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Does a good universal arcade stick exist?


Angry the Clown
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Whilst playing Virtua Fighter 4 last night, I really felt that it's just half a game without an arcade stick of some sort. I am not a MASSIVE fighting game fan, with Virtua Fighter really being at the top of my list of sublime fighitng experiences, although the likes of Soul Calibur come in at a healthy second place.

 

I'm on the search for an arcade stick that, perferably would work with the PS2, Cube and X-Box as it would serve VF4 Evolution on the PS2, and I'd probably get Soul Calibur II on the X-Box soon enough.

 

Does such a toy exist?

 

Daniel

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Hey Daniel,

 

I've also been contemplating getting a decent universal arcade stick for some time now. I've put it off because I've been waiting for reviews of the Soul Calibur II stick, which is universal. For whatever reason, I don't think it's been released (please correct me if I'm wrong). It was supposed to be in stores when the game was released here in the U.S. I'm still waiting...

 

How much do you want to spend? I've read good things about the X-Arcade, which will run you about $100 U.S. for the single player, and also comes in a two player $150 U.S. version. I have heard that you may have problems with Live if you plan to go online with it, though.

 

I've also heard good things about the Mas Systems stick, though I can't seem to find a working link for them. They look cool, and I believe they feature the "lollipop" style stick, unlike the X-Arcade's "baseball bat".

 

I hope this helps some...

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The-X Arcade stick is lovely yes, though rather costly when one looks to importing one into the UK. There was a UK distributor I looked up recently and they typically seemed to up the price according to import duty (and then some) as I recall.

 

I THINK the Soul Calibur stick is out. I believe Iain told me he'd just got one in another thread! Iain, speak now!

 

Daniel

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I've got the X-arcade solo and love it - it is a little pricey yes but it is built like a tank and forwards compatable (as long as they stay in business).

 

Just an fyi you can use the X-arcade with Xbox Live, but you have to have an extension cable and lose the ability to mute easily (it has a slot in the adapter for it).

Disclaimer - I haven't used it on Live for any great lengths of time, but I did try it out in Tetris for a bit.

 

 

But on the cheaper side of things I just started seeing a couple of off brand universal sticks show up locally at Best Buy (I believe one was made by Pelican) so there are more coming out.

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I've also been keeping an eye out for the SC II stick also just to have a second one for friends, but I've yet to see one anywhere. I don't really like the graphic they used but it looks well built and the price is definatly right - if it was already out back when I bought the X it probably would have won out.

 

 

Before I had the X I had really only used a stick on classic games and never played many fighters in the arcade. I picked it up with classic games in mind but after playing SC II and VF4 with a stick there is no going back to a pad...

 

Best of luck finding one!

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"I've been waiting for reviews of the Soul Calibur II stick, which is universal"

 

Sorry, but its actually that there are two seperate SCII sticks, one for PS2 and one Gamecube; I've gone for the Cube one as its the one I found second-hand. The best XBox stick is apparently the Hori Fighting Stick EX.

 

All of those links are just to the nearest place I've found; I've not actually ordered from either of them, so don't blame me if they're no good.

 

That universal X-Arcade stick has got some really weird reviews; Its very much a US-style stick, and very stiff, with buttons that have a solid push to them. The above ones are Japanese-style sticks, much more loose, though just as durable. I think they suit fighters far more than the X-Arcade does. I'll do a quick review when my stick arrives, and compare it to the mighty DC stick, which I also have.

 

The other thing is that the converters to the different platforms for the X-Arcade are $20 each, and so no cheaper than a machine X to machine Y one. I strongly suspect your best bet is a PS2 SCII stick and a bunch of converters.

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Hmm, that's pretty disappointing if it's not universal. I was basing my facts off of an IGN review of it back in August.

 

Dubbed the "Universal SoulCalibur II Arcade Stick," the controller is a thick, sturdy thing to behold, and it's tattooed in original game-related art (an evil Soul Calibur sword) that's sure to appeal to franchise enthusiasts. The interesting detail about the arcade stick is that it works with all three consoles -- no extra assembly required. All gamers need do is plug the appropriate end into the console of their choice and they'll be up and running.

 

For only $39.99 U.S., I was very interested. I'm thinking it's been cancelled here, as it's no longer even up at the EBGames website anymore. Too bad.

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GameStop is still selling the Nuby (the one IGN did the review of), and it is universal as far as I can see. According to their store availability checker, a store just a few miles from me has them in stock. I'll go check later today and post a followup. But even if they don't have them in stores, seems that they have them in stock for online order.
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Ok, here's my follow up - the local GameStop did indeed have one of the Nuby "official Soul Calibur II" sticks. I'd been looking for a universal stick anyway, so I went ahead and picked it up. It's smaller than I expected but all of the 8 main buttons are easy to reach with one hand. It definitely works with all three systems. The build quality seems a bit lacking but it does seem pretty responsive - I was able to pull off some moves in SC2 that I'd never managed with a Controller S, and it did well for a bit of Namco Museum on the PS2. I don't have any fighting games for the GameCube, so the best I could do there was to fire up the GameBoy Player, and it works with that too. So overall, if you are looking for a fairly low-cost universal joystick that gets the job done, the Nuby fits the bill in my book.

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Aah, I see. We've got two completely different things then; I hadn't heard about this one. Its a real pity its not getting a UK release, as I could really do with a universal one, but at the same time I'd like to see how it compares to the feel of the Hori SC2 and DC sticks I love so much.

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I'm pretty pleased with the Nuby for the price. The only other arcade stick I've messed around with lately is the X-Arcade, and while it defintely doesn't have the same feel as that (understandable given the price difference) the Nuby's buttons are still responsive. (I wonder if this is the previously mentioned difference in US and Japanese styles of sticks, but I don't really have much else to base that comparison off of.) They wiggle a little bit, but I haven't had any issues with them not activating when I push them down. They don't have a sharp clean click when you press them, but they do have a noticable point (and noise) at which you know they are down. The stick itself is noisier than I was expecting, but it returns to neutral well, and I haven't had any problems with it not being precise. Now that I have it, there's no going back to the standard controller for any of my fighting games or classic game collections. Hope that helps!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I have my Hori Soul Calibur II stick (Gamecube version) now, and its a beauty. Highly, highly, highly recommended.

 

First things first - Hori were actually responsible for the official Dreamcast stick, and the moving parts in this are identical. Right down to the bright green stick-ball and buttons. So I felt right at home. Anyone with one already should pretty much know what to expect then - the very same components off a Naomi cabinet.

 

The case the bits sit in is quite different, though. The top surface is now perspex, with a suitable SC image on it. The surround and sides are purple to match the Cube itself, and so the whole thing looks much more colourful than the austere grey and white of the DC base. As before, though, the bottom is aluminium for maximum durability; this stick isn't going to fall apart in a hurry.

 

For those that don't know the DC stick, its of the Japanese style, as I mentioned before - very light, very loose, and can be moved around with minimal pressure. My hand position on sticks is with the side of the palm resting on the base (the perspex is wonderfully grippy, so this works well), and the stick held between thumb and first fingertip, so a stiff American-style stick from the likes of Nuby requires a lot more effort to push around, and so would be a problem. Buttons, similiarly, don't require any effort to push - this isn't like those horribly PS2 sticks with analogue buttons.

 

Finally for the moment, does it make any difference? Well, since getting the game on Friday I've not got further than round 4 in Arcade. Last night, on my first attempt with the stick, I beat all 8 rounds straight off. So thats a definite yes. The main things are the fact that you'll never miss a diagonal or quarter-circle sweep with a decent stick, unlike with the digital pad, but even more than that you've always got your right thumb resting on block, irrespective of what other actions you're doing, and so you'll be defending yourself properly.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thought I'd give everyone an update on this. A bit more playing has shown up some more minor differences between the SCII and DC sticks; the DC is actually a touch bigger and requires a little bit more travel on its stick. Not much though.

 

More importantly, on Saturday I got a PC Magicbox (Saturn, DC and PS/PS2 to USB converter) and Joybox 13 (Cube to USB) delivered. On Windows XP it was literally just a case of connecting up and letting the autodetection do its thing. The Cube stick has its joystick appear as a POV hat, and the L and R buttons are unsurprisingly appearing as throttles rather than digital buttons, but Mame32 was taught everything easily enough.

 

Mame32 is great now - with the coin button mapped to the SCII stick's Z button and the starts mapped as well, I can play Street Fighter II etc. properly, even in 2-player, without having to use the keyboard.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 10 months later...

Well ten months later I have call to resurrect this thread again. Have there been any significant universal arcade sticks on the market since I first asked?

 

I have still yet to purchase one, but with XBox Streetfighther Collection getting it?s UK release tomorrow I've now got arcade sticks on the old noggin? again. Specifically it would need to cover Streetfighther and Soul Calibur II on the Xbox and Virtua Fighther IV on the PS2. I've no fighting games on the Cube, although Smash Bros Melee could be interesting with a stick.

 

Dan

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As far as I'm concerned, the three changes worth knowing about are as follows:

 

1) Those Hori SC2 sticks have become more rare.

 

2) Hori now have some SvC funky-looking ones. Both work through the MagicBox ok to the XBox from PS2, apparently.

 

3) If you're feeling totally over the top, Hori do their equivalent of an X-Arcade, loaded up with full-on Sanwa parts and costing the GDP of a small country to ship from Hong Kong. Apparently the business, though.

 

Smash Bros. requires the analogue sensitivity on the pad to pull different moves off, so there's no point for that.

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I ended up getting the Pelican Universal "Real Arcade" stick:

 

801759b.jpg

 

It works on the PS2, GC and Xbox, and was only $50 US, so it won out for me in the end. It's very well built (wood) and has a slot for the Xbox memory card/headphones for playing on Live.

 

I'm not a huge into fighters, though I do enjoy them (more than I'm acutally good at them) so I figured this was good enough. If you're REALLY into fighters and quality sticks, I've heard that you can replace the buttons and stick with higher quality ones fairly easily.

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