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November 2019 Retro Gaming Article


November 17, 2019 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Maker Matrix has designed a modern Atari 5200 controller in a slick compact case

Maker Matrix's Atari 5200 controller
Looking more like an Xbox controller, this modern controller removes many of the Atari original's problems.
The advent of 3D printing has brought a level of creativity to an affordable level for people to create truly useful items. Matrix Maker's website features a 3D printed case for a PCB that replicates the functionality of an Atari 5200 joystick in a modern looking controller!

Maker Matrix's Atari 5200 controller PCB Available in completed and kit form, this new controller has only undergone one round of shipping to customers. Currently, they are soliciting orders for more rounds of shipping. This strikes me as the kind of product that may be able to graduate to injection molded cases, creating a more robust product.

Within the compact design, this modern Atari 5200 controller accounts for all the keypad buttons, 2 fire buttons, and the Start - Pause - Reset buttons. If you have some DIY spirit, you can buy the case, buttons, cable, and PCB for assembly at home. They also offer a $99 prebuilt controller.

A clever facet of this controller is the cable scenario. Most wired cables are soldiered to the internal PCB. Maker Matrix provides a female controller-cable connection on the front face. Extension cables are a common item for wired controllers (often short on useful length). An extension cable attaches to the Maker Matrix 5200 controller, letting the other end match the console's controller ports. In the same vein, the PCB and case come in left-handed and right-handed versions. This means you can order a controller (or kit) with the thumb-stick on the right or left side of the controller!

I adore the Atari 5200 Super System. It took the foothold of arcade ports for the 2600 and enabled better graphics, sound, and game play. The weakness of the 5200 was it's controllers. They seemed pretty slick after using the 2600 single fire-button joystick, but they broke down fairly easily.

I'm hoping Maker Matrix and the 3D printing revolution will find many ways to extend and improve retro gaming as technology and time march forward. This is the kind of innovation that makes retro gaming a great deal of fun!

Maker Matrix's Atari 5200 controller

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