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The superior joypad: Protopad.

Protopad button layout
This is a sketch for illustration purposes only. The final pad may look different.


Protopad is currently in development.

The Development Guide is now available!

Key Features of Protopad:
  • 100% compatible with existing games
  • Directional control pad plus *8* buttons
  • The buttons are pre-defined for standard cases, but can be redefined by new games
  • One button that emulates 'up' (in compatibility mode)
  • Fully compatible with games that use the two additional buttons of DB-9/Cheetah Annihilator joysticks (e.g. Double Dragon, Turbo Charge, Paradroid Redux, Robocop 2, Super Mario Bros...)
  • Fast and simple to program, lag-free experience
  • CIA protection: may safely be attached or removed during operation
  • Gold plated contacts (corrosion free)
  • Also compatible with Atari and Amiga

*Games like Double Dragon, MW ULTRA and Wormhole already support additional buttons on the C64.

Always in top form

Have you had your favourite joystick or joypad lying around for a while without using it, but now it is no longer as responsive as it used to be? That is due to corrosion of the contacts. Say goodbye to this nuissance as our gold plated contacts are corrosion free - they will always work like they did on the first day!

Jumping with a Button

Many players today are not used to the C64 way of jumping by pressing up and wish for a button to do just that. Here is the solution: our joypad has a button that does the same as pressing up, so you can use it for any C64 game where you wish you had a button instead of having to steer upwards.

Multi-Button Support

It has been our dream for a long time to have more than one button. Many games such as Sam’s Journey would benefit with more buttons. Users of the Cheetah Annihilator joystick know it is possible: it has 2 additional buttons and a bunch of games is supporting them, especially GS game cartridges like Robocop 2, but also our own games like Wormhole and MW ULTRA. Protopad can do more, though: while retaining full compatibility with all games mentioned above, it supports up to 8 buttons that can be used in any way wanted by new games.

Zero Lag

Like all traditional C64 controllers, Protopad joypad is completely lag free, which means there is never any delay between your input and the moment the C64 can read the input. Beats any Windows system.

CIA Friendly

Usual joyticks/joypads can damage your CIA if you attach or detach them while the Computer is powered on - but our joypad won't do that! Protopad has a dedicated protection and can be attached/detached at any time without ever harming your C64.

Free Protopads for Developers!

You are a developer keen on supporting Protopad? That's great, because we are giving away Protopads for free to anyone who works on a cool product. Get in touch via our general contact form, please.

How does Protopad work, though?

Protopad has two internal work modes. Initially it behaves like a regular joypad, but with support for two additional buttons (via potx/poty) and a button that emulates 'up' - and is therefore fully compatible to all existing games. However, if the C64 sends a certain signal to Protopad, it switches into native mode. In native mode, all buttons can be used freely. The interpretation of the results are entirely individual to each game. Also for example the button that imitates an 'up' movement can now be used in a different way.

Compatibility to other platforms

Protopad in its normal mode is of course compatible to any computer that can use standard Atari-style joysticks. We are trying to optimize support for additional computer systems so that also more buttons can be used. It is not yet sure, though, which systems we will be able to support.

Technical Documentation

You're a coder and you want to make the most of Protopad in your C64/C128-Project? In that case, please wait for our updated Development Guide. In that case, download our Development Guide now! Protopad will be supported in upcoming versions of the VICE emulator. It is already featured in the latest pre-releases. Download dev guide


In 2020 we ran a donation campaign and successfully funded the Protopad project! Below are the details for the campaign:

Funding Goals

All amounts in Euros.
  • 5.000 ✓ - We can finance all initial costs and can kick off production.
    (Automated pcb manufacturing like the PROs!)
  • 10.000 ✓ - Knights of Bytes will prepare a new version of Sam's Journey with multi button support!
    (The steering of the game is completely overhauled to make the most of Protopad!)
  • 15.000 ✓ - In addition to our new joypad, we will also produce new paddles for the C64 (and think of games to support them)!
    (Also here we have a working prototype available, but the case production costly)
  • 20.000 - Protopad is nice, but we also want a new joystick!
    (Good, long-lasting joysticks are harder to manufacture than pads and the 8 buttons have to somehow be made available... but with this amount of funding we'll crack the nut!)

*Forget everything else. We want a new multi button version of Sam's Journey!

  • All donors are mentioned in the Protopad Hall of Fame and in the new multi button version of Sam's Journey should there be one (if desired).

  • All donors receive a free digital copy of Blast Annual 2020: Volume 1 PDF Book.

  • All EUR 50+ donations receive a Protopad of the first batch (priviledged shipping).

  • The 10 biggest donors receive a signed Protopad with a serial number. The number corresponds to the rank in the Protopad Hall of Fame.
  • In case all funding goals are reached, these 10 Protopads will be delivered in gold.

  • If the Sam funding goal is reached, the top 3 donors receive a very special reward: they receive a signed copy of Sam's Journey with multi button support in one of the three first Sam-Boxes ever produced. Sam's Journey was initially planned to come with serial numbers and we had produced *three* test prints of Sam boxes with serial numbers. Later on we decided to go ahead without numbering, so the three boxes were never sold. They are the only numbered Sam boxes in existence.

Thank you to the Blast annual team

A big thanks goes out to the excellent team behind the review magazine Blast Annual (Layout von Lobo/Protovision) for making it possible that every donor receives a free digital copy of their debut annual. You can also order it at

Protopad was successfully funded via our donation campaign!

The donation campaign has ended. A list of existing donations is visible beneath.


Protopad Hall of Fame

Rank Amount Donor
1 EUR 2,755.00 ---  
2 EUR 2,565.00 ---  
3 EUR 2,500.00 Blast Annual  
4 EUR 500.00 Stampfli Heinz  
5 EUR 464.00 ---  
6 EUR 399.00 Sprudel  
7 EUR 250.00 ---  
8 EUR 170.00 R2D2Andy  
9 EUR 165.00 adtbm - MEGA65 team  
10 EUR 152.00 kvn  
11 EUR 133.70 kudrix  
12 EUR 124.64 polynomy  
13 EUR 113.00 Reset64 Magazine  
14 EUR 111.11 lubber/padua  
15 EUR 111.00 Matthias Lamm  
16 EUR 100.00 sbradabang  
17 EUR 100.00 ---Roger LEVIONNOIS  
18 EUR 84.00 CH  
19 EUR 82.23 mr.gigabytes  
20 EUR 77.00 --  
21 EUR 75.00 Miccoli Marco  
22 EUR 66.66 Comos/[O]nslaught  
23 EUR 65.00 Rame  
24 EUR 65.00 Bart F.  
25 EUR 64.64 LKP/CFN-3001-  
26 EUR 64.00 Mindrax  
27 EUR 64.00 Fan64  
28 EUR 64.00 Delphin64  
29 EUR 64.00 Mr Jones  
30 EUR 62.00 MatulaDo  

Total amount: 15103.57 Euros from 105 donors.

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