FIRST 128K +2 PERIPHERAL
Talk about quick off the mark. Cheetah must take this year's award for the fastest response time ever.
The company has rejigged its best-selling 125 joystick to be compatible with Amstrad's new 128K+2 Spectrum. The joystick was launched at the Personal Computer World Show at the same time as the computer itself - that's quick.
The problem with connecting ordinary joysticks to the 128K+2 is that they simply won't work. For what can only be cynical reasons Amstrad has configured the pins in the machine differently from the configuration used in virtually every other machine under the sun - whilst retaining the Atari D-type socket. Assuming a good many people will want to up-grade to the 128K+2 from their existing Spectrum - for which they may have already got some joysticks, absurdly enough, the only way they can use them is in the same old way, ie plugging in an interface into the back expansion port. Craziness.
The joystick Amstrad wants you to buy costs £14.95 and is worryingly insubstantial.
However, Amstrad's hopes of cleaning up in the joystick market seem to have been dashed now by Cheetah. For £8.95 you can buy the 125+, an unpretentious lever-switch joystick that has been a staple unit for a good long while. The only difference between this joystick and the old 125 is the addition of a new grey cable which runs out from the conventionally- wired connector and ends in a repinned connector.
You can tell which is which easily - the 128K+2 section is grey - like the machine itself.
The change is simple and works. It isn't an astounding joystick - like all lever-switch style joysticks I probably wouldn't expect to last all that long.
But it has lots of features, like auto-fire and multiple-fire buttons and is easy to grip. It is certainly better than the Amstrad offering for considerably less cash.
Actually, you don't even have to buy the joystick if you already have one. Cheetah are marketing a lead for £2.99 which will convert your old joystick to the new format.