Leobardo resides in Mexico and contacted us to ask about the joystick you see below. Though I have seen similar sticks in the U.S. I did not have too many details to provide. That's when I suggested to Leobardo that he provide a review for the Retroblast readers.
What follows are Leobardo's impressions of the Acteck control panel as well as a comparison of other higher-end panels. To celebrate the international participation in this RetroBlast review, we are also making the full text available in Spanish as well.
Thanks again Leobardo!
Acteck Xtreme Player PRO (AGJ-3500)
Size: 35w x 22.5d x 4h (cm)
Buttons: 9 + select + start (10 re-mappable buttons)
Interface: USB, X-Box, PS1 , PS2
Programmable: Yes (4 macros)
Software: Win98/ME drivers
In the Box
The Acteck Xtreme Player PRO arrived in a nice black and red box with logos of the systems with which it is compatible. It was well packaged for shipment, with foam pieces that maintain the joystick in its place.
Inside the box, you have the Acteck Xtreme Player PRO, a manual and the drivers CD for win98/ME.
The manual is quite simple and documents the special functions such the turbo (auto fire), analog/digital mode button, and the way in which to program the macros.
Fit & Finish
Once out of the box you notice that it's a little heavy, and that it is made of metal and the paint has a very smooth feeling. The control panel is large enough to comfortably rest on your knees or atop a table. The panel is well constructed and will hold up to agressive gameplay.
Taking the foam off you can see the interesting joystick is a really beautiful asthetic combination off a standard arcade stick and a console-like gear stick with the addition of a thumb button. It feels great and its very ergonomic. I can't wait to play some aero combat simulators for use with the button to launch my missiles.
There are 10 gameplay buttons, 8 are used for the regular play and the other 2 are use as select and start. In MAME I assigned select and start to coin1 and start1. The thumb button is a duplicate "L2" input so I did not count it as another input. The remaining buttons are to select between analog /digital mode , to program up 4 macros and to active the auto fire (turbo).
Ok but were is the cable? Turning the unit over you can see a door and inside the cables are tucked away. This its a very usefully detail because you can adjust how long you want he cord and you can keep the rest hidden.
Because the Acteck Xtreme Player PRO uses its own custom joystick and buttons, things felt just a little bit "off." The stick its gorgeous but the buttons leave you with the strange sensation that some thing is missed. They work well enough, but for most purists and arcade fans they do not feel very much like proper arcade buttons.
In using the system, just plug and play and no more is needed, I tested the controller on MAME in X-men VS Street Fighter and had no problem. It felt very comfortable making the combos and supers. Of course I tested the macros using 2 macros for specials and 2 for supers. I tested the controls on a PS2 and a XBOX and it works great, but there is no way to deactivate the force feedback option.
The agj-3500's lesser cousin, the agj-2800 has a ball top metal stick without thumb button, and the base is made of plastic. This unit is currently out of stock but I think it could be modified for use in and arcade cabinet. I could say that the agj-3500 is an 2800 with an ergonomic deluxe case.
- Ergonomic design and stability