Paddles, Trackballs, Spinners, Rollers, and Atari Compilation


I tried using an Atari 260 to USB adapter to see if I could play Atari Classics on Xbox One.

It doesn’t work.

Just like fighting games where a pad is awful with every fight game except Super Smash Bros, a standard pad is awful with a lot of games originally made by Atari, and its corporate cousin Midway. Atari had a whole bunch of innovative controls, whether it was a limited range paddle for Breakout and Warlords, a trackball for Centipede and Crystal Castles, a roller for Major Havok, or a Spinner for Tempest and those race games that became Super Sprint.

Unfortunately a standard joypad doesn’t work for most fo these games. The paddle games arethe worst. The beautiful thing about the paddle is that you can “dial a position”. If you’re good enough, you can go form any position to any other position within a frame or 2. The last true paddle made for an American console was the Taito NES Vaus Controller.

Trying to play a paddle game with an analog thumbpad is awkward. First it’s had to pinpoint a posiiton, Second it’s hard to hold a position. This is becuase there’s centering resistance, which has been in place in analog controls since the N64, but on the 5200, there was no centering, and the games were designed to work better with no centering resistance. Third sometimes you’re working with resistance, sometimes against.

Trackballs give you more momentum and are more athletic due to the roll momentum. You can’t whip a mouse that fast.

Tempest 4000 on te Xbox One doesn’t feel right with the binary letf/right nature of the controls. I’m thinking the analog thumb pad might work analogly, if you treat the analog stick like a spinner and roll along the outer edge faster for faster movement through the lanes.

I’m thining for the Xbox One release a Stelladapter for Xbox One for the Atari Classics. Let us use our real 2600 controls with the Atari games.

For the Switch, the wii-mote-like properties of the Joycon, combined with a Labo ToyCon could make a plastic trackball with the Wiimote inside and a cardboard base. Similarly with a roller. A spinner can have a Joycon on a loose rotary dial. And for a paddle, you can use an already existing Joycon steering wheel as a natural fixed-radius paddle.

I thought posting on because know enough fighting game fans are particular about their controllers to get them custom made. I know, I’m one of them.

The only problem for Atari fans is that unlike Fighting games that ccommodate their custom modders, Atari won’t allow ancient controllers that those games were originally designed for and work best with to work with them, and it’s even MORE vital for Atari games. What good are online features if the controls are broken?


I could of told you that before you even tried, Xbox 360 controllers have a security chip on board.
Most controller adapters for PC, even those that support Xinput lacks that Xbox security chip.

Closest thing to an classic Atari controller on the Xbox 360, this long discontinued controller

Also found this


Only Xbox One specific devices work with Xbox One, as well as 360-specific controls only work with 360. I’m hoping Atari makes an Xbox specific Stelladapter to use for the XBox One. Controls are horrible on non-joystick games.


There is no Atari, the Atari you knew in the 80s went out of business in 83.


Just like dead people, dead companies have heirs. I don’t know who owns Atari now, but they probably never played the games they inherited. If any of the owners of “what is now Atari” is listening, make Stelladapters for Xbox One, because basic USB will not work on an Xbox one, and probably most Atari enthusiasts know that the game is crippled when not played with a decent controller, like a Paddle, Trackball, Roller, or Spinner, or for one game, a Light Gun. Might as well get a Pamdapter for Atari 5200 controls too, because, for the analog games, it strangely works when the analog stick does NOT center, and no analog sticks stay were they are. That was unique to the 5200. Unfortunately most arcade conversions on the 5200 sucked with the non-centering stick.


Spinner for MISTer fpga if anyones into that…


@Dubon, two problems:

One that’s a spinner, good for games like Tempest. What you want for Arkanoid is a Paddle, similar to Warlords and Breakout. Spinners have an unlimited turn radius and a maximim speed. Paddles have limited turn radius, and are “dial-a-position”. it won’t work with NES Arkanoid on a real NES machine and cartridge.

  1. I’m looking for a Trackball, a Paddle, a Spinner, a Light Gun (which would have to use a visible light technology like a camera gun) and maybe a roller for either Xbox One or Switch Atari compilations. Unfortunately, Atari isn’t cooperating with allowing such controllers already made for the Atari 2600 and 5200 to work with them. Just because you can make one doesn’t mean it will work with Xbox One or Switch.


Ah. This one is for the Arcanoid arcade core


Does the Arcade Arkanoid use a spinner or a paddle? There is a difference between the 2.

Spinners can go forever in one direction and are based on speed.

Paddles stop at a certain point and are based on absolute position.

I know the NES version uses a Paddle. I have it, and the Vaus controller.


The arcade cab used a spinner. Never played the nes version tbh.


The NES uses a limited radius potentiometer-based paddle.

Were there some Arkanoid arcade versions with a limited radius paddle?


All arcade versions of Arkanoid used a spinner controller. For what you want to do, I suggest playing these games on a computer with MAME. You can use the original controller for the games you want to play and customize the controls.


Or get a Mister


Actually, I’m kind of used to “dialing a position” like the Atari paddles. So the NES would be better with the position-based controller, than the arcade with velocity-based controller.

I always thought Arkanoid used a position-based rotary controller, not a velocity based-one.

Also wouldn’t be more exact with a position based controller? I’m just wondering about the gameplay implications of a position-based paddle and a velocity-based spinner. What makes a better game?

I say the position based paddle.


Clicking on the website, it’s hard to tell what a Mister is, let alone figure out what this has to do with specialty controls like Trackballs, Paddles, Rollers and Spinners.


I’m sure youve heard of the mini nt and super Nt by analogue. Mister is a similar device that uses a subsidized fpga development board aimed at students and adds a ram module and an optional io board. Its an opensource project that supports consoles like nes, snes, master system, megadrive, atari, turbografix etc. Several arcade machines have also been ported.
The advantage of an fpga versus emulating on a pc is that its more efficient and should result in higher accuracy and lower lag.
As for supported devices, its opensource so anything can get added.


A Mister is a FPGA based Hardware emulation instead of a software emulation.

You program a FPGA to mimic down to the individual clock cycles everything the original hardware does.

Notable examples of current FPGA clone consoles are the Analogue NT Mini (NES, and with a jail break other 8 bit consoles), Super NT (SNES), there soon to be released SG Mega (Genesis/Megadrive), and RetroUSB has the AVS (NES).

The Mister is a Open source FPGA clone console looking to make MAME obsolete as well as support a bunch of different consoles. Various consoles, 80s Micro Computers, Arcade Boards and such are added. The oldest system supported is the Atltari 8800.


@dubon @darksakul that still doesn’t answer my question about whether Arkanoid is a better game with a paddle or a spinner.

I never played it in the arcade, so I assumed it was paddle-based, because that’s how the special controller made for NES arkanoid was at home. It’s not like they adapted their game to an existing standard, like trying to play Marble Madness with an analog stick, or worse, a D-Pad as many home versions have done.

If the definitive way to play is with a spinner, then why didn’t Taito make a spinner for home? If the definitive way is to play with a paddle, and somehow the NES version is a director’s cut, then are spinners way cheaper and easier to maintain in a communal setting like an Arcade than paddles are?

By the way I have resurrected both Atari 2600 and Bally Astrocade potentiometers. Maybe it’s fairly easy to resurrect a Vaus Controller. The way I resurrected 2600 and Bally paddles were to put in a couple drops of isopropylhol in a key chamber and turn the knob all the way back and forth quickly a few times. That clears up jittery readings very well for a long time.


Wether the arcade version is “the way its ment to be played” is something completely subjective. The spinners ive seen wouldnt fit in something as compact as the nes controller. Especialy the type of spinner that was used in the original arcade cab.