Peripheral Vision: Beeshu Zinger NES Joystick
When it comes to playing the old NES I prefer the old tried and true method of a controller. On very rare occurrences would I ever want to use a joystick, but if I do I tend to use an Advantage. But it seems that the market was flooded with third-party joysticks for the NES. Were any of them good? Well today we’re going to be giving the Beeshu Zinger a try.
Much like its sibling, the Beeshu Zipper, the Zinger was available in many wild and zany color combinations. The Zinger was also an officially licensed product by Nintendo, but I don’t think the Zinger feels as nice as some of its competitors.
The base of the Zinger has four suction cups to secure the joystick to any flat surface. The base is also where you’ll find both A buttons, independent turbo switched for A and B, as well as the Select and Start buttons, around back of the joystick. Protruding from the center is, obviously, the joystick with both B buttons. Now you’ll noticed I said A was on the base and B was on the stick. This leads me to believe the Zinger was meant to be ambidextrous, allowing the player to use it either left or right handed freely, while also giving them two options for the B button.
While testing the Zinger I tried games like Galaxian and actually enjoyed myself. I’ve never been a fan of arcade style shooters, and perhaps that’s why I’ve never enjoyed joysticks, but using the Zinger with Galaxian kind of made me feel like I was at an arcade.
I also tried Super Mario Bros. with far less enthusiasm as I found while testing it with a good old space shooter. For platformers the Zinger isn’t horrible, it just might require more practice than I’m willing to give it. Being so familiar with the simplicity of a controller and switching to the more demanding joystick wasn’t much fun, but again it did the job, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I did the previous game.
The Zinger is actually surprisingly comfortable to hold in your hand and use. Also, as previously stated, there are four suction cups to plant it onto a flat surface, if you so choose. How you use the Beeshu Zinger is entirely up to you, but it’s nice to see that they included that option.
Even though the Beeshu Zinger is an officially licensed product I’m not really happy with the overall quality. The plastic kind of feels cheap, even for its day, and my yellow and black joystick reminds me of an N64 analog stick; kind of loose and sometimes it doesn’t function quite right. Perhaps I should give it a break for being over twenty years old, but either way I’m still not fully converted to using it over the NES controller or Advantage joystick. Regardless, they do look really nice displayed on a shelf.
About the author
Samuel Floyd first fell into video gaming with the Atari 2600...in the mid-90s! Always late into the system wars, Samuel enjoys that as he acquires them when they're cheap and the hot titles of yesteryear are bountiful. Samuel loves RPGs, his favorite being Crystalis for the NES.
Brian Barry November 23, 2018
I have an advertisement for this product in the official Sega newsletter in 1988 along with about 10 other Beeshuu controllers. They certainly were busy creating many different models. “Dual Auto-Fire, left and right hand play.”
huntervanwinkle January 31, 2020
My grandparents got me an NES in Christmas of 1986. Eventually we got Top Gun. My grandpa’s hands were stiff and swollen due to years of welding and automechanics. He hated the gamepad, couldn’t use it. He experimented with different joysticks. This one (the pink one) is the one he found and liked. He became obsessed with Top Gun. He recorded his high scores and marked them on a calendar. He eventually beat the Nintendo Power high score and submitted his own high score. By the time the next issue was published, his score was beaten by a large margin and he was sure the person was cheating (as he would consecutively beat the game and score millions of points, making almost no mistakes). He hung up the controller and game, but always talked about how addicted he was to Top Gun.
He was born in ’41 and idolized American fighter pilots as a kid. He wished he could have been a pilot.
Anyways, when he passed away in 2013 my grandma lost her house shortly after. I was packing up his stuff in his room and tucked away in his closet I found his trusty Beeshu Zinger along with the Top Gun cartridge wih his high scores. We also came across the calendar with all of his high score marks as well as the photo he took of the TV to submit to Nintendo Power.
I wish he could see a modern VKB HOTAS setup and Star Citizen. He would be absolutely astounded.
Thanks for the lovely article, brings back great memories and it’s nice to see this controller that’s so important to me documented. I certainly didn’t know the name or brand until now.
Brian Barry November 23, 2018
I was reading one of the 1988 Sega Newsletters, Issue 4 to be exact, and found an ad for this product on page15 that you might find interesting. This particular Zinger Beeshu is blue and white and the description reads, “Dual Auto Fire, left and right hand play.” There are several other Beeshu controllers depicted.