The Simple Joys of a Decent Arcade Stick

Every time I buy a new fighting game, I debate about getting an arcade stick for my system. With ‘Marvel vs. Capcom 3’, I finally took the plunge. I’ll never look back.

I’ve had my eye on a quality arcade stick for quite some time. Ever since I first got the Xbox 360, I’ve wanted an arcade stick to go with it. I knew that it would help me out in ‘Dead or Alive 4’, but there weren’t many around. The same goes for ‘SoulCalibur IV’. There were only a few sticks available, and I just didn’t like ‘SoulCalibur’ enough to make the plunge.

Once ‘Street Fighter IV’ came out, I knew that I had to have a high-quality stick. By then, there were plenty to choose from. The only trouble is that they were sold out nearly instantaneously, and then put back on Amazon and eBay at ridiculous prices. It seemed that the fates had conspired against me yet again.

Earlier this week, while perusing SlickDeals (a site that I frequent for cheap computer parts and games), I happened across a deal that I couldn’t pass up. Best Buy has the ‘Tekken 6’ bundle which includes a wireless arcade stick marked down to $29.99.

Thirty bucks for an arcade stick is a ridiculously good price, not to mention that this one comes with ‘Tekken 6 ‘. It’s such a good deal that many of the stores around me sold out before I could get my hands on one.

Still, I managed to track down one of these ultra-inexpensive sticks, which my roommate picked up on his way home from work. He brought it home and I quickly tore open the box so that I could play with my new toy. I popped in the batteries and put in ‘Marvel vs. Capcom 3’.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that using a joystick dramatically changed the game for me. The stick itself is more precise than the analog stick on the Xbox 360, and the button layout makes combinations much simpler to pull off.

I’ve found that rather than spamming attacks, I’m able to execute the moves I want to at will. It’s no longer a matter of inputting moves and hoping they work. They work every time.

Hardcore fighting game players will tell you that the stick included with ‘Tekken 6’ is at the low end of the spectrum, and that the wireless connection causes a bit of input lag. That’s all true, but it’s still a huge step up over the normal controller.

The nice thing about the ‘Tekken’ stick is that it’s a cheap way to get a feel for the experience. I know that I’ll want something better as time goes on, but no longer am I wary about dropping real money on an arcade stick.

If you’re playing ‘Marvel vs. Capcom’ or any other fighting game, you owe it to yourself to call up your local Best Buy and see if they still have the bundle available. Thirty dollars may change the way you play for good.


  1. Prayformojo

    Too funny, I picked up the same deal and have been equally thrilled, although I am sure this will ultimately result in my dropping cash on a better stick at some point.

  2. HuskerGuy

    Good timing, I just picked one up from Amazon for my PS3, which was prompted by MvC3.

    I ended up going with a $130 one that is highly regarded by our resident fight stick expert over in the game room. Thankfully I had some Amazon credit to offset a good portion of it.

    It should be here Saturday and I can’t wait to try it out.

  3. Javier Aleman

    I bought a mad catz tournament edition stick when Street Fighter 4 came out and I absolutely love it. I could never pull pull of any moves and would lose matches left and right. Not anymore, now im the one putting friends and cousins in their place. One note about that stick, it comes with a Japanese style square gate and round top which my arcade playing friends hated. They convinced me to switch out for an octogonal gate and bat top which I hated! I went back to the stock Japanese style.

  4. Got the new stick in this morning and I’m loving it so far. Early impressions are very good 🙂 It’s a ton easier to do the rolling special moves on MvC3.

    I have yet to take it into trainer mode to see if I can actually pull off more stuff than I was previously able to, so we’ll see how it pans out from there.

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