What Joystick Did You Use In The 80’s?

As I said in my post about issue 74 of Retro Gamer there is an article about the history of game controllers.

Young gamers these days wouldn’t recognise the joysticks that I grew up with as a game controller.

But I did have two favourite joysticks during this period.

The first, and most people will recognise it, if not used one is the Atari joystick. A single fire button on the front left made it a joystick for right handed people (luckily that’s me).


The second joystick I really liked from this part of gaming history was the Competition Pro. A bigger joystick than the Atari one, it sported two large red fire buttons. So it could easily be used by either left or right handed people.

The Competition Pro used micro-switches inside, which gave it a more robust feel and a satisfactory click when pressed.

Both the above joysticks worked with the C64 that I had. Well it did have two joystick ports built in. While it was only towards the end of my time with the Spectrum that I had the Interface 2 from Sinclair that had the two joystick ports. By that time the Kempston joystick interface was more or less the defacto standard that any hardware had to emulate.

So these are my favourite joysticks that I liked playing with during the eighties. Which ones did you prefer to clock up that high score with?


4 Responses to “What Joystick Did You Use In The 80’s?”

  1. Paul Says:

    Whilst both the Atari & Comp Pro are instantly familiar I had a BBC Model B with a really geeky joystick (a pair actually) – It was a hand-held affair: a totally unergonomic pistol style grip but the button was in the right place (like a trigger at the front). The actual stick was a tiny little thing at the top and it did NOT self-centre so I always remember hacking it by putting elastic bands on it 🙂

    I’ve searched for pics but maybe there’s one in a box in the garage…

  2. whitespider1066 Says:

    Oh yes I remember those non centering joysticks on the Beeb. That non centering was a pain.

  3. george Says:

    Another competition pro user. Didn’t it have a steel shaft so was virtually indestructible.

    Remember playing daly thompson’s decathlon with it and getting blisters from it 🙂 the stick didn’t have a lot of travel as I remember.

  4. whitespider1066 Says:

    George, you are correct. Not alot of travel because of the use of micro switches I think

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