With the recent surge in popularity fighting games have received lately, more and more people are looking to purchase an arcade style joystick controller to compete with. That same popularity has also resulted in a plethora of new sticks appearing on the market, which can be both exciting and confusing for the new consumer. If you're a new player looking for the best arcade fight stick to buy, you have many things to consider..
It can be tempting to settle for a cheaper stick in the beginning, which is understandable. After all, you will be eager to start playing as soon as possible. While less expensive sticks can be effective in fighting games, they are made with cheaper pars and are more inclined to fail. Furthermore, many times these sticks are harder to modify or replace parts for in the event of a failure.
More expensive sticks such as the Mad Catz Tournament Edition Fight Sticks, Hori Real Arcade Pro series, Qanba Q series and etokki Omni series come with authentic arcade joysticks and buttons. If your joystick stops working or a button goes out, it's easy to open your controller and replace one part. Official buttons sell for two to four dollars online, and joystick levers usually run from $15 -30, depending on the model. The high end sticks allow easy replacement of these parts. Higher end sticks also tend to be larger and heavier than their less expensive cousins.
While this doesn't seem like an advantage to many new players, the additional weight adds stability for lap or tabletop play, which can make a big difference as your game advances. The more complicated your movements, the more likely you are to jerk the controller around. If your stick gets misaligned due to intense motions, you can end up entering the wrong directions.
All of the above sticks are high quality products using all legitimate arcade parts. Deciding which is the best arcade fight stick among them to buy is based largely on personal taste. Some things to consider before making a purchase are availability, types of parts, size, weight, platform compatibility and customization. If you plan to play with friends on other systems or travel to tournaments, it can be a big advantage to have a joystick controller that works on both XBox 360 and Playstation 3. The etokki Omni sticks and the Qanba Q4 sticks come out of the box working on both systems. The Hori Real Arcade Pros and Mad Catz Tournament Edition sticks work on one system only but can be modified for dual compatibility with aftermarket parts. This, however, takes some work, additional money, and a voiding of your warranty. These sticks are produced in higher quantity, though, so it may be easier to find them as you need them.
You may also prefer certain types of parts over others, which will change your options. Hori produced special edition sticks that come with Seimitsu parts. Seimitsu, along with Sanwa, is one of the two primary produces of Japanese arcade parts. The buttons are less sensitive than Sanwa, meaning you can easily rest your fingers on the buttons without activating. Seimitsu joysticks have a shorter shaft and feel tighter than the looser Sanwa joysticks.
Korean arcade parts are also popular, particularly among Tekken players. The Fanta joysticks don't have restrictor plates like their Japanese counterparts, and they have a higher tension than even the Seimitsu sticks. The Crown buttons used in Korean sticks are somewhat similar in feel to Seimitsu buttons. Currently the only high end production stick featuring Korean parts is the etokki Omni Korean version. All the producers ca provide a stick with Sanwa buttons. Sanwa parts are the most popular, but many people prefer other parts. If you can, try a friend's stick to see which type you prefer before purchasing.