Original “hex” joystick for Atari 2600. The Atari sticker (or “Sears”) on top of stick helps you spot it– but that sticker is almost never there as it does not stay attached very well. These sticks have a slight inset/indent in the top (which is not there on newer models) for the sticker- which is a visual tell if the sticker is missing. If you are holding it, you will notice the metal spring action as you move it around. The flexible cover around the stick is also a separate piece. Finally, the yellow dashes around the circle do not say “TOP” like newer models.
A few pics of a homemade ROM / EPROM reader:
Obviously a later version, as box mentions Commodore compatibility too.
The newer 2600 (plastic innards instead of the original metal spring loaded “hex”) joysticks did not hold up very well (crack!) if you played a lot. Getting a replacement joystick was a common occurrence and might come in a box like this:
I wish these were mine. Wow, a perfect set of heavy sixer “hex” joysticks. I would not even guess at what these might go for. Single hex joysticks with the decal *missing* go for around $50 in average condition. Add the actual disc decal and the same single standard condition stick goes for $100+. Now, take a pair, still in box, which look almost mint…. well, you get the picture.
Do pictures like this give you goose bumps? Look at all those unlabeled roms– I want to try every one and see what loads up!
Of the many types of joysticks, I found the WICO sticks to be the most durable and responsive for Atari 2600 and C64 gaming. There is another WICO version with a red ball, but the slim “bat handle” (as shown below) variation is my favorite.