AMIGA alive

AMIGA alive

Monday, October 11, 2021

The Competition Pro: An unconvenient truth

Actually I don't like the Competition Pro joysticks too much. A kind-of review.

I think the Competition Pro puts unnecessary strain on your wrist, and has some other disadvantages.

Classic red-black color scheme Competition Pro joystick

You'd probably intuitively grab the Competition Pro's stick more or less from above. That position, plus the height of the body, the placement of the fire buttons, that'll make you put your thumb towards the edge of the top casing instead of across (unless you use the fire button on the opposite side), and the small footprint area of the bottom casing, makes the entire construction work kind of like a lever, twisting your wrists in opposite directions. Depending on the individual specimen of Competition Pro joystick, the spring and microswitches involved with stick movement / directions might be pretty strong, requiring unnecessary force, potentially increasing wrist strain. In addition to the sub-optimal way the (probably left) fire-button-hand is placed regarding overall grip and stability, pushing down the button creates an unnatural motion of the stretched out thumb more towards the index finger than towards the center of an imaginary Tennis ball in your hand, quickly exhausting the thumb's muscles. If the fire buttons slightly tilt, and cant, which they occasionally do, exhaustion is even quicker.

And then, while most microswitches are great, they're also sometimes pretty loud, esp. when put into a bulgy casing like the Competition Pro's. Depending on the situation the clicking of the switches can get a little annoying.

I prefer Quickshot I's, which you'd typically grab more or less horizontally, thus typically applying some downward force. Combined with a much wider footprint area, overall lower-profile body, the (body) fire button positioned less close to the body's edges, and suction cups on the bottom, the Quickshot stands much more firmly, esp. on hard, plain surfaces. It's pretty usable even with one hand only.

A 30 year old, heavily used SVI Quickshot I - is it better than a Competition Pro?

The Quickshot I doesn't have microswitches, but you can easily service it's open tin switches, and they're hardly audible when in use. The stick wears out over time, reducing force required. With a stick moving that smoothly, you can put your steering hand's fingers near the lower end of the stick, creating super fast changes in direction, and almost eliminating wrist strain from both hands.

Of course the Competition Pro is still a great product. It has a lot of advantages - it's die-hard construction and build quality, iconic looks, comfortable ball-stick, and more. Many people got used to it, and rightfully love it.

Certainly not everyone will agree with the above analysis of the Competition Pro's construction and handling. And to be honest it's not 110% serious - it's based on very little test data, and heavily biased. ;-)

But one day it just had to be said: The Competition Pro is not necessarily the best, the only usable joystick in the world. This is just an example where personal experience differs from widespread opinion. Why not try a different joystick? Computec has some not-so-fancy-looking, but really well-working models. Quickshot I and II are great microswitch-less designs. And there are many others.

Computec Quick Gun Turbo Pro - a great Competition Pro alternative

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