Is arcade stick the definitive controller for fighting games?

I am no old school arcade dog, played fighting games since early 2000’s on PC mostly, so please dont roast me for sounding childish.

I visited my bro and we hung out in a bar which had arcade machine with built in MAME emulator and lots of games. It was my first time trying this type of controls, and I totally sucked with this.

I could barely do Scorpion’s spear in MK2, and charge moves felt impossible. For me it feels like its kilometres of distance between back to forward or down to up…

Roast keyboards all you want but for me playing FG’s on keyboard feels like breeze. Directions don’t take unnecessary motions distance n’ all.

Tbh what everyone will say is “it’s personal preference” but in some fighting games combos are nearly impossible to do without a fight stick. And even street fighter 5 is meant to be played and learnt from a fight stick. So it will take some getting used to but itll definitely have its perks, and if you dont like a fight stick you have you can sell it or mod it to your liking. I’m getting the razer Atrox soon and I’m very excited

This, I rarely got to go to arcades as a kid, so gamepads are what I’ve always used. I get along just fine :stuck_out_tongue:

I dont have a fightstick. I was considering buying it but now I am convinced to not do it. And SF5 played well for me on keyboard (that is, after using a truckload of third party software because capcom.sys can’t even implement keyboard binding normally).

A fightstick is not better at all. It’s just something we associate with fighting games. Like a steering wheel for a car. Almost anything that causes difficulty in a standard controller is caused by the difficulty in accurately hitting multiple buttons. But a fightstick (especially the joystick) has a much farther draw than any controller and is therefore much more difficult to be precise with. But people can learn to do anything. On paper, I think you can make a very good case that a hitbox is probably the best controller for a 2D fighting game, and that’s no different from your keyboard except in terms of button placement.

Having said all that, I love using a fightstick. It’s the only way I want to play and I will keep buying them.

Yeah, I didn’t get to spend much time in arcades growing up, so most of my fighting game experience has been with controllers…SNES, PSX, N64, etc. and that’s what I’m used to. I’ve got a KI TE2 and have worked with it some, but I’m still more proficient with a controller, and for my purposes it’s more convient as well.
With any control type the biggest issue with switching to another type is muscle memory. Fightsticks use different sets of muscles than controllers, so even if you know how to throw a fireball, you still have to train your wrists and fingers or thumbs and fine tune them to respond appropriately.

There’s always hitboxes. All the benefits of a fightsticks (button placement, sensitivity, response time, etc.) but instead of a stick it just has four extra buttons for each direction to mimic keyboards.

yes it is

Yes, they were born in the arcades and most of them keep using the same button layout till today.

I played games at the arcades and for a figthing games I do feel it’s the best (for me) unless is actually an MK game. Lets say I would prefer a figtstick for every 6 button games. Buttons in a row help me a lot (muscle memory is so strong XD) and the stick also helps me to play better since I always think the d-pad is too fragile for fighters (same for pad sticks).

However if you are NOT used to playing with stick doesn’t mean is better for you. If you are able to play with a keyboard (something I simply run away from it) you could use a hitbox =D. The hitbox has IMO the cleaner inputs of all the possible pads for a fighter.

Even though I can play with a common pad I’ll always feel more comfortable with fightstick (unless is MK, which is totally and easily playable with pad).

Check the hitbox

I would love a figthing pad with 6 button layout too. Fithgsticks aren’t cheap and also some players may not get used to it. So, why not a fighting pad?.
This is one I’ve seen for MK:

Note: Haven’t played with it, but I like the idea!. The D-pad is very important. I believe it should have the diagonals too, like the old SEGA joysticks.

This is a Megadrive pad, I think the d-pad with diagonals could be very nice for any fighter that uses circle motions. Of course the main directions (up, forward, down, back) should be easy to get naturally. If the D-pad is not responsive or it’s to hard it’s a con. EG: Nintendo 64 D-pad. It would hurt after playing for some time, it’s not suited for fighters.

Fightpads like that have their own drawbacks though, such as pressing multiple buttons on opposite ends. Holding all 3 of Glacius’s hail would be fairly awkward.
Not to mention, I’m not sure about the MK pad, but previous iterations of that design broke easily. I had a MVC3 version, and a couple of the micro switches broke within about a month or so.

I love joysticks but oddly enough the xbox one s is the only controller I’ve ever played a fighting game on that doesn’t hurt my hands. Every other controller feels weird in my hands after long periods and makes them sore, the xbox one s controller is definitely my fav. I didn’t really like video games before my bf got me an xbox one s. Now I’m obsessed *giggling

1 Like

Every control method has benefits and drawbacks. In terms of most benefits with least drawbacks, hitbox is the best controller for fighting games.

It’s been so many years since I touched an arcade stick. I first used the Xbox Street Fighter IV fightpad on my 360. But when I couldn’t use it on my Xbox One I went with the Mortal Kombat one that @MaruMDQ posted (though it was the Xbox version).

Simply my go to choice for a fighting controller.

1 Like

Good point, I didn’t think about that (Glacius). But it’s quite character specific.

However, talking about myself, never had big problems about having 6 buttons. It was a suggestion specially for pad players , in case they could try that out =) .

I’m very happy about the fightstick, the only problem is moving it from one place to another and also some inputs which are easier in D-pad (Wolf dashing for instance, with pad is a joke, easy and fast (that may also be because the stick I use, despite being sanwa, it’s not as soft as the TE2 I tried once)
The stick also implies using multiple muscles instead of just using your thumb or fingers alone).

I may be exagerating a little, but I’m talking about hours of play that affect you. Playing A LOT for too many days or playing nonstop might cause me some little “injuries” in the bottom of my wrist too (abrasion) and make my arms get tired (either training or toruney or looong sets. Even playing more than 2 hourse straight everyday). Also because of this my inputs will suffer as well and won’t be as clean as they could.

In short IMO : the figstick is more tiring than a joystick for long plays on the same day. But I still prefer it =)

Arcade sticks are what many competitive fg players are used to (or at least have experience with) and modern ones work with many common modern fighting game setups, so players find them reliable for their setups and kind of expect they’re what other players will want / be able to use when provided. New players without a controller preference might be fine with trying stick, while practiced stick players may struggle to use anything else.
You may have a wildly different controller preference, but it’s unlikely that others can expect it and accommodate for you unless they use it themselves or you have workarounds and bring your own.

As for arcade machines, arcade sticks are simply the norm. Gamepad-like parts wouldn’t be as durable or comfortable on a board and keyboard-like button arrangements would confuse everyone unused to them in a fighting game.

I haven’t used keyboard, but I imagine it’s hard to get working on anything other than your own setup. Gamepads similarly rarely work on competitors’ consoles without an adapter. Htiboxes have few companies producing them and are uncommon, and difficult for unfamiliar players. Even fightsticks and hitboxes can need drivers or adapters. Also, money.

It’s not that arcade sticks are the best, but that they’re familiar to many. Even top competitive Tetris players on consoles use arcade sticks.
If you have something that works best for you, then that’s your definitive controller. The annoyance should only be when you can’t use it.

it’s all about personal preference. i picked up a fight stick for marvel 3 a few years ago and although the first few months were me dropping all the combos i had memorized, by the time i got used to it i was inventing new combos that were impossible to do on pad.

i don’t have a fight stick for my xb1 though so i play on pad. it’s not terrible but i would really prefer playing on stick, if only because i feel like stick gives me more control over my buttons. (i get kinda mashy on pad.)

The only fighting games that I had difficulty with using a controller was Tekken Tag Tournament 2 and Street Fighter 4. I quickly fixed TTT2 by changing the button mapping (default on controller is impossible to play unless you’re using the uncomfortable claw position). I played SF4 before I got really into fighting games, so I don’t know how I’d do today. All I know is that the 360 d-pad can go to hell.

Get an adapter.

Matter of taste.
Anybody who says that the stick is better is

It’s all a matter of taste. Some people love the old arcade feel. Some like the feel of a controller. Some like using a keyboard. I used a keyboard when I had MK3 on PC, but that was ages ago.