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[Get Opera!]

Fecking Joypads
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I was originally going to do this a little ramble on the main page, but after giving it some thought came up with this rather long piece.

Joypads and PC's don't mix, thats a fact. They never have and probably (hopefully!) never will. Its only in the last year or so that we're getting decent stuff now (note that I don't mention joysticks, the PC's not had a problem there). The Microsoft SideWinder is a decent pad.

What gets me though is how expensive they are though. The SiderWinder pad costs 40 quid!!! The Playstation Dual Shock pad costs 18 quid! Why! Well you can put it down to that every Playstation needs a pad to use it, so loads are produced so naturally its cheaper (economies of scale etc.). For PC it is an extra, a luxury.

Companies have tried to bring out fancy style pads but they don't sell well. Games developers rarely put support in their games for them.

Naturally there are PC games which use joypads, such as sport games and arcade racing games. But you'll find the keyboard and mouse the usual defaults.

Consoles and Joypads. What choice do you have? None...

Yes its true, you have no choice in the matter. You either use the pad or don't use the console. Its that simple!

Since the Playstation console manufacturers have properly designed joypads. They've taken ergonomics and anthropometrics (collection of measurements which are then put into use) into consideration. This means the pad is comfortable to hold and one thing I've noticed is that after playing a game for hours my hands don't kill from holding the pad. Remember the hours of playing on SNES on Mario Kart and your hands killing after you'd finished? No, oh ok then..

The N64 pad is a case in point. As I said in a news update (on the 4th of January 1999) I said Turok 2 and Goldeneye were crap. Why were they crap? Because I couldn't use the damn pad properly! I have now got the gist of it and have nearly finished Goldeneye and I'm doing pretty well in Turok 2. Oops =P.

A lot of thought has gone into its design. Without pictures its hard to describe, but I'll try anyway! Your left hand holds the central part of the pad. The thumb moves the analog stick. The rest of the hand grips underneath the pad and your index finger is on the Z button. The right hand holds the right side of the pad (der!), the thumb controls the six buttons and the index finder controls the right shoulder button. Anyway, this gives an extremely comfortable pad.

There is however, a massive fault in the N64 pad. Its the stupid oversight of having to take the rumble pak out to put a controller pak (memory card, stupid name) in to save a game, then once saved take the controller pak out and put the rumble pak back in. Game developers have had to put points in their games it tells you what to do! Why they didn't do what Sony did with the Playstation is beyond me. Rumble pak in pad, controller pak in N64. Easy!

Copy joypads...

Now onto a subject I have strong thoughts on.

I hate companies which produce cheap $#^T joypads. It didn't matter for the NES, Master System, Megadrive (Genesis in the US) and SNES. The pads for these consoles were crap anyway. The thing is it now *SHOWS* if a pad is crap. With the PSX and N64 having properly designed pads it is hard for these companies to get away with this.

One company has done the little con of selling a crap pad, rumble pak and controller pak for 25 quid. If you bought proper Nintendo stuff it would cost 50 quid. See pad (20), rumble pak (15) and controller pak (15). I bought one of these when I got my machine because I wanted the extra stuff. The thing is the pad is shaped like the Batwing, it is very uncomfortable to hold. Also the controller pak, stopped working after two days! Which was good because I took it back and got it replaced with a proper Nintendo pad. Just so you know its the TRILOGY 64, ignore at all costs =).

I mean Sony et al spend thousands (probably) on designing these pads and some money greedy bastard makes a cheap copy.... Grrrrr... You know that really winds me up!

I firmly believe you get what you pay for. (Yes I did buy the Trilogy 64 but it was value for money!) You buy something which is cheap, its probably because the stuff inside it is cheap rubbish! Profit is what they're after.

What next?

So where do pads for consoles go now? The first step has been taken in ergonomically designing the things so they're comfortable to use. Nintendo took the wacky step of having accesories plug into the pad, but as I mentioned they got it a little wrong.

Sega however have gone one step further with the DreamCast. You can plug a VMS (Visual Memory System) into the pad. This is basically an ickle Gameboy type device which can save games on but also can visually show various things. Having seen (in pictures) the pad, I have to say it looks massive and not to comfortable to hold. Kinda batwingish again... I'll properly be proved pleasantly wrong though =).

To go off subject a little, I think that we may have seen the last of the pure consoles with the N64 (yes, I know it uses Silicon Graphics hardware). The DreamCast is basically some of the best (and worst) bits of the PC (Power VR and Windows CE) mixed in with some console stuff. It has a 33.6k modem as standard (in Japan anyway, I think the US and Europe will get a 56.6k modem) and naturally a mouse and keyboard are available. Sega annouced that a writeable media will be produced and that with the use of the modem updates to games will be available! Wow! Like thats new idea... This could end up being an extremely bad thing... Companies will think "Ahhh, sod it, the games finished, any bugs will be sorted out in an update" This PC attitude (no, not politically correct, the attitude PC games developers seem to have. Thats another rant in itself!) should not be brought over to consoles.

Well hopefully this will generate some discussion, if you've read this far email me with your comments.

Thanks for reading,

-Paul

MPQ Design by James Kable Healey.
CGI code by Paul Healey
CGI and Content Copyright Paul Healey 2001/2000/1999/1998
with the exception of reviews which are copyright of the author.
Design Copyright Kable Kreations 2001/2000