Panther XL: The First 3D Combat Controller

“If you wanna crack skulls with the big boys, get a Panther XL.” -John Romero, Co-creator of Quake

The Panther XL allows the player to “Free-Look” totally independent of the direction of travel. With this independent control you can run one direction and fire in another without breaking stride. You can also “slide” around corners with your gun always aimed in front of you, ready for anything.

The combination of the Control Ball and our Flight Stick allow a level of control you just can’t get from any keyboard, mouse, orb or “hockey puck”. Imagine having every button you need for 3D games right in the palm of your hands. You don’t need to worry about accidentally hitting the wrong key or pressing the wrong direction(s). Once you jump into game, you won’t press another key until you’re done. The Panther XL gives you fast, precise and intuitive control.

Thank you to Vince Savoldi, Andrew Blevins, Steveo and the whole Clan3d team for so much amazing Panther XL content.

Hey, do you want to support the making of these Quake 2 gaming history videos for as little as $1 a month (that’s just $12 a year, even in a leap year) and get access to Patrons-only bonus content? Is that even a question? Become a patron!

2 thoughts on “Panther XL: The First 3D Combat Controller

  1. Daniel R Cannon

    Saw your YouTube videos. Can’t believe people are still playing Q2. I started with an XL playing DukeNukem. Went from average player to top 5 on cases ladder. It was a revolutionary way to control your player in FPS games. When my online friends noticed how much better I got they all asked How? Some even accused me of using a bot. When they saw a photo of the XL they were like “No Way”…”WTF”…it was funny. Didn’t get many converts though. I eventually wore all my XL’s even after making numerous mods with them. Finally went to a trackball and joystick with the same config of stick in right hand and trackball in left hand. Could never get it setup exactly like the XL though but it was close enough. Glad to see this, well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s amazing to me how the physicality became such a dominant issue. It seems like now all of the remaining websites for the PantherXL are at least 50 percent about spare parts. The technical knowledge to take apart and repair pretty much anything is beyond my ken, and don’t get me started on my ryu. I’m more of a degreaser. If given a standard computer and a working PantherXL and left in a room, if you came back in 2 years, I may finally have gotten the drivers and a rudimentary configuration, but I guarantee you that I’d be doing it wrong and have endless questions. This is how the river dolphins in Brazil swim through the waterlogged tree roots and branches in their muddy hunting grounds, the banks of the Amazon river. From what I understand, the top vertebrae of their necks is not fused to their spine. Unlike other dolphins, they have more freedom to independently about move their neck. Pink river dolphins actually outperform the PantherXL, because they have a melon, an organ used for biosonar. So they are using sonar to “see” through the sediment-clogged current, with a body that is strafing one way, and their head can twist and turn separately. In my imagination, these pink river dolphins are godlike predators, lightheartedly snapping up noob fish left and right who can’t see where they’re going. I have a dream of one day getting a PantherXL, but I have a nightmare that one of these pink river dolphins someday gets a PantherXL. IMO they would have a chance to become the best freshwater dolphin that ever played Quake II!


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