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Atari’s VCS throwback console is getting a joystick upgrade

Atari has talked a lot about what the console itself will be like, it has been curiously silent on the controllers it revealed in its crowdfunding campaign. It’s ready to break that silence now that it’s nearing production of the Classic Joystick and the Modern Controller.

When was the last time you used a joystick for a modern game system, be it PC or console? Almost everything these days are about gamepads or keyboards and mice but, back in the days of the Atari 2600, its Atari CX40 joystick was just as iconic as the console. Atari is bring that controller to the future while keeping its feet solidly grounded in the past.

The Atari VCS Classic Joystick is almost visually indistinguishable from the CX40 at first glance. Atari’s refreshed joystick has an extra button on the corner of the controller below the one on the surface of the base. This new button is more ergonomic and will allow users to spare themselves joystick thumb by using the trigger button instead if they wish.

The joystick has both USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Going wireless is a good move considering it is pretty much standard in most modern controllers. However, it will also help to reorient the stick for left or right-handed players without the USB cable being put in an awkward position.

The gamepad, which Atari calls the VCS Modern Controller, is fairly typical as controllers are concerned. It combines features found in its competitors including Nintendo-like A/B/X/Y buttons; left and right, upper and lower shoulder triggers similar to PlayStation; and two analog sticks with the left one being juxtaposed to the directional pad.

Atari says that both controllers were designed in a partnership with peripheral maker PowerA, which is in the process of getting its assembly line in order. The controllers should be going into full production by this summer.

Both controllers will ship with the VCS console before the end of the year to retailers in 2020. Atari states that these details, while current, are subject to change. Nothing is completely set in stone until it starts shipping.

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