Sunday, October 16, 2011

Another Arkanoid 2 Controller

Yup, more Famicom stuff I bought. Today: Arkanoid II complete in box.

This was another Omocha Souko find. This wasn`t in the junk section, in fact it wasn`t even in the Omocha Souko I usually go to. This was in the other one way out in the east of town, which I only get to once every 3 or 4 months at best.

They were having a 50% off sale and this was usually 1200 yen, but marked down to 600 (about 8$), which I thought was too good to pass up.

Arkanoid II is a really good game to get boxed because when you open the box it has this:
The Vaus Arkanoid controller!

There are actually two versions of the Famicom Arkanoid controller. Way back in 2009 the subject of the second post I ever put up on this blog was about the other version of this controller, which is shaped a bit differently and blue.

I was never satisfied with that one though because it has this glitch in it that prevents you from moving the Vaus all the way to the right of the screen, making it effectively useless. So I was pretty happy to find this one complete with the box and everything for such a cheap price.
This controller is, incidentally, something that you really do need to play Arkanoid or Arkanoid II properly on the Famicom. You can play both games with the standard Famicom controller, but the problem is that you don`t get any differential speed on those. That means you can`t race over when the ball takes an unexpected bounce and you`ll find yourself constantly losing lives that could have been saved if you had the proper controller. Getting past about the third level is very difficult when Arkanoid is played that way.

Well, it is actually difficult to get past level three using this controller too, I haven`t quite gotten used to it yet. I still like it quite a bit.

Another thing I discovered with this purchase which will only be of interest to people who fervently collect Famicom games is that Taito seems to have released two versions of the Arkanoid II cart:
The one on the top is the Arkanoid II cart I`ve had for a while. The one on the bottom is the one I got with this boxed one. As you can see, they are different.

(light coughing heard in the distance, tumbleweed blows by)

Yeah, OK, not exactly an earth shattering discovery, but I still thought it was neat. I`ve seen lots of copies of the top version of the cart, but this is the first I`ve seen of the bottom version.

Related Posts
-Arkanoid Vaus Controller
Link-Fukuoka Famicom Shops VII: the Other Omocha Souko


  1. I wish my Mandarake would have 50% off sales ;_;

  2. I always have a soft spot in my heart for Arkanoid. It's always been my dad's favorite game (one of them at least), and it probably was one of the first video games I ever played back on his Commodore 64.

  3. You're spot on with the controller being essential for getting the most out of these games. I couldn't imagine playing Breakout or Kaboom on the Atari 2600 without the paddle controllers.

  4. Brandon - 50% off sales are so awesome! Which Mandarake is `yours`BTW? :) If the one here in Fukuoka ever has such a sale I think I`ll go crazy.

    Nate - I have a soft spot for Arkanoid too. The first time I ever played it was on an arcade machine in a hotel in Spain in the late 80s while we were on family vacation. Me and all the other kids took turns on it for the whole week we were there. Then when I got home my dad got me a copy for my Apple IIC and I played it like mad. Great memories.

    Sean - yes, the controllers are so important! Incidentally I really want to get a 2600 someday and Breakout and Kaboom are also on my want lists.

  5. Sweet! Anything Arkanoid-related, or indeed Taito-related, is automatically awesome! :) I learnt to play Arkanoid with the keyboard of my Speccy so I've never been able to get used to playing it with a paddle controller but this must be a nice piece of kit to own :)

  6. Yeah, it is a pretty cool thing to own!

    Arkanoid is one of those games that is immensely dependent on whatever controller you use. I first played it on an arcade cabinet, then played it with a joystick on my Apple IIC, then played it with a regular Famicom controller and finally with this special Famicom controller.

    Each time it is like learning to play a completely different game! I imagine on the keyboard of a Spectrum it must have been completely different too.

  7. Yes, it sure was because the 'left' key moved the Vaus faster than the 'right' key which took a bit of getting used to! :P

  8. Wow, that is odd! So if the ball went to the left you had a better chance of getting over to it than if it went to the right? Must have been a challenge to get used to:)

  9. As I am sure you know, this is the original Arkanoid Vaus controller even though it was packaged with Arkanoid II. The Vaus II you have is superior because it has an adjustment that solves the very "glitch" you speak of while this one does not. To fix this one you will have to take it apart and add a trimmer resistor in series with the main pot, which is difficult without the right tools. Be careful! The pot is soldered to the PCB *and* secured to the shell with a nut! Pull the knob off and take off the nut before you try to take it apart (but driver with hole for pot shaft, offset wrench, 8mm socket, pliers, etc).