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Image credit: Atari VCS

Atari shows off joystick and controller for its retro VCS console

The joystick will double as a paddle and add a second "fire" button.
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Atari VCS

When the Atari VCS team decided to remake the retro console, it knew the controllers would be just as important as the box itself. After all, there's no gaming accessory quite as iconic as the Atari CX40 joystick. Earlier this spring, we got a glimpse of what the VCS will look like, and now, the company has revealed more details about the Atari VCS Classic Joystick and Modern Controller. Both are a carefully crafted mix of essential features, both old and new, the company said in a blog post.

According to Atari, the Classic Joystick is "designed to capture the spirit and functionality" of the CX40, but it now has Bluetooth and USB connectivity. The center stick is fully digital, and its default settings map to the D-pad on contemporary gamepad controllers. It also rotates so you can play games like Pong, Breakout and Night Driver, which were previously better suited for Paddle Controllers. The team also added a rumble feature and swapped the red lights for orange.

The Classic Joystick brings a few changes to the "fire" button, too. For starters, you'll notice a second trigger button placed on the corner of the unit body. You'll be able to tap it with a finger, on either the right or left side, and it will work more like a front bumper button on a modern gamepad. Atari made the design decision to be more ergonomic and to spare gamers' thumbs.

The team introduced fewer changes to the VCS Modern Controller, sticking to the widely-accepted form-factor of controllers on the market. It's "a solid, reliable performer and it should please VCS owners, or anyone looking for a high quality, stylish Bluetooth/USB controller for PC and mobile gaming," the company said. As an added perk, like the Classic Joystick, the Modern Controller is fully re-mappable.

Atari VCS says the hardware is almost ready for final production, which would match previous statements that the console will be ready by the end of 2019. That should be a relief for fans, especially those that pre-ordered the device through an Indiegogo campaign one year ago and have patiently waited through delays.

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