Today, I’m looking at another Family Computer joystick. This time, it’s the Family King. A joystick that boasts an automatic centering system. This joystick, like the previous entry in the series, was produced by Spital (pronounced Supitaru). Also like the previous entry, the joystick was released in Type 1 and Type 2 variations. This is the Type 2 variation, which means that not only does it lack the Start and Select buttons of the Type 1, but is also completely *useless* if you don’t have a Type 1 joystick…and I don’t. Fortunately, it IS compatible with the Family Champ Type 1
The controls aren’t nearly as crisp on the Family King as they were on the Family Champ, but they ARE a bit more forgiving. Pac-Man controls much easier (though still not as smoothly as I’d like) with this joystick.
The A and B buttons have more “spring” to them than I’m used to. They don’t feel as crisp as buttons on Famicom controllers usually do. This becomes noticeable when you’re playing a game that requires a lot of quick actions, like Makaimura (Ghosts n’ Goblins). And with a game *that* hard, if you need more of a challenge, you may consider rocket science or brain surgery, because you’ll find none among video games, friend.
This joystick has a neat transforming gimmick. You can move the action button from the top of the controller to the front. This is designed for shooting games like Xevious and it works really well for them. Not for *me* though, since my hands are HUGE and this controller was made for either a child or a VERY small adult.
The Family King isn’t a *bad* controller. It looks very appealing and it works reasonably well. Better, certainly, that some NES joysticks that saw release in the 80’s and early 90’s. The transforming gimmick is a nice feature (if your hands are small enough) and it *is* more forgiving of split-second mistakes than the Family Champ. If you can get it on the cheap, you may want to pull the trigger. But if not, there are better things to spend money (probably) importing.
That’s good, too!