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Sinclair SJS1

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Sinclair SJS1
Sinclair SJS1 joystick.jpg
The Ford Pinto of computer joysticks.
Developer: Amstrad (under the Sinclair brand)
Release Date: 1986


The Sinclair SJS1 is a joystick made by Amstrad for the ZX Spectrum, specifically the ZX Spectrum +2 and +3 line of computers that were also made by Amstrad once they bought out Sinclair in 1986. Although the ZX Spectrum is a classic computer among British and European gamers of the 1980's, this joystick was panned by many people for its poor build quality.

Why It Flopped

  1. Typical for an Amstrad product, this joystick was built very cheaply.
  2. The SJS1 is not very good to use, as it's somewhat uncomfortable to hold.
  3. The SJS1 is incredibly unreliable, as it's infamous for breaking easily after only a couple of uses, or, in some cases, being broken within weeks of not using it.
  4. This joystick was actually a remodeled version of another terrible joystick: the Amstrad JY2, except the SJS1 only has one button compared to two buttons on the JY2 (which both typically had the same function, as most computer games of the time supported only one fire button), is slightly larger than the JY2, and there's no option to daisy chain the controllers, as Amstrad's ZX Spectrum models came with 2 controller inputs by default compared to Amstrad CPC's 1 controller input.
  5. This joystick is incompatible with older ZX Spectrum models. Though, to be fair, this was made with the newer ZX Spectrum model controller connectors in mind.

The Only Redeeming Quality

  1. Once the SJS1 is broken, the joystick can be shaken, which makes it rather useful for games like Daley Thompson's Decathlon and Hyper Sports, which require waggling the joystick left and right repeatedly to get the man to run, that is, assuming the joystick still registers left and right movements.

Trivia

  • It was one of the first joysticks to use the 9-pin Sinclair joystick input, which was exclusive to the ZX Spectrum +2 and +3 computers, and while it looked similar to the 9-pin Kempston joystick input, it was incompatible with the Kempston joystick ports, as the Sinclair input was wired up differently.

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