Image: Guru Meditation

Amiga Joyboard

Back in the early days of the very first incarnation of Amiga Incorporated (or was that "Amiga Corp."?), the newborn and mighty gods of Los Gatos felt the need to get their name on the video game industry radar. A little cash flow generation and a cover for their top secret project looked like good ideas, too. So they fished around, purchased the rights to some wacky items, and entered the gaming market with some video game cartridges for the Atari VCS, a joystick, and the item that has been immortalized in the lore of a fanatical computer cult: The Joyboard.

The Joyboard is a joystick for the feet. A video game player stands on the board and moves his/her entire body for directional control. A standard Atari-type joystick (like Amiga's own Power Stick) plugs into the Joyboard to give the player access to a fire button.

Image: Amiga Joyboard

How did the Joyboard become so important in Amiga lore? Well, apparently the guys at Amiga Inc. liked to relax by playing the Zen Meditation game. They would sit as still as possible on a Joyboard so as not to close any switches. That's where the name of the infamous "Guru Meditation" error in older versions of AmigaOS comes from.

Considering the Joyboard's history, I guess you could say it's a religious item. :-)

Image: Power System logo

This is the Power System logo, beside the ancient Amiga logo. These also appear on The Power Stick, though I have seen an Amiga Power Stick that said "PRIDE" in place of "AMIGA" (but still had "AMIGA" molded into the game connector).

There are some variations in the ancient Amiga logos that I have seen. The one on the Joyboard's label has triangles in the 'A's, but the ones molded into the connectors have large dots instead. The logo on the Power Stick's label has small dots. The level of the lines at either end of the logo is different on the game connectors, too.

Image: The Amiga logo on the Joyboard game connector

This is the plastic disc that sits on the floor. The disc measures less than three inches in diameter. The Joyboard balances on this disc, and it must take the full weight of the person standing on the Joyboard.

Image: Disc
Image: Internal Parts Here are some of the Joyboard's internal parts. There is a steel coil spring (not seen) beneath the red flexible plastic "flower". Beneath the spring is the black plastic disc (shown above) that rests on the floor when the Joyboard is in use. The knobby end of the small red plastic piece (left side) fits into the central cavity of the "flower". The black "washer" is made of a conductive rubber-like material.
Image: Internal Parts Assembled

This is what it looks like when all of the above parts are fit together. Gee, I hope I'm not revealing any trade secrets! :-)

This is the printed circuit board. The conductuve rubber washer presses against those little contacts and bingo we have a reading!

This is the really cool part of the Joyboard. Check out that copyright notice!

Image: Printed Circuit Board

[Hrothgar's Cool Old Junk Page] 2007-07-23