720 Arcade Joystick
MAME: Analog+ How-To-Use
720° Arcade Circular Spinner Joystick
5 years ago Aaron Giles created a MAME driver that enabled us all to play the actual arcade version of 720 degrees (one of my favorite arcade games) on the home computer. The only problem was that the game used a unique joystick controller which meant that playing the game with a mouse or a joystick didn't work very well. I was very disappointed then, and waited for it to be fixed... And waited... And waited... Eventually, I realized that there was no reason for me not to make it work right myself, so I created this page and got to work.
The original 720° arcade joystick could only spin in circles. In other words, it could only rotate around the circumference of the circle and could never be moved to the center (see the image to the left). Whatever direction you turned the joystick, the skateboard would move. This makes for a really good way to control a skateboarder, because turning consists of fluid sweeping turns like with a real skateboard. The MAME code treated the joystick like an ordinary spinner (like with Arkanoid) which doesn't give you control over which direction you are facing. This makes it very difficult to play the game properly, because you don't have the precise control over your direction that you had in the arcade.
Those days are now over because 720° can finally be played acceptably on a home computer using either an actual joystick from the arcade machine, an analog joystick (thanks to u_rebelscum), or an 8-way joystick. U_rebelscum's MAME Analog+ (a special version of MAME that adds improved support for analog devices) now supports all of these different options.
Originally, I made this page in the hopes that other people could help me out. I will continue to leave this page up because if I had found this page 2 years ago, it would have thrilled me to the teeth, so I figure that there might be somebody else out there with the same curiosity/need that I had who could benefit from this page.