Joy (not) Stick Only games

edited September 22 in Games
It seems relatively common to find say C64, Amiga and in some cases Amstrad CPC games that are 'joystick control only'

To be fair the port or two was built into those machines, however in some cases it seemed odd to not have keyboard controls (moreso in games that were CPC versions of Speccy games)***

Given up until the +2 appeared there was not a built in Joystick port, as we can't really count the Sinclair IF2 as it was not 'standard' as in supplied with every Speccy etc...

Were there -any- Spectrum games that were completely reliant on a joystick for their operation ?

As in 'no keyboard controls' ?

I can't honestly think of one. I guess some games might of wanted a combination of keys/stick perhaps but I'm thinking here no joystick=game unusable completely rather than 'its almost impossible via keyboard control'


*** The Amstrad version of KokotoniWilf is one example here, 99% sure it does not have any keyboard controls. Seem to recall Gillian's Gold was the same for that platform but I could be mistaken on that.
Post edited by spider on


  • I never used a joystick with my Speccy because of two reasons.

    1) keyboard controls are way more precise.
    2) keyboard controls don't suddenly fry your interface socket and kill your Speccy.
  • I guess games where the only keyboard option is cursor keys are technically joystick only - there must be some of those. Also, any game that uses Cursor, Fuller, AGF, Protek or Sinclair joystick options, technically supports the keyboard. Was it only Kempston that wasn't mapped to keyboard keys?
  • Does Alien Attack count?
    The keys are 1 to 0, so technically you could play it with 2 Sinclair joysticks.... It's actually quite a tense little game!

    This Alien Attack by Cascade is listed as MIA, despite the fact I just played it - it's files are actually attached to a different Alien Attack here
  • A bit off-topic, but if I recall it correctly, IK+ was a Joystick only game for me. Might have been a different game, not 100% sure here, but anyway - here in Krautland Speccy games weren't really sold in the shops anymore after around 1988, and I didn't have any classmates with a Speccy to swap games with. To get new games, I swapped C60 or C90 tapes with a few blokes living hundreds of kilometers away (we sent the tapes to each other by mail), and quite a few of those copies were Multiface 1/128 copies. In the case of IK+, apparently you could not return to the Joystick selection screen and my copy was set to Kempston.
  • To be entirely joystick dependent, a game would have to be Kempston only. Since the other predominant standards all mapped the joystick onto variations of keyboard keys. It's not impossible, but it seems pretty unlikely.
  • Yes I could not think of another interface that is not part of the keyboard as such.

    In answer to other posts in general, I meant no key-mappings (as you can find on some C64 and some CPC games for instance) , although I think in the latter case might be able to use arrow keys maybe, I'm not 100% on that mines having a rest and emulation is not ideal for this test.

    Just seemed vaguely acceptable ( ? ) on other platforms for some games.
  • Well, if your membrane started to give up on life, as long as the J key, the P key, the symbol shift key and the enter key worked, all games would be joystick only :))
  • 1024MAK wrote: »
    Well, if your membrane started to give up on life, as long as the J key, the P key, the symbol shift key and the enter key worked, all games would be joystick only :))
    I think this was why the Amstrad machines just had a few erm 'essentials' printed onto a few keys:

    And a few symbols on some of the "bottom row" keys.

    It would look quite cluttered I think if they had printed them all on the +2/+3 in ToastRack/+ style perhaps.

    Incidentally you've reminded me of a small mod I thought about performing to the 48K Rom and to some extent the 128 Rom. I'll have a look at doing this over the weekend (famous last words) then no doubt be posting asking for guides! :( :)

  • I went through a few keybaord membranes and it was always the P key that wore out first! Not only did that poor key have to cope with LOAD "" but also my regular QAOP control choice too!

    Many times while waiting for a new membrane, I had to mash the P key to death just to load a game, then choose alternate controls to play with. :))
    I was stuck if a game enforced use of the P key... :(
  • I think you may like my idea then, (it is probably not what you might think!) but I want to see how easy it is to do first then I'll be back when I can't figure it out! :)
  • When my "P" key stopped working, I used to type
    10 REM xx
    POKE 23759,239
    POKE 23760,34
    POKE 23761,34
    That changed line 10 to 10 LOAD "", which I would run to load the game.
    Then the "0" stopped working, so it became POKE 23759+1,34.
    Unfortunately, without a working "0", lots of games couldn't be started, even though they would've worked fine.
    I managed to work out some pokes to change the keys on some games, so it turned out to be quite educational.
  • edited October 24
    Nice :D

    The worst key to stop working is the enter key...

    Post edited by 1024MAK on
  • My plan was simply this, more practical for the 16/48 machines as the 128's have a one-key (wonky?) menu.

    Upon startup , still display the (C) message. Upon pressing a key immediately attempt to load a Basic program, the same was as if one had typed in LOAD ""

    I did consider the fact that if you choose 'space' as the key to remove the startup banner copyright it would likely do an Error D if you were not quick in releasing the key, I also thought about it only accepting say a letter or Enter to enter the auto load mode but that seemed like too much fuss.

    If one wanted Basic instead you'd simply start the machine, press a key then space/break and away you'd go.

    Do realise its not quite as easy as it first appears as you've set it up to in effect do a two part load (the header then the basic itself) however the idea may have a spot of merit to it.
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