TRICKY STICK TO MASTER
THE LONG-AWAITED Trickstick from East London Robotics has been released. It is a 7in. long black plastic cylinder with six touch-sensitive pads which simulate the four usual joystick movements plus two fire buttons. It is complete with an interface which plugs into the back of the Spectrum. Up to eight can be plugged in at any time and there is an option to give proportional movement on specially-written games. Normally it simulates the Kempston joystick, so there are many games readily available on which it can be used. The touch pads are drawing pins which use your body as an aerial to pick up mains hum. That is convened by the electronics to simulate the keypress. As some people are better 'aerials' than others, the sensitivity of the stick can be altered by a small screw near the top.
The stick was tried on a number of games, including the trainer tape supplied, and worked well. It takes some time to get used to it, unlike a joystick but, once mastered, was just as useful. The only difficulty is that you need two hands to use it, so for games where you have to use the keyboard as well as a joystick, you have to keep removing one hand.
If you are looking for a joystick, the Trickstick is worth considering. As it has no moving parts it should withstand a good deal of use and, provided you can spend time getting used to it, it is quicker than most joysticks.
Trickstick is available by mail order for £34.50 from East London Robotics Ltd, Gate 11, Royal Albert Dock, London £16.