With the standard 5200 controllers having so many perceived (and perhaps
real) shortcomings, it's no wonder that Atari's engineers burned the midnight
oil trying to come up with solutions to overcome the handicap. Here's another
example of a perfectly good idea that never saw the light of day. Imagine
being able to enjoy Super Breakout, Pole Position
and Kaboom! with a paddle controller! To be fair, however,
a self-centering, digital joystick would still have been the preferred
item if push came to shove, what with the standard joysticks having analog
support that did a serviceable job with its analog functions.
This particular prototype was sent in from a reader of Digital Press
(www.digitpress.com) for us to check out. Judging from the pics, some
individuals might be led to believe that it's nothing more than a hack
job (or a fake) that any casual hacker could put together overnight.
But notice the "Rubio" sticker on the back of the paddle: we know for
a fact that Rubio was an ex-Atari guy who worked on several 5200 projects
(his name can also be found on the title screen of the
Ticker Tape Demo). Chalk yet another item into the
"unreleased 5200 prototype" memory bank.