You may have read my recent post regarding some of my favorite joystick controllers of yesteryear and the one that I always come back to on various 8-bit/16-bit computers is the Competition Pro 5000.
A few months back, a friend of mine had pointed out that Speedlink have produced a replica of this classic joystick, complete with a USB cable for connection to a modern pc. They’ve been available for a while now and I’ve been meaning to purchase one but have never got around to ordering one. I noticed that Amazon had them listed for about a third of the original retail price so I placed my order for two and they arrived the other day <sadly, since posting this, Amazon’s offer appears to have finished …although, it’s not a very expensive joystick anyway!>
This isn’t the first time a reissued USB version of the Competition Pro Joystick has been released. Powerplay currently sell a reissue of the original black base/red stick model but I’ve read that the buttons are not responsive, diagonal control is often a bit hit and miss and the general build quality is considered very poor. If anyone has one though and would like to comment, I’d love to hear what you think.
The Speedlink version is based on the clear ‘see-through’ model that was released around the late eighties, succeeding the original leaf switch models of the mid eighties. It is also the same model I used (and still use) on many of my older computers including my Commodore 64 & Commodore Amiga.
Modifications to the original include two extra fire buttons placed next to the stick and both of the larger fire buttons are now fully independent (even though the original had two fire buttons, both were wired as one because most home computers at that time only supported one fire button).
Apart from that, everything mirrors the original exactly – including the loud clicky micro switches & auto fire toggle switch 🙂 All eight-way controls appear to respond perfectly when tested and so are the fire buttons on both Joysticks I ordered.
Build quality appears to excellent and so here’s hoping they’re just like the originals, still working perfectly after 20 odd years.
As an extra bonus, the Speedlink package is bundled with a bumper pack of 99 C64 classic games on one CD to relive those classic gaming moments straight out of the box.. Despite the software installer being in German, it’s a regular MS Windows installer so it doesn’t take too much guess work to figure out which is the install/cancel button. (the box lists the software requirements as MS Windows only, including Vista and Windows 7).
After installation, the frontend provides a nice menu system to all the games and are are listed alphabetically across four pages. Highlighting a game displays a screenshot as well as information about the game and links to open the game manual. The frontend also has a choice of four background music tracks to listen too.
When you click on a game, the C64 emulator is loaded and the game begins. It looks like the emulator is one of the best too, it’s Vice64 (http://www.viceteam.org/)
So….if you long for retro stick for your PC gaming or classic system emulators, this reissue of the Competition Pro Joystick might just be what you need.