Arcade Game Stick
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The Return of the Arcade Game Stick

Updated: August 29, 2021

Some things transcend the change in times and the change in trends that come with that. One such “thing” is the arcade stick. While the significant era of arcades and arcade machines might have passed, one thing out of that which has persevered is the arcade stick. In some way, shape, or form, it still by large exists today.

This way, the modern gamepads or controllers such as the PS4 or Xbox controllers are inspired somewhat by the old-age arcade sticks. Now with the popularity of some specific games on the rise, the question we ask is that “are arcade sticks back in business?”

We are living in a golden age of gaming, with innovation at an all-time high. But there’s one piece that many gamers miss: the arcade game stick. If you’re looking for some retro fun or want to get back to basics, check out our list of excellent classic arcade sticks!

We will address some of the more critical and noteworthy topics regarding arcade sticks in the upcoming segments.


What is an Arcade Stick?

Most of us have had the luxury of visiting arcades during our childhood, and boy did we enjoy the times that we spent there. For those of you who have not seen arcade game machines or are curious about the nature of an arcade stick, this section is for you.


arcade stick


An Arcade Stick is a device with which you can input commands for different video game functions. Think of it as a cabinet or box, variable in shape as to the number of buttons in it. The central aspect of this box is a large joystick. It is relatively more significant than that a gamepad might be.

The pack also contains multiple buttons, which are usually also more meaningful than a gamepad’s. The number of buttons varies depending on the model of the arcade stick. The buttons require a more physical push to them for activation. It’s different from Gamepad’s or controllers in the size, shape, and nature of buttons, along with the kind of joystick it offers.


What are the benefits of an Arcade stick?

The arcade stick is not just an old collector’s item. Actually, for the most part, it is one of the most competitive pieces of computer gaming hardware. Most pros prefer using an arcade stick over controllers/gamepads for competitive fighting games. The reason for that is quite simple; arcade sticks allow for better and more accurate responses.

Now for casual gamers, you may not notice the difference, at least until you use the arcade stick for some time. The difference in execution that an arcade stick offers to the controller/ gamepad can only truly be realized after continuous use.

One of the reasons for that is that an arcade stick provides a more complete and favorable layout. All the buttons are in front of you, and the joystick is moved with the whole process of your hand instead of just your thumb or fingers doing the work. It allows for better response times and better gameplay.

The arcade stick can also be made to be more customizable. You can add more buttons and features to your arcade stick if you make it yourself or get it custom-made. You can also choose the placement of the buttons to your best satisfaction.

The arcade sticks are also far more durable than controllers. It goes beyond saying that controllers have a limited lifespan and can never really rely on them for long-term support. Most of us will have gone through many controllers in our game live already. The arcade stick is a seriously durable piece of gaming equipment. The buttons are made to be clicky and are much harder to render useless. If pulled from arcade machines, the arcade sticks are bound to be more durable as they are designed to be subjected to all kinds of users for hours a day.

Most people also find them far more comfortable. It, however, is a personal thing, and a user should decide first whether or not this is the case for him if he intends to use arcade sticks for personal use. If he does not find them more comfortable, this might not suit them for casual gaming use.

The layout of buttons is more comfortable, as the buttons are all in front. It is an execution and comfort plus, as you can execute intense combos more effectively and quickly. The arcade stick might take getting some used to, but the joystick is more usable than a controller, which tends to tire you out, as your thumb is subject to intense use. The arcade stick utilizes just the arm and the entire hand to be more responsive and easier to handle. It is more extensive, so it might be harder to carry and might offer issues in portability.


Does arcade stick help fighting games?

An arcade fight stick is your best friend in fighting games! The joysticks are designed to be operated with whole hands so you can execute each movement of the arcade game and pull off complex moves. Fighting games are challenging. It’s a big feat to master the complex and quick movements of arcade fighting games, but with your trusty fight stick, you can put your whole hand and arm into each motion for an easier time.


What kinds of games can I play?

Users all around the world use the arcade stick for almost all kinds of games. People play FPS games and even third-person shooters. Some users have also found FIFA interesting with the stick (somehow). The sky is the limit, but realistically to us at least, the arcade stick offers the best use in arcade-style games.

Most commonly and effectively used in fighting games such as Street Fighter, Tekken Series, King of fighters, Soul Calibur, etc. Most pro gamers in the games mentioned above and other games are using arcade sticks these days. It is a testament to the nature of this equipment. It is the item for you if you find such games engaging and plan on playing them a lot.

The skill can’t be bought, but the arcade stick can allow you to become a better player if you put the time into it. The combat stick will make gaming far more engaging and loveable for anyone.


Choosing your Arcade Stick

You should thoroughly think about whether or not an arcade stick is a right choice for you. Please do your research, use an arcade stick your friend or anyone you know has, and compare it to your controller.

Only after some use should you formulate an opinion on whether or not you want and need one. Because it is an injustice and a shame to buy hardware you are never going to use. Once you decide that you are ready for a fight stick, you are only limited by your budget.


How to choose your arcade stick?



The joystick can mostly plug and play on PCs because of its versatile nature. Other platforms like PS4 and Xbox may not be as accommodating, though. So you will have to confirm whether or not the arcade stick you are buying is compatible or not with your platform. Not all arcade stick models are compatible with console games.

Last but not least, you should decide the best arcade game stick with the budget you have and the number of buttons you need. Some games like Streetfighter traditionally use a 6 button setup, so perhaps keeping that in mind, at least 6 buttons along with an arcade stick should be enough. If you want one with more buttons, you can go for that.



The arcade game stick is back, and it’s better than ever. With fighting games becoming more popular, players are looking to improve their skills with the new technology at home. An excellent example of this would be Street Fighter V which has an arcade mode. That you can play on your computer or gaming console using just one button—and who needs ten fingers when only one will do?

Arcade sticks have been around since the early ’80s, but now there are many different types available in various price ranges from $30-300+. 

Waqar Ashraf

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