Color Computer Joystick. (evaluation) David H. Ahl.
Color Computer owners, have you been looking enviously at the many high quality joysticks available for the Apple? HAs the dimpled contact in your Color Computer joystick button come to the end of its short life? Do you yearn for a joystick with a precision feel?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, you are a candidate for a replacement joystick for your Color Computer.
Unfortunately, your choice is not nearly as wide as the choice availble to Apple or Atari owners. However, recently the situation has taken a turn for the better with several replacement joysticks making their way to market. One of these is Spectrum Stick. This rather massive 6" x 3" x 2" unit is more than twice the size of the Radio Shack original equipment Color Computer joystick. However, the largish blue plastic case houses a joystick with real potentiometers, a heavy duty pushbutton, and an LED indicator that shows whether power is on or off to the computer.
The LED indicator may be the best thing of all. How many times have you turned off your TV first and forgotten to turn off the computer? Not that this indicator will turn it off for you, but if you get in the habit of putting the joystick down on top of the computer, the indicator is a handy reminder.
The size lends itself to both hand-held and table top use. The central placement of the firing button makes it suitable for both left-and-right handed players.
The joystick handle is about 2," long (the same as the original equipment one), but the handle itself is 3/8" in diameter, a somewhat handier size to grasp. The joystick movement is considerably stiffer than the original, and is about the same as the stiffest of the nine Apple joysticks we tested in 1982. As we noted in that evaluation, stiffness is a subjective factor. Personally, I find the original equipment Color Computer joysticks much too loose; on the other hand, I find the Spectrum Stick a bit too stiff for my liking.
The pushbutton, too, requires much more pressure than the one on the original equipment joystick. This also is a subjective factor; some people like a stiffer button.
Subjective factors aside, both the joystick and pushbutton should have a considerably longer life than the Radio Shack unit since they are made of higher quality components. On the other hand, the Spectrum Stick costs $39.95, exactly twice the cost of a Radio Shack Color Computer joystick.
Spectrum Stick is available from Spectrum Products, 93-15 86th, Woodhaven, NY 11421.
Products: Spectrum Products Spectrum Stick (computer apparatus)