Amiga multiplayer joystick adaptor


Now that kid #1 has reached a suitable age for providing some decent gaming competition, I dragged my old Amiga A500+ out of the attic intent on kicking her ass at Dyna Blaster (aka Bomberman).

Sadly the A500+ had spent one winter too many up there and no longer fired up. Fortunately Danny the server adminstrator had a trusty A600 he was able to lend me.

Now, I had a working Amiga, the Dyna Blaster disk and some good ol' 8-bit joysticks. Unfortunately the one part I couldn't find was the parallel port adaptor that came with Dyna Blaster and allowed the connection of two joysticks through the parallel port. As player 1 and player 2 are supposed to connect via this adaptor, I was a bit stuck.

So, it's a good job I pulled mine apart years ago and noted down how it was wired then. All you need are two male 9-pin D-type and one 25 pin male D-type connectors along with some wire.

Here's the circuit diagram. You'll notice there are no cabling joins, simply a straight wiring connection between some of the pins on the 25 way connector and some on the 9 way connectors.

 

 

dynacct.jpg

 

How it works is pretty simple. The 8-bit joysticks simply had microswitches which were actuated when you moved up, down, left or right (no analogue tomfoolery here - you were either going in one of these directions or you weren't!) Pins 1 to 4 on the 9-way connectors connect to the up, down, left and right microswitches respectively. Pin 6 connected to the fire button on the joystick while pin 8 is Ground.

Pins 2 to 9 on the 25 way connector were the data pins on the parallel interface. When moving up, down, left or right on either of the joysticks you would send one of these data pins to Ground and the game would be programmed to detect this and interpret it as the appropriate movement. The fire buttons of the two joysticks would connect to the Busy and Select pins of the parallel interface and again, the software would detect when these signals were forced low by the button push and interpret them accordingly.

It only took a few minutes to knock up a replacement adaptor and it works great. I used some yellow CAT-5 cable and got the coloured hoods from CPC .

 

amigaadaptor.JPG

 

I hear this same adaptor was used for other Amiga games including Kick Off 2 and Gauntlet 2, however I only ever had Dyna Blaster so I can't confirm this.

I just have to hope now that my old-skool gaming skills are still honed enough to beat my seven year old!