Joysticks have some very obvious uses in gaming: they enable you to replicate a little of the arcade feel in your home; they make flight sim games feel more real; and they let you express dominance when playing against a friend of sibling on a home computer, because you can force them to use the keyboard controls like a pleb.
What they don’t do is bleep at you to tell you to stop gaming. Until now.
Meet the QuickJoy V SuperBoard SV-125. The future of gaming joysticks? Probably not. Weird, though.
The SV-125 is from an age where the Sears Video Arcade, a fully-licensed clone of the Atari 2600, was still a thing but the Amiga was coming onto the scene too; so it’s fairly easy to place this on store shelves around the 1988-1990 period. Around this time, joysticks were a big thing in gaming but nobody could agree on what a joystick should look like, feel like or work like.
The joystick has many of the standard features of a mid-to-high end stick. It has a turbo feature. It has multiple buttons, most of which the average player would never have a need for (especially if it is used on an Atari 2600, which has only one joystick button by default). It has Amstrad CPC support, which not all joysticks did because the CPC used an Atari-style 9-pin socket only it didn’t use the standard I/O signals. As features go, those are all either standard or nice to have.
What isn’t standard is the alarm clock.
Yes, you read that right. This thing has a built-in alarm clock with a four-digit timer to set the amount of time it will count down from. I’ll give the designers their due, the alarm clock is moulded nicely into the base and gives the whole thing a nice look to it but come on, it’s an alarm clock.
We can just imagine how the meeting went during the design of this thing…
“Stephens, what does our next joystick need?”
“A turbo option? Good microswitches? A firm grip so it doesn’t slip out of your hands while gaming?”
“No, Stephens. An alarm clock!”
“Sir, are you okay? Do you need me to call someone to take you home?”
Many of us had parents who didn’t want us to waste all our time gaming as a kid. They would often set time limits for how long we could play; and it was an ongoing battle of wits to try to squeeze in a little more time on your favourite games, often by claiming you had “lost track of time”. That excuse was good for getting you out of trouble if you went over by five or ten minutes on your limit, just to finish your game.
Well now you can’t do that. Not with this joystick anyway. The SV-125 will tell on you.
What kind of gamer wants a snitch for a joystick? No gamer, that’s who. Nevertheless, this thing seems to have sold pretty well. You can find them here and there on eBay and although ones without a busted LCD timer go for a not unreasonable sum, you can pick up a used stick if you shop around. The microswitches and turbo features plus the general design of the stick make it a decent enough purchase; as long as you’re willing to risk it telling your spouse how much you game, that is.
Don’t trust it, basically. It would tell on you as a kid and it will tell on you now.