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    Default Best Arcade-style controls for retro systems.

    Decided to make this thread hoping for some suggestions and contributions. This is basically a response to how the current "Arcade Stick tier list" being distributed ( http://sdtekken.com/tech-area/arcade...stick-ranking/ ) had absolutely nothing from a system older than previous-gen listed unless it was the Sega Saturn's Virtua Stick Pro.
    It got me thinking "What are the good arcade sticks for these systems?"
    I've actually made a serious attempt to try to look into different sorts of arcade sticks (this led to the earlier thread where I was wondering just what the "Star Video" joystick was.)

    I think I'll start with some of the things I looked into:

    Genesis Arcade Sticks: Seemingly few people I know actually can name a joystick better than Sega's own. I felt disappointed in this, so I tried looking around myself.
    Eventually I nabbed two Arcadian Joysticks - they can be found now at this ebay auction at a price surprisingly reasonable considering the high-quality parts.
    People have recommended the Championship Joystick by C&L for the SNES, and this is pretty much the Genesis equivilant. Note that there are versions with 3-button compatibility and 6-button compatibility, though.
    For a more Japanese-style stick, I checked out the Capcom Fighter Stick GS and thought it was ok but nothing spectacular.
    I don't know much on Master System but if I go under the assumption that these sticks will work on that as well, then I'll keep these suggestions the same.

    SNES arcade sticks: Too much for me to sort through.
    Championship Joystick is the obvious pick if you want American Arcade-style controls. For Japanese-style sticks, I looked at the QJ TopFighter and found it a bit... different. Kinda tough to explain. I've seen auctions for a Hori Fighting Stick SFC, which is probably a good stick, but I haven't gotten one.

    NES: Was never satisfied with anything I actually could obtain.
    That being said, I'm thinking about getting a set of NEX Wireless controllers + Arcade sticks so I could maybe check those out on an NES. They look pretty quality.
    The NES Pro Play Arcade is probably out of my range of house space. Ouch.
    Someone's probably gonna reccomend the NES Advantage here, so I'll just say it's name just to tell you guys I know it exists.

    On the Famicom side, I heard the XE stick was good, and also saw an ASCII stick that looked interesting.

    Saturn: The only stick I've got to play on this system so far is the Hori Fighting Stick SS, I tested out Virtua Fighter 2 with it and found myself executing an entirely different set of moves with Akira then I'm used to. Then I had a run where I ring out'd everyone. It was funny.
    I'll probably have more word on that if I get to try a Capcom fighter with it.

    PS1: You can use those PS2 sticks, yes? Then I'm skipping this one.

    PC-FX: I got nothing. Seems this system only has standard controllers and mouse controllers.

    PC-Engine: I don't know much here, not having a PCE, but I have seen a Hori Fighting Stick PC on eBay once.
    Last edited by Kiddo; 09-06-2009 at 06:11 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    D

    Saturn: The only stick I've got to play on this system so far is the Hori Fighting Stick SS, I tested out Virtua Fighter 2 with it and found myself executing an entirely different set of moves with Akira then I'm used to. Then I had a run where I ring out'd everyone. It was funny.
    I'll probably have more word on that if I get to try a Capcom fighter with it.

    PS1: You can use those PS2 sticks, yes? Then I'm skipping this one.
    Saturn: I like the Virtua Stick for 3D fighters and the ASCII stick for everything else, including shooters.

    PS1: I don't think you can use PS2 sticks. The Blaze Twin is the best I can think of for the PS1, not the greatest parts but at least it's a huge panel (I mean huge).

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    Ah, one of my favorite subjects! First of all, I use joysticks exclusively for all my gaming. Once I got an NES Advantage in the late 80s, I never went back to game pads.

    You seem to be talking about joysticks that specifically use or at least come close to actual arcade hardware. On a console, I really only demand arcade type hardware for fighting games. And when you go back to the 16 bit era and earlier, there's not much in the way of them outside of some SF2 ports.

    But for other games, I actually prefer "home style" joysticks. Especially the carbon dot style sticks, because the controls are soft and comfortable. Like ASCII's classic NES Advantage, it's real smooth on the hands and it's still one of my favorite controllers. (I modded one to use on an Xbox for emulation) For the SNES, the SNES Advantage and Capcom Fighter Power stick are my favorites. I had a C&L Controls Championship joystick, and it was GREAT for those SNES fighting game ports like SF2 and Fatal Fury 2. The plastic housing wasn't too durable though, I managed to break mine. But for something like Super Mario World or Megaman X, I went back to the SNES Advantage. And by the way, I do have a Pro-Play Home Arcade for NES. It came with an old style Happ joystick, with little tabs between the actuator and the microswitches for a tighter throw; it was so nice I took those bases off and used them in a couple of arcade machines. But the whole time I used it (back in the day, *sigh*) it did feel rather strange to me, to play NES games with the heavier arcade hardware.

    I'm still looking for a good Genesis joystick, though I'm procrastinating because I don't play the Genesis very much. (I keep meaning to change that- my new years resolution for 2010 will be to play more Genesis) The sticks I have are the Sega 6 button joystick, and the ASCII Fighting Stick SG-6. I don't like the Sega joystick. The ball on the stick is too large, and the throw is a little too wide for my taste. The worst thing is the buttons, they're not very responsive. There are a few times where I'll press a button and nothing happens, as I'm not pressing it hard enough. The start button is in an uncomfortable spot, and the whole thing just feels awkward. The ASCII stick is much better; just like the NES Advantage, it's got that same soft feeling carbon dot joystick with a nice tight throw, and the buttons are soft and responsive. My one complaint about it is that the base is too small, there's only room for my fingers, so both hands hang off the sides. A little awkward but I still find it more comfortable than the Sega arcade stick. It's great for shmups.

    For the PC Engine, the only stick I have is the only one I'll need- the ASCII Stick Engine. It's essentially an NES Advantage with select and run in the upper right corner, and a new paint job. (Black with green buttons) It feels just like an Advantage, so it's nice to have a controller I'm already familiar with. The XE stick for the Famicom is also on PC Engine, I'd like to give it a shot but they're pretty expensive. And I'd like to give that TG16 Turbo Stick a spin too.

    My Saturn joystick of choice is the InterAct Eclipse stick. It feels a lot like an ASCII carbon dot joystick, a nice soft stick with a tight throw, and I use it exclusively for shmups. (Which is mostly what I use a Saturn for) For most other games, I use the Sega Saturn arcade joystick. It's got plenty of room for the hands and it's not a bad joystick, but the stick itself isn't as responsive as the Eclipse stick, but it's heavier, and feels more durable. Also the autofire is done with individual switches, so it's easier to set up than the Eclipse stick, which uses that "hold this button and press that button three times" nonsense.

    For Dreamcast, I use the Eclipse stick with a Saturn/PS2>Dreamcast adapter. Because I only use my Dreamcast for shmups.

    And for the PS1? I don't play much PS1 anymore, and when I do I'll probably use those ASCII arcade sticks that look like official PS1 hardware. They feel pretty cheap, and I certainly don't recommend them for serious fighters, but they're not that bad if you're playing something like Asuka 120% or some platformer.

    Oh, and I want to mention Neo Geo console joysticks, they're actually pretty damn nice. They're great for... well, Neo Geo games. I'd like to try one of those remade versions for PS2.

    Again, all the above joysticks are for general gaming and I wouldn't use them for fighters. I stick to Happ/Sanwa arcade hardware type stuff for that; Fighting games demand durability in a joystick. And heck, I wouldn't actually use any of the consoles mentioned above for fighting games. Pretty much everything I want to play is available for Xbox or later systems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kid Ice View Post
    Saturn: I like the Virtua Stick for 3D fighters and the ASCII stick for everything else, including shooters.

    PS1: I don't think you can use PS2 sticks. The Blaze Twin is the best I can think of for the PS1, not the greatest parts but at least it's a huge panel (I mean huge).
    I've heard this stick being trashtalked. I myself have never laid hands on one, but I do own a Blaze DC Mini Twin Stick. Supposedly that one's made of the same parts. I thought it was a decent stick but way too small for me to feel comfortable using competitively against someone. (I'd literally be rubbing up against your side if I tried.)
    The Twin Shocks do not have such a problem, I assume.

    Anyway, Hori's made a ton of Playstation sticks and the PS2 is the home for the Tekken 5 Anniversary Stick and the Hori Real Arcade series, which I think many people consider high-quality picks. There's also the Nubytech Street Fighter 2 Anniversary Edition arcade stick which is PS2 and Xbox compatible, and are more similar to American-style sticks. I also once owned a Pelican Real Arcade Universal, but never tried putting that in my PS2 because I heard it could wreck the dual shock rumble ability - I don't know if it'd do the same to a PS1 or not. Hrm.

    On the PS1-specific end, I know there are fans of the Namco arcade stick, and there's also a Hori Fighting Stick PS which is basically like the Saturn's SS stick but Playstation-compatible.

    Quote Originally Posted by XYXZYZ View Post
    Ah, one of my favorite subjects! First of all, I use joysticks exclusively for all my gaming. Once I got an NES Advantage in the late 80s, I never went back to game pads.

    You seem to be talking about joysticks that specifically use or at least come close to actual arcade hardware. On a console, I really only demand arcade type hardware for fighting games. And when you go back to the 16 bit era and earlier, there's not much in the way of them outside of some SF2 ports.

    But for other games, I actually prefer "home style" joysticks. Especially the carbon dot style sticks, because the controls are soft and comfortable. Like ASCII's classic NES Advantage, it's real smooth on the hands and it's still one of my favorite controllers. (I modded one to use on an Xbox for emulation) For the SNES, the SNES Advantage and Capcom Fighter Power stick are my favorites. I had a C&L Controls Championship joystick, and it was GREAT for those SNES fighting game ports like SF2 and Fatal Fury 2. The plastic housing wasn't too durable though, I managed to break mine. But for something like Super Mario World or Megaman X, I went back to the SNES Advantage. And by the way, I do have a Pro-Play Home Arcade for NES. It came with an old style Happ joystick, with little tabs between the actuator and the microswitches for a tighter throw; it was so nice I took those bases off and used them in a couple of arcade machines. But the whole time I used it (back in the day, *sigh*) it did feel rather strange to me, to play NES games with the heavier arcade hardware.

    I'm still looking for a good Genesis joystick, though I'm procrastinating because I don't play the Genesis very much. (I keep meaning to change that- my new years resolution for 2010 will be to play more Genesis) The sticks I have are the Sega 6 button joystick, and the ASCII Fighting Stick SG-6. I don't like the Sega joystick. The ball on the stick is too large, and the throw is a little too wide for my taste. The worst thing is the buttons, they're not very responsive. There are a few times where I'll press a button and nothing happens, as I'm not pressing it hard enough. The start button is in an uncomfortable spot, and the whole thing just feels awkward. The ASCII stick is much better; just like the NES Advantage, it's got that same soft feeling carbon dot joystick with a nice tight throw, and the buttons are soft and responsive. My one complaint about it is that the base is too small, there's only room for my fingers, so both hands hang off the sides. A little awkward but I still find it more comfortable than the Sega arcade stick. It's great for shmups.

    For the PC Engine, the only stick I have is the only one I'll need- the ASCII Stick Engine. It's essentially an NES Advantage with select and run in the upper right corner, and a new paint job. (Black with green buttons) It feels just like an Advantage, so it's nice to have a controller I'm already familiar with. The XE stick for the Famicom is also on PC Engine, I'd like to give it a shot but they're pretty expensive. And I'd like to give that TG16 Turbo Stick a spin too.

    My Saturn joystick of choice is the InterAct Eclipse stick. It feels a lot like an ASCII carbon dot joystick, a nice soft stick with a tight throw, and I use it exclusively for shmups. (Which is mostly what I use a Saturn for) For most other games, I use the Sega Saturn arcade joystick. It's got plenty of room for the hands and it's not a bad joystick, but the stick itself isn't as responsive as the Eclipse stick, but it's heavier, and feels more durable. Also the autofire is done with individual switches, so it's easier to set up than the Eclipse stick, which uses that "hold this button and press that button three times" nonsense.

    For Dreamcast, I use the Eclipse stick with a Saturn/PS2>Dreamcast adapter. Because I only use my Dreamcast for shmups.

    And for the PS1? I don't play much PS1 anymore, and when I do I'll probably use those ASCII arcade sticks that look like official PS1 hardware. They feel pretty cheap, and I certainly don't recommend them for serious fighters, but they're not that bad if you're playing something like Asuka 120% or some platformer.

    Oh, and I want to mention Neo Geo console joysticks, they're actually pretty damn nice. They're great for... well, Neo Geo games. I'd like to try one of those remade versions for PS2.

    Again, all the above joysticks are for general gaming and I wouldn't use them for fighters. I stick to Happ/Sanwa arcade hardware type stuff for that; Fighting games demand durability in a joystick. And heck, I wouldn't actually use any of the consoles mentioned above for fighting games. Pretty much everything I want to play is available for Xbox or later systems.
    My arcade-stick preferences tend to lean more towards large, durable, clicky and resembling a Street Fighter 2 layout. This makes me like sticks like the C&L Controls Championship Joystick you mentioned earlier and the Arcadian for the Genesis I myself brought up.

    Nice to hear about the Pro-Play arcade. It sounds pretty much like the beast I hoped it would be. I think the thing that would make the HAPP parts on that odd is how many are accustomed to bat-style HAPP sticks, while the pictures I've seen of the Pro Play have them as large ball-shaped sticks. Regardless, I'd probably love to have one of them - unfortunately my current "NES" setup is actually a Japanese Famicom, so I'd have difficulty figuring out how to set that up.
    Anyway, if you feel awkward playing the NES games with "Real arcade" parts, remember that Nintendo had "VS. Unisystem" and "Playchoice-10" arcade machines which IIRC used arcade-style parts similar to retro arcade games like Donkey Kong. I think it'd be neat if there were some NES sticks designed to appear just like a Playchoice-10 layout.

    On the SNES sticks: I was turned off by the Super Advantage's strange-looking button layout, so I passed by it. I mentioned the Genesis version Capcom Power Fighter stick earlier - while the buttons, casing and turbo-features are more home-arcade like, the stick is actually very much a Japanese-style arcade part similar to a high-quality Hori stick.

    You sound like you had a bit of difficulty finding a Genesis arcade stick that suited your preferences much like I did. Since your preferences don't match up with mine, I can't really make any further recommendations for you.

    Still can't comment much on the PC-Engine stuff. As for the Saturn - the Eclipse sticks seem very, very common on eBay. I remember at many times people would give those away with Saturn games. It made me question if they were really all that good, but I probably have a bias here since I'd obviously prefer a more "real-arcade" style stick. That being said, I don't recall a Saturn stick that's American-styled - I'm guessing after the C&L and KBM sticks, these mostly went the way of the custom-mod scene for a while. The closest to a match there would be the US version of the "ASCII Saturn Fight Stick", which swapped the JP version's Ball-top with a Bat-top.

    I didn't really want to get much into Dreamcast sticks because that's more or less the starting point of the current "Arcade stick tier lists" for more recent-gen consoles. That being said though, I brought up the DC Mini Twin Stick earlier. I once also had a "Topmax Enforcer" arcade stick - and I HATED the thing. Hated it so bad I purposely broke it, in fact. It's not "home arcade" enough for you and it fails so hard at feeling like "real arcade". The top doesn't know whether it wants to be a ball or a bat, is so heavy it makes the stick have difficulty RETURNING TO NEUTRAL, and is awkward as hell to hold. I tried it with my fighting games and was seething with frustration over my inability to perform basic special moves on the thing - the DC Mini Twin Stick, all complaints aside, felt like a dramatic improvement.

    Unfortunately the Agetec and ASCII Fight Sticks for Dreamcast have eluded me.
    Anyway, I'm not really sure what Dreamcast arcade sticks are truly "home-arcade" style, but the Innovations Arcade stick for Dreamcast kinda looked like such a stick to me. Unfortunately I can't name a single person who's used such a stick, since many Dreamcast arcade-stick users are more "real arcade" buffs.

    Anyway, since you brought up "home arcade" style sticks, I recently got a Hori Famicom Arcade Stick, and this turned out to very much be like one of those (Much to the shock of my expectations - this is quite a detour from Hori's current legacy for making Japanese-style "real arcade" sticks). The buttons are triangular-shaped (weird as all heck), and all the switches are rubbers. The joystick is a huge ball-top, and there's 4-directional/8-directional and 1P/2P switches. I've played a bit of Akumajou Densetsu with it and thought it was good enough for what I paid for it. (In comparison, the last Famicom accessory I tried to buy was Dead-on-arrival. )

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    Actually I solved the Genesis controller problem by modding the Pro Play Home Arcade for Genesis, take a look-SEGA Pro-Play Cabinet

    But I've since dismantled it because after getting a couple more "real" arcade machines I just don't have room for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XYXZYZ View Post
    Actually I solved the Genesis controller problem by modding the Pro Play Home Arcade for Genesis, take a look-SEGA Pro-Play Cabinet

    But I've since dismantled it because after getting a couple more "real" arcade machines I just don't have room for it.
    Ah, I see.
    The Arcadian stick is a great real-arcade stick with what I think are 90's era HAPP parts (as opposed to "Competition" HAPP sticks and buttons which are the norm nowadays.)
    The stick si a bat like the common ones now and the buttons are concave, probably like what the Pro Plays have.
    There's 3-button versions (with "A B C" and Turbo buttons) and 6-button versions (with XYZ replacing the Turbo features). I obviously recommend the 6-button ones because these sticks were most certainly intended for Street Fighter 2 buffs. That being said, they are sweet for playing Sonic as well.
    I took a few pictures of my Arcadian sticks for another article I wrote, I'll show them here as well.

    Excuse the discoloration, poor camera quality.


    [

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    The best arcade-style controls for retro system are arcade-style controls. O_o

    For the SNES and SFC, the Hori Fighting Stick (HSJ-12) is probably one of the better ones, having a clicky stick. It's looser than a Seimitsu joystick and doesn't spring back really quickly, which probably makes it better for fighters and worse for shooters. Works fine on Contra-style games (like Rendering Ranger) though (at least through the run 'n' gun sections). Standard six-button configuration, two rows of three. Some extra features like autofire.

    The PC-Engine has a nice-looking stick from ASCII, who made sticks and pads for many other systems too. I have one with a Mega Drive style interface (for the MSX I believe, though it should work elsewhere); joystick sticks on the way back to the center and needs lubrication. Not the strongest spring in the world on that one.

    X68000 has a lot of crazy options. Aside from the aforementioned Mega Drive sticks, there's the huge Cyber Stick by Micomsoft which seems more like the shift panel out of a vehicle than a joystick. Probably somewhat cumbersome to use actually. There were also at least two dedicated controllers for X68000 ports of Crazy Climber - I think, would've been dual joysticks right - and a controller made of buttons for Pac-Land (I know this exists, it's right on the game package).

    Incidentally, sometimes I like joypads, and sometimes I even like keyboards. I'm not the biggest fan of joysticks, in general, though I have a bunch of 'em.
    Last edited by Ed Oscuro; 09-07-2009 at 09:50 AM.

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    I've got a Hori Fighting Stick Dual for SFC/MD that seems to be to be the equivalent of an NES Advantage for 16-bitters. Not too shabby, but it also included a MD to Saturn converter which was rather unusual.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post

    PS1: You can use those PS2 sticks, yes? Then I'm skipping this one.
    While this has nothing to do with your comment or the thread, there are some PS1 sticks/pads that are not compatible with the PS2, or will only work on the PS2 when playing PS1 games. Most that I know of are homemade/modded sticks based on cheap 3rd party PCB's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Az View Post
    I've got a Hori Fighting Stick Dual for SFC/MD that seems to be to be the equivalent of an NES Advantage for 16-bitters.
    It's far beyond the Advantage. Advantage is like stirring soup compared to the Fighting Stick - which isn't the best itself, but passable for the intended genre.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Az View Post
    I've got a Hori Fighting Stick Dual for SFC/MD that seems to be to be the equivalent of an NES Advantage for 16-bitters. Not too shabby, but it also included a MD to Saturn converter which was rather unusual..
    MD to Saturn Convertor? That sounds like something that'd be sweet for me to have. I can just imagine playing X-Men Vs. Street Fighter on my Arcadian... fufufufu...

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