Task: Purchase a Hyperkin Ranger Gamepad for your Atari 8-Bit Computer or Console
Needed: Web browser
Time: 10-15 mins
Finding a solid controller for your 8-bit computers and consoles can be a problem. This is especially true since the original controllers can break or become inaccurate. Paddle controllers are particularly flaky. Hyperkin is a company which makes new hardware for old systems including controllers. I have previously posted about the Hyperkin Retron 77 which functions as an Atari 2600 by running the Stella emulator under the hood. The Retron 77 comes with a nice newly made joystick which can be bought separately.
The Hyperkin Ranger is a gamepad and feels much more like a modern console controller. It has a small joystick you control with one thumb and a fire button you control with the other. It has a nice feel, is well-balanced, and is quite solid. The orientation of the joystick to left or right thumb is controlled by a switch. A really nice feature of the Ranger is that it has a built-in paddle controller which also has a really feel to it with high sensitivity and consistency compared to the original Atari paddles which haven’t aged well. A switch also toggles between joystick and paddle.
The Ranger is made for the Atari 2600 and the Retron 77 and works great with both. However, only the joystick worked for me on the Atari 8-bit computers. I have seen other comments about this online. Not sure why this would be the case, but keep this in mind if you buy one. Overall, I can give this controller a solid recommendation and am happy to have one.
Before you purchase please note that the gamepad will not work as a paddle controller on the 8-bit computers. The joystick works fine. It is really designed for the 2600 and Retron 77.
Purchase a Hyperkin Ranger Gamepad. These are available on Amazon for around $25.
I recently did a post about Joust on the Atari 8-bit computers and thought this would make a great game to test the Ranger. I really did not notice a difference in gameplay between the Ranger and an original Atari joystick on my Atari 800XL. I was very impressed. I also tried the paddle controller with Breakout on an original Atari 2600 and it worked great. Very smooth and responsive with a great feel to it. The price seems about right for what you get.