Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Sizzle Reel

In the interim between blog posts, I've been working on a mod for another joystick in my collection. A word to the wise, from the not-so-wise... soldering irons are heavy duty equipment, and can give you serious burns if you're careless. I've still got a red mark on my middle finger from where the iron touched it. Also, if you're going to work with joysticks, my best advice to you would be to get a wire crimper and easy connect terminals. Not only is there significantly less chance of you burning yourself, you can easily swap wires if you've connected them to the wrong buttons, saving yourself lots of time and frustration.

Without further delay, here's the fruit of my labor.

There are two benefits to this mod. The first is that the buttons are no longer in those weird Playstation-branded colors. Red, green, yellow, and blue (used on the Dreamcast, Super Famicom, and Xbox 360) tell you a lot about what each button does. All vermilion, seafoam, lavender, and fuchsia tell me is that there's a designer at Sony with really bad taste.

That's just window dressing, though. What's most important about this mod is that the new buttons are crisper and more responsive than the ones installed by default. The standard issue buttons have a rubber pad on the underside which strikes a circuit board when they're pushed down. The replacements have an integrated switch, so you don't get that awful, mushy feel that buttons on mid-range joysticks (read: nearly all of Hori's) typically have.

I'm not totally finished with this joystick, by the way. I need to grease the stick to make it move more smoothly (with the right lubricant; not petroleum jelly that can break down the plastics or "personal" lubricant that would rust the metal) and probably swap out the microswitches. So far, though, this Hori is off to a good start, and far lighter and more compact than the one I built myself a couple of weeks ago.

Okay, enough self-indulgence. I wanted to mention two things before I go. Firstly, the Nintendo Badge Arcade that I complained so bitterly about two years ago has been retired. It won't vanish completely, but if you're hoping for new badges or commentary from the badge bunny (and really, who wants that?), you're out of luck. However, if you haven't collected all 8,800 badges, you can log in every day for two free plays, plus whatever freebies you can shake out of the practice badge catcher.

Next thing. Sega Forever, the collection of classic Sega games available on Android for a couple of dollars a pop, kind of sucks ass. You'll find more details on Retronauts, but the Cliff Notes is that the emulation is rotten in 80% of the launch titles. Evidently Sega tried to weasel the exclusive rights to the RetroArch emulator out of the people who designed it, because open source software is still a foreign concept to corporations. Failing that, Sega went with sloppy seconds, and the players were stuck with... well, slop. Only Christian Whitehead's ambitious port/enhancement of Sonic the Hedgehog is worth your time... don't bother with the rest. Can I suggest M2's Genesis and arcade ports on the 3DS instead?

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