The Devastator II’s spinner is a unique “hybrid” design, combining some of Oscar Control’s spinner components with some of Treyonics’ own parts.
The spinner is easily one of the “heaviest” I’ve tried, somewhat similar to the Oscar Pro but with even more mass. This similarity isn’t entirely surprising, as the spinner uses an encoder wheel, optics, and knob from Oscar Controls.
The flywheel and bearing system are Treyonics’ own design, and spin times of close to a minute are possible according to Jim Kyrch. The spinner is a bit noisy compared to the other spinners I’ve tested, but it’s not a major issue.
The spinner uses a low-profile rubber-covered plastic knob. It isn’t as stylish as the aluminum knobs available from SlikStik or Oscar Controls, but it does provide a good grip, and even includes a small “finger dimple” on the top of the knob for quickly cranking up the spinner speed.
The extra flywheel mass can help with control in fine-control spinner games such as Arkanoid, but that extra weight can also make gameplay a bit tougher in fast spinner games such as Tempest, as it makes it harder to quickly change direction.
There was some slight knob side-to-side “shimmy” when the spinner was spun, symptomatic of a slightly off axis knob. Also, the spinner unit itself has some “wobble” – you can grab the knob and wiggle the entire spinner assembly slightly from side-to-side, much like the wobble in the Oscar Up/Down spinner when the optional sleeve bearing is not installed.
Here are my scores for the Treyonics spinner if I was grading it in the Spinner Roundup (please note that I didn't get the chance to test the backspin level or ease of installation):
* With Optional Sleeve Bearing Installed
As I mentioned in the video “mini-review”, the bottom of the Devastator II is covered by ordinary pegboard, which looks a bit amateurish to me, especially compared to the other controllers I’ve reviewed (especially the SlikStik’s custom CNC-milled “mounting plate” bottom).
Still, once you unscrew the pegboard, you’ll discover that the interior of the Devastator is actually very professional looking. The wiring is clean and well routed, with good bundling throughout. It's very well done. A nice touch is that each button has a hand-written label nearby indicating its assigned function.
Treyonics grounds all the switches via a terminal strip, with "daisy-chained" connectors on each set of buttons and each joystick. This is a unique technique which differs from SlikStik and Ultimarc’s “daisy-chained” ground connectors for all of their ground connections.
Everything in the Devastator II is controlled by Ultimarc’s MiniPAC, an “all-in-one” encoder that handles keyboard, spinner, and trackball encoding in one tiny unit. I believe Treyonics is the first control panel maker to use the MiniPAC, and it allows the Devastator II to interface with just a single USB cable.
One little “gotcha” with using the MiniPAC is that it can control both the spinner or trackball, but not both at the same time – if you start using the spinner, the MiniPAC disables the trackball. To switch between using the trackball and spinner controllers, you need to wait about 5 seconds. Which ever controller is used next becomes active, while the other controller is deactivated.
This activation/deactivation of controls can obviously cause some confusion, but in some ways it can be a positive thing: for example, accidentally bumping the trackball during a spinner game won’t cause any control problems, or vice versa. The MiniPAC does simplify a lot about the internal design, and once again, kudos to Treyonics.
Treyonics takes a very friendly approach to customers, with frequent feedback including snapshots of a customers’ control panel at various stages of construction. They offer unit customization, including a nice online "Configurator" for picking custom colors and joystick configurations. You will get definitely get personalized attention. It’s a small company, and doesn’t pretend not to be.
In the end, the Devastator II by Treyonics is a solid effort marred by a few questionable style and design decisions. Some of these decisions, like the top-fire joystick, are easily remedied. Others, such as the mounting bolts, may take a bit of work to address. The Devastator II retails for $395, a fair price for all that is included. The Devastator II may not have quite the fit-and-finish “polish” or some of the nice extra features of the SlikStik controllers, but it is still a MAME controller worthy of your consideration.