|Developer: Amiga Inc.
Available: 1982 - 1984
The Amiga Joyboard has become a mythical figure in Amiga
history. Few have seen the item and yet it has played an important
role in defining the Amiga. The Joyboard was one of their early
attempts at getting Amiga Corp. noticed by game players of the
time. When their Amiga console (it hadn't morphed into a computer
system yet) was to be launched, Amiga Corp predicted, users would
recognize the name and flock to the new machine.
What is the Joyboard?
The early 1980s was a time of invention for many companies.
Everyone was attempting to redefine the user interaction with
computers. This resulted in the introduction of the graphical user
interface and the mouse. The joyboard represents a similar attempt
to redefine the gaming market. Instead of using a joystick/pad that
the user would simply hold in their hand, the joyboard required the
user to stand upon the unit. Like the many water skiing games
currently available in the arcades, the Joyboard is controlled by
movement of the 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. These were generally
viewed as novelties by the general public; they were too expensive
and had little software support.
An internal view of the Joyboard
||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
||Here are some of the Joyboard's internal. There is a steel coil
spring (not seen) beneath the red flexible plastic "flower".
Beneath the spring is the black plastic disc that rests on the
floor when the Joyboard is in use. The knobbly end of the small red
plastic piece fits into the central cavity of the "flower". The
black "washer" is made of a conductive rubber-like material.
||This is the printed circuit board. The conductive rubber washer
presses against those little contacts and bingo we have a
Meditate on the problem
The Joyboard is distinguished from other 1980s oddities by its
influence upon the Amiga design. In an interview, RJ Mical stated
the Joyboard was responsible for the Guru Meditation warning that
appears when the system becomes unstable or has crashed. The
Hi-Toro guys had developed an internal game to use with the
Joyboard called "Zen Meditation" that required you to concentrate
and balance perfectly level and centered on the board in order to
win. By including the Guru Meditation, the Software failure message
was suggesting that the user sat upon the joyboard and meditated
over the problem to find a solution. The Guru Meditation is only
found in Kickstart 1.x and was replaced by a general error code in
Thanks go to Doug Spence of the Classic
Computers mailing list for allowing these images to be used. Some
text is based upon his original description of the
Joyboard box &
Large image of the Joyboard
Last Update: 14/6/2002