Here's a rare piece of hardware: The HAL Labs gizmo, which is only supported by 2 games that I could find: Super Taxman and Vindicator, both by HAL Labs.

There's a picture on Atari Age forums:

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There's a few more posts from Greg Autry on Atari Age:


Sorry I'm late to the thread. If anyone is still paying attention, I was the founder of HAL Labs. Brian Fitzgerald and I developed Taxman while in high school and as undergrads living in a trailer on campus at UC Irvine 1980-1981.

I take exception with any criticisms here. It was a nearly perfect copy of Pacman, far better than the other Apple clones and Atari produced versions for other platforms. Brian's bit mapping algorithms were way faster and far smoother (see Broderbund's Snoggle for instance) and the AI on our ghosts was damn good. We even replicated minor things like being able to pass through a ghost on rare occasions (1/255 collisions). Some people hate the keyboard controls, but the Apple's potentiometer based joystick, while great for flight simulators, was terrible for maze games which should be restricted to a four switch movement.
We were so frustrated by the Apple Joystick that we developed an adapter with encoding hardware to allow an Atari style 9pin arcade (4 switch) joystick to plug into the Apple II 16 pin DIP connector. Playing Taxman with a WICO joystick was actually really nice.

Unfortunately no. There was only one chip (7400 series) let me see if I can remember what it was or how to wire it. Essentially we sent signal out the enunciator port to the chip telling it which of the 4 inputs to accept as a button press at that moment. It was 30 years ago . . . Unfortunately the device I have is sealed with epoxy.

It could only work with software written for it and there wasn't much. Supertaxman and a really great game we did called Vindicator, which was a bit like Robotron. Really incredibly fast for the 1mhz 8 bit CPU. Our distribution died at that time as BIG organizations piled into the market with massive marketing budgets and very few people got to see it. A couple of other small game companies supported the device, but I don't recall which games.

From the code, it sets or clears the 3 annunciators an0,an1, and an2 to select one of the 5 atari joystick lines and reads the address c061 (button0) to get the bit. These seem to be active highs. Just an 8 to 1 mux. 74151 perhaps?

I copied joystick.h to gizmo.h and added a little bit:

Adding m_an2

      // input ports
        required_ioport m_player1, m_player2;
        int m_an0, m_an1, m_an2;
        int gizmotable[8] = {1,3,2,0,4,5,5,5};  // right, left, down, up, fire, none, none, none

Copying joystick.cpp to gizmo.cpp and adding the gizmotable as a save item so I could change the values from the debug view in real time because I was having some trouble getting it just right.


void apple2_gizmo_device::device_start()

/*      PORT_BIT( 0x01, IP_ACTIVE_LOW, IPT_JOYSTICK_UP )                 0 = up
        PORT_BIT( 0x02, IP_ACTIVE_LOW, IPT_JOYSTICK_RIGHT )          1 = right
        PORT_BIT( 0x04, IP_ACTIVE_LOW, IPT_JOYSTICK_DOWN )         2 = down
        PORT_BIT( 0x08, IP_ACTIVE_LOW, IPT_JOYSTICK_LEFT )             3 = left
        PORT_BIT( 0x10, IP_ACTIVE_LOW, IPT_BUTTON1 )                        4 = fire

        return BIT(m_player1->read(),gizmotable[m_an0+m_an1*2+m_an2*4]) ^ 0x1;    // active high so we'll invert it

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If you set the 4 to 6 in the gizmotable you get autofire in Vindicator, it's much easier.

Hit enter once to get the Gizmo.
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There's a built in sprite editor, just hit esc on the control selection screen.
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Vindicator is a Robotron clone that if it were a bit less manic it'd be a really good game. Your character moves too fast and can be hard to control. I'm going to try and patch it sometime to make it more playable.

In Super Taxman 2, just hit the space bar to start, it is set up already to use the Gizmo. The original taxman didn't have any support that I could find.

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