account for all the extra buttons. Arcade games, however, are simple, and the joystick reigns supreme. The physical dexterity needed to master the full-handed joystick, as opposed to the thumb-based “joystick” on controllers today, is a thing of beauty. It’s the difference between watching two artists recreate the Mona Lisa, one in Photoshop, the other free-hand.

Here’s a challenge: find the best Halo or COD player you know, and ask them to play Deer Hunter or House of the…

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Anyone looking trough arcade parts or cabinets will read “JAMMA board” or “JAMMA compatible” at some point. But, who’s JAMMA? What does JAMMA stands for and why do we care?

Up until maybe 1985, arcade machines were wired pretty much in any way doable. Each manufacturer had different habits, and every machines were wired differently. Total mess when trying to diagnose problems, and a headache to upgrade any cabinet to a different game.

Then came an arcade manufacturers association in Japan, named the Japanese Amusement Machine and Marketing Association, and they standardized their interface connectivity into one single standard – that standard came to be known as the JAMMA standard.

Mainly, JAMMA is a standardized connection pattern that permits every game under that standard to work in one another’s cabinet by using specific pins for everything from joysticks to buttons passing by power input, video and sounds. It does facilitate upgrade, but also diagnostic by permitting to interchange potentially faulty boards with known working ones. Any working ones.

It facilitated operator’s job considerably.

jamma

The JAMMA connector which interface between the cabinet’s buttons/joysticks and the board’s game is a 56 pin 3.96mm/.156 pitch edge connector similar to what was used in the days of cartridges. 28 top and 28 bottom pins. It is pretty much an arcade cabinet universal plug-and-play interface that includes all needed for standard 2-player arcades.

The standard went out in 1985 – meaning that any games older than that will certainly NOT be JAMMA compliant. Most games out after that do follow the standard to some extend. Certain games such as Street Fighters needed extra buttons; those buttons are added trough supplemental connectors.

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