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June 2017 Retro Gaming Article


June 28, 2017 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Champ joystick has a standard 9-pin connector for the Champ Keypad for Colecovision

Champ Joysticks with separate keypad is a nice workaround to the original Colecovision controllers and it's Atari compatible.
Champ Joystick for Atari 2600 or Colecovision I found a nice Colecovision console and was debating whether I needed another Coleco Console. I knew I did, but I had to take a moment to justify it. The tipping point for me was the pair of Champ Joysticks being sold with it!

I'd never seen Champ sticks or heard of the name/brand, but they had a unique look to them with a dual fire-buttons and a top-of-the-stick fire-button. That's a facet I liked in my Wico stick for the Atari 2600.

After doing a little research, they have a standard 9-pin connector compatible with 2600 and Colecovision. I'm sure they will work with most consoles/computers using a 9-pin port. On the Coleco side of things, there is a Champ Keypad that works in conjunction with the Champ joysticks. This enables the numeric keypad options for game selections and so forth.

Wico made a similar keypad/joystick for the Atari 5200, but they also created a Y-cable that enabled connecting both the Wico joystick and an Atari 5200 joystick. This gave you the best of both worlds with a Wico stick and the keypad from the existing 5200 stick. I'm surprised the Champ solution didn't go this route and make use of the Colecovision's original controller keypad in conjunction with the Champ joystick.

Upon first inspection, the cables seemed really short - very short! I assumed the optimal use of thee sticks was with the Champ Keypad that would act as an extension to this short cable. I also felt the base was oddly loose on each joystick. Some reading revealed the cable is retractable, allowing it's 4½ foot length to be completely stored in the base by turning the upper portion.

Now I need to snag the Champ Keypads to go with the Champ Joysticks. Never having been a huge fan of the Colecovision joysticks, these Champ joysticks seem like a very Atari-like solution. I've always loved the Atari 2600 joysticks as well as the Wico compatible model. So, I may not have really needed another Colecovision console, but discovering the Champ Joysticks certainly made it a great purchase - even without the Champ Keypads.

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