Some time in January, 2017, the concept of a optical Amiga tank mouse hit my radar. To be completely honest, I don't remember where I saw it mentioned. But I did find a link to it and actually ordered one. They were not in production at the time, little did I know. The idea was to take an original Amiga tank mouse, remove its mechanical guts, and replace them with a fresh board with an optical mouse input.
Months went by...
I actually forgot about it completely until recently after reading Shot's experience with Marble Madness and his amazing review. Soon after I read that review, by pure serendipity, I watched Amiga Bill play Marble Madness on Twitch. I usually watch him and Anthony Becker over on YouTube, but every now and then I see his post on Twitter right before he starts a Twitch stream and get lucky. It was so funny to watch him experience the game as there was a direct correlation between highest pure nostalgia factor and worst game performance. It works like this:
4 being the best and 1 being the worst, the two numbers represent Nostalgia and Performance.
Trackball: 4, 1 (highest nostalgia score, lowest performance unless you happen to have an arcade-quality trackball, which still isn't easy to master but is very cool)
Ball Mouse: 3, 3
Joystick: 3, 2 (how I played on the C64)
Laser Mouse: 1 (only because it didn't exist BITD), 4 - highest score, most precise
The laser mouse's precision wins by far. But even with a laser mouse, you still need insane skills to beat the game like Shot did.
And dang - having an optical mouse on an Amiga would be neat and would likely last a very long time without any issues. Unlike some, I really love my tank mouses, though. I love the feel of the blocky things in my hands and the buttons feel great to me. I use mine on a PVC self-healing cutting board, and never have any issues.
I started stretching my brain wondering when I got my first laser mouse back in the day. I don't think it was until maybe 1998 or 1999 IIRC.
In any case it was soon after all of this Marble Madness... madness... that I thought, "Hey, what ever happened to that laser tank mouse I thought I ordered a million years ago?" And no matter where I looked, I just couldn't seem to find it anywhere. Then, today I got an email from AMIGAStore.eu about my past purchase! The kit I ordered 6 months ago is going to get dropped in the mail this week.
AMIGAstore's product page is back up and easy to find now, too. I'm fairly sure they must have taken it down at some stage due to production issues. Either that, or I just couldn't find it when I searched a 2nd time in vain.
It's not a cheap upgrade, but it's a seriously kick ass one. I am very much looking forward to putting it all together soon and playing some high-precision Marble Madness, too! I'll have to score one of my old beautiful tank mouse's on the scale above after turning it into a nostalgia/"new"-tech hybrid!
Photos courtesy of AMIGAstore.eu