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My Favorite Stick... A ReView - June 4, '99 by JoseQ
"Hi, my name is JoseQ... and I... I am a MAME-a-holic". That line certainly sounds like what I'll be saying in the near future if I don't get help. Since I received the "Hot Rod: The Ultimate Joystick Control", I've been playing MAME like I had never done before. Well, except the day I found it for the first time. This stick certainly brought new life once again into those old games. I'm going to let you know exactly what you should expect from this new Joystick, describing my whole experience.
Needless to say, with all the neat pics at their Home Page, and from what I had heard from their show at E3, I was very eager to receive my Hot Rod stick. When I got home from vacation on Tuesday night and saw that big box sitting on my doorstep, my heart jumped with joy. I opened the door faster than I had done before and like a little kid on Christmas Eve, I smashed through the box to find the beauty that the Hot Rod is. I was so happy with the looks of it, that the feelings I had when I couldn't find the cable were undeniably sad. A quick run to the mailbox refueled my energy when I saw an envelope from the same address; inside, the needed Keyboard cable. So I ran back home, flew upstairs and plugged this puppy into the keyboard port, then plugged my keyboard into the Hot Rod.
This time my PC took what felt like 2.3 years to boot up, but when it finally did, I went right into MAME32 and shot up the first game I could find. Right after the MAME screens, while the emulation was starting, I 'tabbed' into the configuration menu to set this joystick as fast as I could. Checked the 1st coin slot, pressed enter, and then pressed the coin button on the side of my Hot Rod. It felt weird how the setting was set to what it was. The same for the second coin slot and the "1P" key. I said outloud: "This can't be!". Pressed the escape key and pushed on that side button... The sound of Galaga acknowledging my coin insert was as sweet as a Piña Colada Ice Cream in a Puertorican summer. True Plug & Play... I never thought something could achieve that description, but I was wrong.
After playing Galaga, Moon Patrol, Jr. Pac-Man and some others I decided to get back to work. Geesh, three hours had gone by and I was just trying out my new stick. Yesterday a friend came by, he's not either an arcade or emulation fan. However, he truly enjoyed playing two player simultaneous Mario Bros. on my computer. I'm sure he wouldn't have, had we been using the keyboard or even some cool Sidewinder Pads. I never thought that playing with other kinds of controllers took away anything from the Arcade experience until I had this stick in my hands.
Proof of sturdyness? Sure! I just played Track'N'Field with a friend for a good hour. I can safely say that the Hot Rod seemed to be holding up much better than my desk. Great response time, and good button quality helped me achieve a couple of world records. However, it didn't do any magic for my friend whom couldn't get past the 110 meters with hurdles no matter how hard he tried. I don't blame the stick.
How's the stick you ask? Funny you should say that, as I would say nothing better than a couple of shoot'em'up games to test its reaction time, and accuracy. Well, we tried Tiger Heli and 1943 for about an hour and a half between the two. Either I'm getting better at those games, or the stick really helps when compared to my previous shoot'em'up experiences using the keyboard. The Joystick is an 8-way directional stick that rotates smoothly across all 8 directions. Jr Pac Man seemed to travel a lot better through those mazes as well. I really love this stick.
What can I say? 10 out of 10? 5 stars? Two thumbs up? It is everything you can wish for in a stick. I have the SE version which holds two rows of three buttons each a'la Street Fighter fashion. If you want to save some money, you can get the standard version with three buttons to the right of each stick and one on the left. It all depends on what you like.
The fact that this product is connected to your machine via the keyboard port makes it instantaneously convenient for MAME, Retrocade and Shark. Other emulators are said to be setting their buttons in a similar fashion so that they work with it right out of the box. However, the keyboard circuitry needed also contributed to its kind of steep price.
Considering that you get a special edition MAME, a custom built Arcade @ Home front-end, and even legally licensed Capcom ROMs to be used with MAME and the stick, it does make for a pretty well priced package. I can tell you one thing. I simply can't imagine a better joystick for arcade emulation. Yes, maybe a trackball would be cool to have, but not too many games use that. But let's leave that as a nice addition, and not a flaw of this product. For what it has, it does have with tremendous quality and class. So how would you feel if I decided to give away one of these sticks at EmuViews to one lucky winner? Stay tuned to EV for details on that coming soon!

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Add Your Comments

Name: christopher Posted: Sunday, November 21, 1999 - (14:55)
Subject: hot rod
I just ordered the hot-rod joy stick and was wondering how well it works with modern games such as half-life and rogue spear?

[Post a reply]

 Name: Posted: Monday, September 23, 2002 - (12:15)
Subject: Re: hot rod
From: fra-tgn-oya-vty52.as.wcom.net
>I just ordered the hot-rod joy stick and was wondering how well it works with modern games such as half-life and rogue spear?
>

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