January 21, 2006
My friends Mike and Daphne bought Dance Dance Revolution (DDR)
for me for my PlayStation about a year ago. One day, while
playing the game, I had the idea that a DDR-like game would be
relatively trivial to implement on an Atari 8-bit computer.
The problem is: the dance pads. The DDR pads I have contain
special circuitry and a PlayStation connector, meaning connecting
them to the Atari's joystick ports would be non-trivial.
(At least, for me!)
I then remembered something I built 8 or so years ago, for the
next door neighbor's little 3 year old daughter to play with:
I took a flat surface (part of a PC case, I think?), an Atari
joystick cable, some wire, tin foil, a pencil and Scotch tape, and
constructed a simple "drum pad" for the Atari. Ground connects
to the pencil (the "drum stick"), and the wires for the stick
directions and fire button connect to areas of foil taped to the
surface. Tap the pencil on a surface and check STICK(0) in Atari
BASIC, and you're set!
So, I decided my first DDR-like game will be more of a
drum-machine-like game. Tonight, I spent 30 or 40 minutes
constructing a similar "cheap-ass" controller. Enjoy the
The top of the device. Being right-handed, I created a
layout that could be easily reached as though I was drawing.
I then divided it into 5 sections: four are the directions,
with Fire being the wedge at the lower right.
Drumming away in Atari BASIC. The screen flashes too, of course!
Close-up of the cruddy assembly. The joystick I disassembled
had metal connectors, which I didn't remove, and you can see showing
throw the foil.
This time, since I didn't have any loose wire handy, I decided to
use some of the loose connectors I had handy! A phono-to-3.5mm
adapter works as the connector. For now, a 3.5mm extension cord
acts the "drum stick" itself. (The female end obviously connects
to the drum controller, and the male end is what you touch it to
I call this the "Drum Stick." Get it? It's a drum pad made out
of a joystick! Har-har!
Underneath you can see the wiring.
A close up of the phono-to-3.5mm adapter.
The joystick was not harmed. If I want to resurrect it, I simply
need to reattach the connectors. (The board inside the stick even
has labels for which colored wire goes where!)
Most of the Atari BASIC program I whipped up for testing.
Each of the four direction pads controls a different voice which acts
as a different instrument in a drum set (i.e., they sound different.)
As the program runs, the volume of each voice continuously
decreases (different instruments at different rates than others).
Tap the 3.5mm extension cord (the 'stick') onto one of the pads
and the voice is raised up to 100%. Fire silences everything.
10 GRAPHICS 19
20 FOR Y=0 TO 23:COLOR Y:PLOT 0,Y:DRAWTO 39,Y:NEXT Y
110 IF S=7 AND OS<>7 THEN VR=15
120 IF S=11 AND OS<>11 THEN VL=15
130 IF S=14 AND OS<>14 THEN VU=15
140 IF S=13 AND OS<>13 THEN VD=15
150 IF STRIG(0)=0 THEN VR=0:VL=0:VU=0:VD=0
210 SOUND 0,0,8,VR
220 SOUND 1,100,12,VL
230 SOUND 2,20,0,VU
240 SOUND 3,255,12,VD
310 POKE 708,VR
320 POKE 709,80+VL
330 POKE 710,160+VU
340 POKE 712,192+VD
910 IF VR<1 THEN VR=0
920 IF VL<1 THEN VL=0
930 IF VU<1 THEN VU=0
940 IF VD<1 THEN VD=0
999 GOTO 100