If you like Missile Command, you need one of these!
Posted by boyo on Feb 10, 2011 19:46 (Feb 10, 2011 19:46)
“Give your games the control they deserve--inject the ultimate arcade experience into your PC/Mac™ and enhance the enjoyment of any existing mouse-based game or your favourite arcade classics”
Bold words indeed but that is what the makers of this industrial strength arcade trackball control pad would have you believe of their new product on their website at www.x-arcade.com/trackball .
The first impression you get of the X-arcade trackball is the sheer size of the packaging and its weight. On unpacking the contents of the box what you have before you is the control panel itself, measuring 42.5cm (L) x 26cm (W) x 12cm (H), along with an instruction leaflet and an Atari Anniversary CD.
The CD has a number of classic Atari arcade games that used a trackball controller in their original arcade cabinet release. The likes of Asteroids, Centipede, Millipede, Missile Command and Tempest are a few of the titles that put this device to good use. The games are faithful recreations of their original counterparts but annoyingly run in a low-res arcade cabinet bezel surrounding the game.
The control panel itself is built to last. It is constructed from vinyl covered particle board that is trimmed all around with authentic arcade cabinet black T-molding. The controls themselves are also authentic arcade components which can take the obligatory beating that some games need in order to get that high score. This device is virtually indestructible and comes with a lifetime guarantee, a sure testament of confidence by X-gaming in their product.
The controller has 3 black buttons each side of a sunken white trackball thus allowing both left and right handed players comfort of play. Each button is 1” in diameter and the trackball itself is 2.6”. There are an additional 2 buttons, one each side of the unit which can be used as “flipper” buttons whilst playing Pinball related games. Towards the rear of the unit is a single button that when pushed restricts the trackball to only up/down movement – this is ideal for players to smash perfectly straight drives in the golf game of their choice when using this unit!
On the bottom of the unit are 6 rubber feet that ensure the stability of controller during those frantic games playing moments.
The X-Arcade Trackball comes with both a PS2 and USB connector. My preference of connection is via USB due to the simplicity of plugging the controller into one of the USB ports at the front of my PC. As the device replicates the features of a mouse, no driver installation is required in Windows. The sensitivity of the trackball can therefore be adjusted via the standard Control Panel mouse options.
This device is ideal for playing games within MAME. (Of course you have to own the original arcade machine to legally play the ROM within MAME) as well as any other game that can use a mouse as a control peripheral.
Classics such as Missile Command and Centipede were designed with a trackball controller in mind as the interface between the player and the game. The X-Arcade trackball provides the modern day game player the opportunity to play these games as the designers originally envisaged and to say that the playing experience is enhanced as a result is an understatement to say the least.
The build quality of the unit cannot be faulted. The arcade controls are responsive and positioned comfortably on the control panel for both left and right handed play and are built to withstand frenzied game bashing over a long period of time. Set-up is a breeze as the X-arcade trackball maps onto the mouse setup within the operating system of the computer played on.
On the negative side of things the bolts holding the trackball in place could have been channelled into the panel and hidden and the range of games that the panel can be used to play is obviously more limited that a normal joystick and button combination. The RRP of the unit is a little high for the casual gamer but when compared to the cost of standalone arcade components, the unit is extremely good value for money.
This device comes highly recommended by Retro Fusion and we highly recommend you purchase one of these little beauties.