Last Updated on June 23, 2022 by Dave Farquhar
Before the Amiga was a computer, Amiga was a struggling independent company trying to stay in business so it would get its chance at changing the world. In order to make ends meet while they developed their multitasking computer, Amiga produced and sold joysticks for the game systems and computers that were already on the market. It was called the Amiga Power Stick.
These joysticks turn up on Ebay fairly frequently. The going rate on them tends to be between $10-$15.
These controllers get extreme reactions. Some people love them. Some hate them. They were small, so they fit in small hands rather nicely, and offered much better precision than anything Atari made, at least when new.
Amiga also made versions for TI computers and Coleco Vision game consoles. The catalog number for the Atari compatible version was 3100 for a single and 3101 for a pair. The price wasn’t bad at the time, at around $14 for a single or $20 for a pair.
It had fire buttons on both sides, so you could use it right- or left-handed, and its small size even made it possible to use with one hand if you wanted. Inside, it was like future Amiga products. High quality and over-engineered.
Unfortunately for Amiga, the Power Stick reached the market in late 1983 and early 1984, as the market for video games was crashing. The Power-Stick bought the struggling company some time but didn’t save it.
Amiga didn’t catch a lot of breaks.
Amiga spent 1984 looking for a buyer. That fall, they ended up in the hands of Commodore–who then faced a lawsuit from rival Atari over the rights to the company they’d just bought. The Amiga computer hit the market in late 1985, much later than anyone at Commodore or Amiga wanted. Commodore and Atari settled the lawsuit in 1987, long after Atari had released the Atari ST, which Commodore engineers Bil Herd and Dave Haynie often note bore a suspicious resemblance to the cancelled Commodore 900 with a Motorola 68000 CPU in place of the Zilog 8000 that Commodore had intended to use.
Commodore never put the Power-Stick back into production. But it’s an interesting relic for Commodore and Amiga enthusiasts, and I suppose for Atari enthusiasts too, since it lets you see what the Atari 2600 designers made when they set out to design a really high-quality controller after their game system had been on the market a few years.
Collecting Amigas gets expensive, and while the Amiga Joyboard can be expensive too, the Power Stick is pretty affordable.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.