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Photo unboxing of the Hori Fighting Stick, plus (too) long initial impressions!
Editorial by 
January 22, 2011, 19:25:14
So I ordered an arcade stick for the Wii a while ago… and now it’s here! I know lots of nerds do video unboxings, but this nerd prefers photos. It’s faster for me AND for you. Want to bet?

See? Quick and painless, like slamming a door attached to your lose tooth. Well, it was painless for me anyway.

The whole thing is really a novelty for me. Not only have I never owned an arcade stick before, for any system, but the time I’ve spent in arcades for my entire life probably amounts to a couple hours. We’re definitely talking single digit here. But as I said in that other thread, playing NEO GEO classics with a reasonably cheap stick might be fun, you know?

So the noob that I am will strictly attempt to tell you about the first few games he’s tried playing with this thing. No talk about modding here! Wouldn’t know where to start.

Darius Twin

I decided to simply go by reverse VC purchase order.

A shoot’em-up should play pretty well with an arcade stick, right? Well, I wish I had played an actual arcade shmup to be able to make the comparison. All I know is that while the stick is digital and should in theory give me the same responsiveness as a D-pad, the directions don’t “click” right away. There is some looseness to it, and it is really only when you’ve moved the stick the farthest it will go that movement registers. Not ideal for a game like this, I’m afraid. Still the autofire, which is way faster than the in-game autofire option, got me farther into the game than ever.

Spin Master

Next, a Neo Geo game which I bought after hearing it described as “Metal Slug-ish”. Well it’s true that it’s kind of a clone of that game, but it’s really not quite as good. Still, I had quite a bit more fun replaying it than I did the first time. But was it because of the arcade stick, or simply because I understood the game better? Probably the latter, actually.

The first obvious problem here is that the buttons cannot be reconfigured at all. So instead of using one neat row of buttons like a Neo Geo controller should, you are stuck using the four buttons crammed on the left. It’s really a shame, and it only makes me wish I had gotten this instead.

The second problem is that I’m obviously not used to playing with an arcade stick. I keep dying stupidly, thinking “I could have sworn I was pushing the stick straight to the right, not diagonally!”. I wonder just how long it will take to get used to.

Contra Rebirth

Strange choice? Bah, Contra was in the arcades, surely this will be great! It’s been a while since I played it, but I did beat normal so I jump straight to the Hard difficulty. With my mighty arcade stick, I’m unbeatable anyway.

…except that the game was clearly made for a Classic Controller, and suddenly easy tasks like holding the “Fixed” button that allows you to spray death without moving is near impossible. Perhaps the NES Contra would feel better, but then again, it’s not on the Virtual Console.

Final Fantasy

Haha, kidding! Even the autofire would be no use here, since if you have your party all target the same enemy, and that enemy gets killed on the first hit, your three other characters waster their turns.

Super Street Fighter 2

Well it’s all been leading up to this. Ever since in the thread I linked to, Simba and co. explained to me the difference between an arcade stick and a fighting stick, I’ve been dreading receiving the thing. I tried to cancel the order. I don’t play fighting games!

But maybe this stick will get me to actually enjoy fighting games more. So I fire up SSF2, I pick my man, Ryu, I’m pitted against Cammy and… I get my ass promptly kicked. How come I can’t pull off a fireball? Argh! I must be thinking I’m pushing the stick forward when I’m actually pushing it diagonally again. Let’s try one of those spinning kicks… the quarter rotations to the left are actually easier for me to pull off. Shoryukens? A disaster. At best, I’ll do an uppercut followed by a fireball.

Alright, I guess this was to be expected. Did I really think I would be decent at using an arcade stick right away, when all my life I have played these games with a D-pad?

…yes, I kind of did.

I suppose I can train myself to use a stick, but why bother? Again, I’m not really into fighting games, and it is kind of pointless for me to learn to use a new control method when I have no plan to start competing online or at my local (non-existent) arcade.

Still, I may start getting a few of the games available on VC Arcade. But they might just play better with the Classic Controller. Any perceived “extra enjoyment” would probably only come from the novelty factor.

Sigh. What was I thinking?

Please look forward to my reboxing photo thread, when I decide to sell this back on EBay!

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Posted: 01/22/11, 19:25:14  - Edited by 
 on: 01/22/11, 19:25:48    
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Welcome to the pain of trying to recreate the arcade experience at home. Most sticks, including the one you bought, are made for fighting games. They're loose and easy to quarter-circle, probably with an eight-way gate.

Since you (and I) are more interested in arcade-style games, it would probably be best to get a stick with a FOUR-way gate, which is generally stiffer and more responsive and will only allow you to move in the four cardinal directions. It's a pretty huge difference, actually. Playing Pac-Man or Galaga on a fighting stick is... not fun.

FUCK, I read the rest of your post and you already knew that!!

Well, you could get used to the stick for fighting games, I guess. I don't really play those better with a stick, either, although it is a bit more tactile. I suck, though. That could be a factor.

Anyway, I had a $20 arcade stick last-gen with a four-way gate that was compatible with PS2, GCN, AND Xbox. Pretty cool. Nice clicky buttons. My favorite usage for it was using it for arcade-style games on the Game Boy Player. Not being able to configure buttons is a bit of a bitch, though.

A good, reconfigurable 4-way arcade stick is just another quality peripheral that's begging to be made!

Posted by 
 on: 01/23/11, 02:04:42

You seem to know more about this stuff than I do... do you understand anything at all about the link nacthenud provided in that thread? Can you magically help me make this stick not suck?

Posted by 
 on: 01/23/11, 02:28:03
No. I just know enough to know that these kinds of sticks suck for the kinds of games that we want to play on them. I guess you could open it up and mod it with a different gate underneath, but do you really want to dive down that rabbit hole?

If you do, there's a whole arcade stick mod scene. I think people usually start with one of the 80- or 100-dollar sticks, though. And they change the buttons, and everything.

I do want to build an arcade cabinet one day. That would be so awesome.

Posted by 
 on: 01/23/11, 02:37:40
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