The Atari flight yoke controller returns

Shaggy December 29, 2009 14

One of those things that I hate to admit is that I have never had the pleasure of playing the original Atari Star Wars on the original hardware. Only once did I ever come across one of these at an arcade growing up and when I did the unit wasn’t working (fortunately they had a BattleZone that was in great condition that I played way too much). For those who have played the game mentioned here then you know that one of the cool things about it are the controls. Atari made what was called the “flight yoke controller” which was similar to a controller they had used in previous games like Starship 1.  A few games have used similar controls since but it has been quite a while since a yoke controller of any kind in arcades and to be honest I think it’s a shame that we haven’t as it’s one of those things that you don’t get the same feel for at home.

Anyways, this post isn’t about a new game that is going to use a yoke but about the reconstruction of the old Atari yoke used in the Star Wars arcade game. From the looks of it, the makers of this device, RAM Controls put a lot of effort into recreating the yoke perfectly and they are now selling them so you can replace an old worn out yoke on your home Star Wars machine (I guess I should ask – how many operators out there still have one of these on location? Anyone?). You can get a completed yoke controller for $260 or they also offer a number of options to rebuild one for less than that. Hit the link below for more on how this came to be.

Quick update: While looking around the RAM Controls site I noticed that they have parts for rebuilding other hard-to-find Atari controllers, like the hall effect stick on I, Robot or Major Havoc controls. Pretty cool stuff.

[Star Wars Flight Yoke Controller Rebuilt – RAM Controls] [Discuss on the Forums]


14 Comments »

  1. ECM December 29, 2009 at 3:15 am - Reply

    I spent so much money on that game as a kid (and its sequels, tho Jedi wasn’t nearly as good as the first two) and it’s great to see people doing stuff like this!

  2. Shaggy December 29, 2009 at 3:22 am - Reply

    When I was out buying the first two arcade games for my collection, the guy had a non-working RotJ there. I offered him something for it as I know that they are rare but he wanted to keep it for himself. :\

  3. RJAY63 December 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Funland arcade at Beachlands, Hayling Island (UK) still has a cab! 30p a go (I think.

  4. Brent Silby December 29, 2009 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Its one of the most user friendly, intuitive controllers I’ve ever used. I have never understood why this style of controller hasn’t been used more often.

  5. editor December 29, 2009 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    I think you missed a version on the system:

    http://www.arcadeflyers.com/flyers_video/sega/16006501.jpg

    ‘Desert Tank’ – SEGA

    Used a similar control.

    • Shaggy December 30, 2009 at 12:13 am - Reply

      Yep, I did forget that one thanks for the reminder – it still shows that it’s been quite a long time since we have seen them though.

  6. Shaggy December 30, 2009 at 1:10 am - Reply

    BTW – I have often thought of how a Star Raiders remake would work out in arcades which uses a controller like this. Would that be too crazy to imagine? 🙂

  7. BDD December 30, 2009 at 2:00 am - Reply

    Lots of repro parts are getting made these days. The Amplifone vector monitor flyback was one of the biggest failure points of that particular monitor, and for a long time, only one company sold them (for $200, natch). That is, until someone repro’d them…

    • Shaggy December 30, 2009 at 2:46 am - Reply

      One thing I would love to see made are repro boards. I have a Warlords cocktail that is in need of a new PCB and in addition to being an item that rarely pops-up on eBay, they always want $200 for them.

      • BDD January 3, 2010 at 5:40 am - Reply

        The desirability of Warlords never ceases to amaze me. The price to pick one up on eBay or from a collector is the same now as it was almost 10 years ago, while Galaga and Ms. Pac machines have dropped precipitously…

        • Shaggy January 5, 2010 at 1:44 am -

          That is one bad thing about a game becoming rare or highly desired. I paid $1500 for my Warlords and I wasn’t happy how it stopped working after only a few months. Still, it is my goal to get it back up and running this year sometime. Other highly desired games I’d love to own one day include a Major Havoc and a Cosmic Chasm but it will be quite a while before I get my hands on either of those.

          Of course if someone was able to nudge the current Atari into developing a new Warlords cocktail game for arcades, I’d be happy with that too, not that it will ever happen.

        • mrbill08 February 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm -

          I am in the middle of helping a friend restore a warlords CT with a hacked harness. I made a jamma test adapter for the pcb as I had a few I received in trade and two friends who also had bad boards that needed repair. I repaired all four boards and tested the other two that had been on the shelf for a long time. If you need a board repaired I am willing to assist. You can contact me at the KLOV forums with my mrbill08 handle.

          Best,

          Bill

  8. Tarby February 6, 2010 at 4:36 am - Reply

    Should post a follow up to this news. Dave (Ram controls) has not shipped a single yoke yet, despite claiming he has and despite having plenty of fully paid pre-orders.

    • Shaggy February 6, 2010 at 5:56 pm - Reply

      Do you have a link where I can get more info on the situation?

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