With Street Fighter 6 approaching next year and a successful closed beta behind it, you might be looking to invest in an arcade game in anticipation of Capcom’s next fighting match.
There are many reasons to get an arcade stick. With one, you can play many of the best fighting games with a more ‘authentic’ capacity – the most popular type of arcade stick emulates the 6-button design you find in arcade tanks, and will work great with upcoming fighters like Street Fighter 6.
The game sticks, with their large plastic buttons and clicker joysticks, are very satisfying to use. It is also highly customizable; Many stick owners choose to switch between the “ball” or “bat” tops of the joystick itself and the concave or convex buttons. If you are the aesthetic minded type, you can buy them in any color you can imagine.
Just like the service Microsoft offers through the Xbox Design Lab, you can make the arcade stick your own unique monster. It’s also a great way to support independent creators, with dedicated gaming stick interfaces and it’s a common service on sites like Etsy.
So arcade sticks look and feel great. But when it comes to playing fighting games competitively, it doesn’t really give you a clear advantage over modern consoles like the DualSense.
just a preference
As the influence of arcades continues to wane in the modern era, many fighting game makers are now evolving for consoles first. Custom control schemes in fighting games represent certain groups of buttons, allowing shortcuts to special moves or defensive tools, for example. This isn’t exclusive to consoles, of course, but it does allow them to be more applicable in the competitive space.
This means that board players have the option to access more of their character’s toolkit while using fewer buttons. Some commands that usually require more complex button input, such as Guilty Gear Strive’s Roman Cancels or Tekken 7’s Rage Arts, can instead be accessed with a single button press.
Above all, it’s a matter of comfort and preference: you might feel more at home with an arcade stick on top of a console if you play fighting games regularly. A stick player is not at a disadvantage when facing a board player, and vice versa. And it’s not uncommon to see console players winning major tournaments.
However, there is a type of controller that may only contain both arcade stick and players.
A type of controller that has grown in popularity in recent years is the Hit Box, which replaces the joystick with a set of buttons, similar to the arrow keys on a keyboard. There are several advantages here, primarily that pressing the button will move your character instantly while with a joystick, there is some travel time between the neutral position and the direction you want it to.
Hit Box eliminates this delay almost completely, which means that you will technically be able to move and respond faster than an opponent on a board or stick. This is why some tournaments will not allow Hit Boxes, even though they are generally considered a viable control option in the fighting game community.
If you want extreme precision in your movements, you should look into the Hit Box. It’s useful in 3D fighters like Tekken 7, where fast and continuous movement is the key to victory.
You won’t know if you prefer an arcade stick (or a Hit Box) unless you try one yourself. I need to break the bank to find good options.
Brands like 8BitDo, Hori, and Mayflash sell great sticks for beginners to help you find your feet. And if you don’t like fighting games, know that it’s also a great control option for classic arcade games, many of which come bundled in collections like Capcom Arcade 2nd Stadium and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Cowabunga Collection.
Plus, there’s no better time than now to find out if arcade sticks are right for you. Street Fighter 6 is right around the corner, and it looks like Tekken 8 will follow shortly. There’s a batch of high-quality fighting games on the horizon, then, perfect for testing the waters with a new peripheral.