Happ Controls Competition Joystick
Review by Kevin Steele
The Happ Controls Competition Joystick
The Happ Controls Competition joysticks is the one joystick in the roundup that I feel most comfortable calling the "industry standard." Used by both SlikStik and Treyonics as the default joystick on their controllers, the Competition is a good, reliable, all-around performance joystick.
One of the more unique aspects of the Competition joystick is the square actuator on the bottom of the shaft (the part that actually pushes the microswitches). The large square shape seems to nearly fill all the space between the microswitches, and it provides quick, solid contact with the switches when the joystick is moved.
As with most joysticks, installation of the Competition is not difficult, although you do need to make sure you carefully note the orientation of some of the parts (such as the actuator) when you remove them, so that you can re-assemble it properly. I found the Competition joystick fairly typical in terms of ease-of-installation (it wasn't brain surgery, in other words!)
The Happ Controls Competition joystick, like the Happ Controls Super joystick, has a light spring, and was very easy to push around. The Competition had the same ease of circular motions and accompanying chorus of microswitch clicks.
The Competition joystick is actually slightly lighter in feel than the Super, but it also requires just slightly more motion of the joystick shaft before a switch is engaged (which seems strange, considering how close the actuator is to the switches!)
Once again, the Happs "feel" is present, and there's really very little difference between the Happs Competiton and Super in overall feel.
Sound and Size
Like I've already mentioned with the Super, there is a distinctive "clickiness" to microswitch-based joysticks. Once you get used to it the clicking is not bad at all, but it is certainly a defining characteristic of this type of joystick.
The Competition joystick is the yardstick by which I am judging the other joysticks, at least in terms of height. It sits 2.5" high (subtract 3/4" if mounted in a wood CP), and has a 1.25" diameter handle top. This height felt just about perfect for my hands.
The Competition's handle has a more tapered shape to it, compared to the "teardrop ball" on the Super joystick. This gives the joystick a slightly different feel in the hand, but I can't really categorize one or the other as superior.
The Competition, like the Happ Controls Super joystick, provides a light, fast style of gameplay.
Diagonals were even more restrictive than the Super, with a 10° range, the same as the Wico joystick. That said, I didn't find it any more difficult to hit diagonals with the Competition joystick compared to the Super, and it was certainly easier compared to the Wico Leaf switch joystick.
The following chart lists the joystick test results, current as of this review. The chart will continue to fill in with data as the "Joystick Roundup" continues.
Used by several MAME controller manufacturers, the Competition is a very good all-around joystick. It doesn't excel at anything in particular, but neither does it lack in any area. Like other microswitch-based joysticks it is a bit noisy, but you really can't go wrong with the Competition as a low-cost, high-performance joystick choice.