NES games are retro. Atari games are just ancient. Whether you're old enough to remember it or too young to even have an idea what I'm talking about, you can enjoy the burgeoning era of home gaming right on your PC with the Clear Classic USB Joystick, which brings the joys of Atari into 2010 and beyond.
"Joy" might be a difficult word to swallow for those who actually played an Atari, whose dislocated wrists always appeared far worse than the aching thumbs you normally experience with today's button mashers. Still, what gaming connoisseur will you be if you didn't experience your roots the way they were meant to be consumed?
Revived by the folks behind Retro Thing and Legacy Engineering, the Clear Classic USB Joystick mimics the feel and form of the classic home arcade controller. To fully immerse yourself in the nostalgia, the package includes the Stella Atari 2600 emulator and a bundle of 80 games originally available for the old yet unforgettable console.
The controller did receive two updates that make it more suited for modern times. First, you can plug it via USB, allowing you to play it on both Mac and PC systems. Second, they built the whole exterior in clear plastic and threw in blue blinking lights inside. Why? We're not sure either, but it does seem cornier, dorkier and just plain geekier that way.
According to its creators, the Clear Classic USB Joystick is compatible with all emulators for Atari, Amiga and Commodore, along with MAME and most modern games that use a standard USB joystick. The entire controller board inside is easily removable too, allowing tinkerers to work their DIY magic on it without restraints.
They have it on sale now for $29.95.