Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spectravideo Does The Job Half-Right

The Colecovision videogame console was a pretty capable piece of hardware in its day, but its standard controller was... shall we say... unwieldy.  It featured a stubby joystick that made it hard to register the intended direction, side-mounted fire buttons that wore out one's squeezing muscles fairly quickly, and a keypad that took up most of the unit's surface area.  So it was only a matter of time before aftermarket controllers arrived to address the situation.

Unfortunately, Spectravideo's Quickshot III  leaves the job half-finished.  It starts out well enough at the top, with a proper joystick and two easily accessible fire buttons.  But then it all goes wrong toward the bottom:

Note the suction cups -- the ad claims the Quickshot III can be used two-handed, but clearly this is meant to be a surface-mounted controller, throwing in the towel as far as handheld comfort goes.

Note also that the design requires the player to reach around the joystick to hit any of the keypad buttons -- which are, of course, obscured by the player's joystick-gripping hand during play.  At least the ad only mentions use of the keypad to select difficulty level and number of players, implicitly acknowledging its complete unsuitability for any game that requires keypad access during play.

It's also worth noting that the ad mentions that this controller will work with Spectravideo's Coleco Game Adapter, intended to allow Colecovision cartridges to run on the company's MSX-based home computer.  The Spectravideo computer was released but failed to make a noticeable dent in the US market, and as far as I can determine its Colecovision adapter never actually came out.

Quick shot, perhaps.  A miss, for sure.


  1. Dont have to look too far to confirm that the Spectravideo Coleco Game Adapter was indeed produced. First page of a Google search reaveals several websites to confirm its existance and one ebay bid later, I own one.

  2. Thanks very much for the info -- something tells me I wrote that as placeholder text when I drafted this post, and never went out and actually did the research to follow up! Glad to know this piece of hardware wasn't vaporware after all.