Difference between designing an arcade layout and a home one. (Lefty fact 1)

One consideration of why the arcade market is different than the home market is who is fitting the bill? In the case of arcade, over 95% of the people who buy arcades new are arcade owners.

And the reason why all arcade joysticks are stick-left was Donkey Kong.

This shows how crazy control layouts were before Jamma

Before then, game makers lay out the panel the way they feel. Some games are extra challenging because of the layout. Defender and Stargate have 5 and 6 buttons respectively with a vertical 2 way joystick, in a non-Jamma layout. Those 2 games have a layout which is intentionally frustrating for beginners but masterable.

They had to sell games to the arcade owners. So Defender was sold as a something like a futuristic spaceship control panel.

Defender on home systems have to be reprogrammed to use left and right to replace Thrust and reverse, and you can’t truly control the home versions like the arcade with an ABC/HItbox unless you use left and right buttons, not thrust and reverse.

Any Defender (or Stargate) Twin Galaxies high scorers: I assume part of the chalenge is the complex layout, and the onlyway to play is on an origjnal layout. Home scores tend to be higher than arcade because of a 4-way stick and 3-4 buttons vs a 2 way stick and 4-5 buttons.

If you know the Donkey Kong story, it was a project to recycle Radarscope cabinets. Radarscope was a rapdi fire vertical shooter. If it were designed to be user friendly, they’d make it button right so right handers can rapid-fire. Recycling the machines meant keeping stick-left. Well Donkey Kong was known for having notroiously short credits for the first couple of months. People dying in a minute. This was the first arcade platformer ( at least with jumping, Space Panic came before, and Piifall brought it home around the same time) The graphics so so colorful and well animated and had a sense of a plot explained with an introduction, that [eople loved it so much, and sunk many quarters despite the fact their pockets were emptying real fast.

Players plunking many quarters is the way arcade owners get paid.

I don’t know whether Donkey Kong would have been Left-Stick or Right-stick if Nintendo used new cabinets, but that’s fate. An arcade owner thought the reason for the short credits is having most people’s main hand on a single button and not the joystick. Most times before 1988, pretty much every player I witnessed who got scores over 100k did the Seth and crossed their wrists.

SInce owners couldn’t program games, and the dip switches were usually not considered by arcade owners until Jamma, the easiest way to make the game harder for more people is to force them to swap hands. Here’s a video link of Larry Bundy Jr. of Fact Hunt suggesting that. And notice his history of this: Real life experience. Bundy lost a video game TV show because the controls were opposite, a left trackball and a right button.

Most of the home joystick makers in the NES era, including Nintendo, thought some of the older gamers have enough muscle memory with joysticks that they’d cater to that crowd. Nintendo copied their Donkey Kong and future machines and made it stick-left. They also made it kind for cheap. The average consumer would find more to gain with a natural ergonomic advantage of a familiar form factor than with the specific parts used, and because it was mass market, welcomed the sticks becausetheywere cheaper but fuction a a stick. Nintendo copied tier arcades and Jamma, and most other companies copied them, making lookalikes.

The most blatantly different company was Beeshu, thinking that not only form factor of joystick vs pad gives one an advantage, but choice of joystick side adds another layer of advantage. That’s why they said improved scores or your money back.

Beeshu made a 3-button Genesis version called the Gizmo. By the time Street Fighter 2 came out, the only solution they saw to stay ambidextrous was putting 2 sets of buttons on either side of the stick. During the NES days, that adds the cost of 2 extra buttons, which is acceptable. But adding 6 unused buttons made it way too expensive, so they got out of business (I assume).

The main difference is that in arcade, the arcade owner pays for the machine, therefore their wants are prioritized over gamers’, thus controls designed to shorten credits. The reverse is true at home. People buy because they want an advantage. (true whether off-the-shelf or custom.)

4 Likes

Why the hell do you keep obsessing over Beeshu?..

They may have said “improved scores or your money back”, but do you know of any actual cases where they actually gave people their money back? Honestly, that sounds more like 80s-era marketing jargon/sales-pitch than an actual guarantee.

1 Like

The same company that is now out of business for 2 decades now.

Beeshu made non-ambidextrous Controllers as well. :coffee: