Peripheral Vision: Quick Shot XII QS-112 and RadioShack Archer Joysticks for the NES

Remember being a kid and wanting something so badly but you only ever got the chance to own it as an adult? I do! And for me that was a Quick Shot joystick for the NES. I was actually quite fond of Top Gun, but highly frustrated by the convoluted landing scheme to finish the level. In my dumb childhood brain I thought if I owned a Quick Shot joystick I could land on the carrier every single time. Fast forward to finding one at a thrift store as an adult and the nostalgia of wanting one as a kid came rushing back. All my childhood dreams were about to come true, or so I initially hoped.

The Quick Shot XII had the look of a lean, mean Top Gun flying machine, all crammed into a beige and grey joystick. When I finally got the chance to sit down and play Top Gun with the QS-112 the first thing I noticed was just how loose the joystick is. I’m just assuming that’s from use throughout its lifetime but I can wiggle the base of the joystick and move the plane in the game. After figuring out that the trigger is B and the top button is A I was ready to set off on a grand adventure of blowing up enemy planes and saving the day. However, in reality the QS-112 didn’t make playing the game any easier. Even with the rapid fire option turned on, I was still so out of practice with the game that I just couldn’t do very well.

Despite my abysmal playing the joystick actually has a very ergonomic grip and everything fits really well in the hand. The suction cups are almost useless these days, but if you can manage to get a few to stick it feels nice to get it stuck down to a base, or holding it in your other hand. In fact you can use it with either hand equally, which I always find to be a nice feature. Although I guess with the simplicity of joysticks they should be able to be played left or right handed.

If I had one problem with the QS-112, and its RadioShack branded twin, it would be that the cable is awfully short. This is a complaint I’ve had with many, nay, nearly all of my third-party controllers. I’m not sure why Nintendo had these long cables on the OEM controllers, but every single one of my third-party controllers’ cables are just short of being comfortably away from the console. The QS-112 works well with any game, if you’re willing to try it out. While testing with Super Mario Bros. I actually had quite a fun time. Was the Quick Shot XII everything I thought it was as a kid? No, but I don’t think it’s completely useless either.

Posted May 1st, 2020