Atari 2600 / PC Joystick with 90 count per revolution spinner.

March 13, 2016

I happen to mention to my good friend Richard that I was looking to make some higher quality Atari2600 compatible joysticks.   He was kind enough to donate an old HotRod PS/2 MAME controller to my cause.  The controller was in great shape.  I was tempted to just to do some simple rewiring to make it Atari compatible, but instead decided to make a slightly smaller single player enclosure.

I got a bit carried away and decided to make it compatible with both Atari and PC MAME games.  I added a spinner control for MAME games that make use of it.  (i.e. Arkanoid).  Unfortunately, the Atari 2600 paddles use a potentiometer not a spinner, so the spinner is for PC use only.  Here’s a shot of the inside of the enclosure.  An Ultimarc IPac2 provides the USB interface to the PC.  The joystick and buttons look like keyboard input.  The spinner looks like a single-axis high precision mouse to the PC.

The spinner is homemade, with 90 clicks per revolution of the wheel.  (Close to a Tempest spinner).  You just need a slot detector and a resister to interface it to the Ultimarc board.  Super easy.


Works well on the PC for MAME games.


Works on the Atari too, but Pitfall is still way too hard.