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How to choose the best fighting stick, regardless of your budget

Throw away your gamepad and fight with a real weapon. Whether you have less than $ 100 or you want to go all-out, here's how you can find the right fighting stick.

If you have been playing fighting games for a considerable time, you understand how important it is to have a comfortable and capable controller. The genre of the video game requires fast, sharp inputs for firing fireballs, combo links and super movements, so you need a controller that you can do that with. A standard video game controller can do the job, but for many members of the fighting game community (FGC), fighting sticks – also known as arcade sticks – are the weapons of choice.

Determine if a Fighting Stick is Right for You

Fightsticks are special video game controllers that are tailor-made for fighting games. They usually duplicate the feel and layout of the classic Street Fighter-inspired joystick-and-two-row-layout on arcade styles. In fact, the fighting stick market was essentially born when ridiculously popular fighting games such as Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat received gates for home consoles.

"Fighting games started in arcade cabinets that used joystick and buttons for operation and use an arcade stick replicates the arcade experience at home," according to Kaz Ohira of Hori, a leading manufacturer of fighting sticks. "Joystick and buttons ensure extremely accurate input, and these parts are what players are looking for in an arcade stick."

It is that arcade feeling of grabbing one lollipop or baseball bat-like joystick in your hand, and buttons manipulating the other, that attracts people to adopt fighting sticks. It is also not a nostalgic feeling. There is a real tactile reason why you see many fighters fighting sticks at local and international tournaments.

Reyes Reyes III was one of them. The retired hunter found it difficult to use a standard console controller while playing Vega / Claw in Super Street Fighter IV. Through the combination of four face buttons, bumpers and triggers in the game pad, Reyes discovered that he had to keep the controller in an uncomfortable, uncomfortable position to reach all the buttons.

"Controller mapping became excessive to the point that it was a disadvantage," Reyes told me at a Chinatown Beatdown tournament on the Lower East Side in New York City. "I decided to buy a $ 50 housing for a stick."

Reyes bought a circuit board for the interior of the stick and found someone to wire it for compatibility with multiple systems. "It feels like second nature when I was growing up in the arcades," he said. "You don't get a [console] controller in an arcade."

Select a Pugilism Platform

The most important thing you must do before you buy a fighting stick is to determine the platforms on which you are going to use it. Some fighting sticks are exclusively designed for use on PlayStation; others are designed with Nintendo or Xbox in mind. Fortunately, PC players do not have to live in such walled gardens. Due to the open nature of the Windows platform, you can use Nintendo, PlayStation or Xbox fighting sticks from the box or tinker with a little software.

I experienced this firsthand when a friend gave me a Hori Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai. I used the stick to play The King of Fighters & # 39; 98: Ultimate Match Final Edition, Garou: Mark of the Wolves, Street Fighter V and other games without problems, despite the fact that the PC is not one of the listed compatible platforms. Of course, some of the stick-focused features of the stick, such as image sharing and touchpad functionality, didn't work on the PC.

Learn Fight Stick Design

A person who is not familiar with fighting sticks can confuse the controllers because there are more or less the same, only with different designs, but that cannot be further from the truth. There is a lot of variation, including the number of buttons (six versus eight versus more), button layout (straight alignment versus Namco Noir versus Taito Vewlix), joystick style (lollipop versus baseball bat) and joystick port (circle versus diamond versus octagonal versus square).

Most fighting sticks have a mode button that allows you to use the solitary joystick as a D-pad, left analog stick or right analog stick. Similarly, button lock switches can be found on tournament-ready sticks. These switches are important because they prevent you from disqualifying yourself by accidentally pressing the Mode, Start, Start or Options buttons.

If you are in the stick game for an extended period of time, you will want to find one that uses real arcade-quality parts (Sanwa Denshi and Seimitsu are the two titans in the field) that can cope with the wear associated with long play sessions. Fortunately, there is a considerable distance between now and the 1990s and early 2000s, when buying a stick meant that you had to handle suspicious parts that couldn't handle an intense fighting game action.

When you learn about fighting stick designs, visit Arcade Shock or Focus Attack to take your stick to the next level by modding it with new buttons, ports and other parts. Stick manufacturers do not discourage this crafting either; some high-end sticks even have easily accessible interiors that you can use to muck down.

Determine Non-Fighting Game Applications

Although fighting sticks are literally made with fighting games in mind, they are perfectly viable controllers for other arcade-like video games, such as Ikaruga or Metal Slug 3. In short, any game that doesn't have double analogue Sticking with sticks is huge for fun with fighting sticks.

"Playing stick with games has no use fighting," Reyes said. "Playing Puzzle Fighter on a stick does not change the gameplay at any point, but it feels more complete than using a pad."

View budget and premium options

If you have a desire to buy for a fighting stick, there are many manufacturers to explore. The aforementioned Hori is perhaps the best known creator of fighting sticks now that Mad Catz has stopped its activities, but it is not the only company that releases sticks. Mayflash, Qanba, Razer and a handful of others also produce fighting sticks.

Frankly, the prices for fighting sticks are everywhere. On the budget side, you can buy a solid model for just $ 50. If you don't have a fighting stick experience, I recommend exploring the budget space first, because you can grab one without spending too much moolah, and it won't be a huge loss if you do not dig the controller. 19659007] "[A budget] stick may not have all the trimmings compared to our premium arcade stick line-up, but we have ensured that quality is not compromised with lower costs," Ohira told us. "We recommend this stick for beginning players who want to learn to play on stick, but also for more experienced players who are looking for a portable stick to take on the road."

A budget stick only gives you the basics, but a premium model opens the door to new functions. Qanba & # 39; s top class Dragon, for example, has an aluminum interior and LED accent lighting. Below you can read more about this beast.

Time to buy a fighting stick

If this all sounds attractive, it might be time for you to invest in a fighting stick. There are many options to consider before you open your wallet, so I have selected a few striking sticks in different categories. Read and select your weapon.

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