Since the arrival of Street Fighter IV a few months ago… The arcade stick business has boomed to new levels! This year is an excellent time to be a fighting and shooter game fan as publishers have made sure that gamers will be equipped with all the controllers they’ll need to get a premium experience for their favorite games! Click below for an overview of new and upcoming arcade sticks!
There have been quite a few arcade sticks released as of late… And many more down the road. 2009 is definitely a comeback year for arcade styled shooters and fighting games.
Japanese companies Hori and Exar have stepped up to bring some hot new arcade sticks to compliment some immensely popular titles.
Fate/Unlimited Codes was released on the PlayStation 2 late 2008. Hori released a specific Hori Real Arcade Pro styled fighting stick that revived the HRAP1 button placement but with the game’s specific mapping laid out.
Also on PS2 is the recently released Sugoi: Arcana Heart 2 arcade stick by Hori. The stick follows the same HRAP1 button placement and styling found on the Fate/Unlimited Codes stick, again with the game’s specific mapping. It is evident that the licensed Hori sticks have become less mod friendly since the first licensed game stick using the HRAP style was released (Capcom Fighting Jam).
For the Xbox 360, the immensely popular Death Smiles has shot it’s way into Japanese homes recently and Hori again stepped up to the plate by releasing an ultra limited HRAP EX styled controller. The stick features quick disconnects unlike the PS2/PS3 licensed sticks using the existing HRAP tooling. It is very hard to find for a decent price, so if you’re looking for one, GOOD LUCK!
One of the biggest fighting games in Japan right now is Arc System Works’ BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. This title currently reigns supreme as Japan’s #1 2D fighting game and Hori will once again be providing two arcade sticks just in time for the game’s release in June. The BlazBlue sticks will prove to be very limited… Import shops have already issued warnings that supply will be in short order. For those of you unfamiliar with the pictures above, the PS3 BB stick will be essentially the same as the official JPN version Street Fighter IV arcade stick while the Xbox 360 BB stick will be the tried and true Hori Fighting Stick EX2 (Dead or Alive 4, Street Fighter IV JPN, Virtua Fighter 5, Soulcalibur IV).
Rounding up this season of arcade sticks is the latest entry from Exar. The King of Fighters XII was released in Japanese arcades last month and the console version is already slated for a July release in the US. The stick pictured above is based off the Tatsunoko vs Capcom sticks Exar released in Dec. of last year. The Exar stick was met with a somewhat negative outlook due to the build quality and lack of sturdiness, hopefully the KOF XII sticks will be reworked for the PS3. No word yet on an Xbox 360 version of the stick.
It is interesting to see all the action coming out of Japan for the upcoming games. What’s even more interesting is what will Mad Catz do for future fighting game titles? It’s obvious that Mad Catz is the rookie when it comes to fighting game sticks, but they have made it very clear, they are in the arcade stick business and won’t be going anywhere for a long time.
Arcade sticks have never been more popular. People are buying arcade parts and modding sticks all over, the business has never been so fresh and welcoming as it is now. For more information on arcade sticks, please visit our Tech Area section!
Expect more arcade stick news as it comes!