Task: Purchase a Trak-Ball Controller for your Atari 8-Bit Computers and the 2600 Video Game Console
Needed: Web Browser
Time: 10-15 mins
One of my favorite games for the 2600 and the 800 was Missile Command. In fact, this was one of the first cartridges I had for my 800. The arcade version of Missile Command used a trackball controller to move the cursor around the screen for targeting missile launches. This was a very effective way to play Missile Command and using a joystick never felt quite right. Centipede and Millipede are some other popular trackball games.
Atari released a trackball controller for the 8-bit computers and consoles in the early 80s with the model number CX-22. A later version had model number CX-80 and featured a switch for toggling trackball vs. joystick mode. They called these the Trak-Ball Controller with a “k”. I was fortunate enough to pick up a CX-22 in a lot of 8-bit computer stuff a year or two ago (see photos). It still has the original price sticker on it ($21.99, on sale for $12.99).
The Atari CX-22 and CX-80 Trak Ball Controllers can be readily found on eBay for around $30 to $50 without the box. A boxed version can go for $100 or more.
Here is a PDF of the instruction manual for the CX-22.
A Trak-Ball controller is well worth the purchase if you really like Missile Command or Centipede.
Note that there is an Atari Trak-Ball Facebook page for enthusiasts!