Monday, April 19, 2010

Secret Weapons - Madcatz Fight Stick SE

With Super Street Fighter 4 fast approaching, the demand for fight sticks is bound to skyrocket again. I figured I'd weigh in on the pros and cons of the regular edition from the perspective of a casual (read: terrible) fighting game fan.

First off, this thing is pretty freaking big. The pictures really don't do it justice. It's just the right size to take up most of your lap. It's got a good weight to it too. So if your friend is an asshole Ken player, one good smack in the side of the head with it would probably put him down. It's got a nice long cord as well, which you could probably choke him out with. But I digress.

Being new to arcade sticks in general, it took me some getting used to. For starters, they come stock with a square gate which is the standard in Japan I guess. What that means is that instead of being able to rotate the joystick around in a circle, you will hit corners as there is a little square shaped piece inside. It makes some moves easier, but I prefer an octagon shaped gate. You can swap it out though, more on that in a minute.

The main difference between the SE fight stick and the Tournament edition (aside from looking less cool and costing half as much) is that it doesn't use official Sanwa parts. I can just hear you saying "Well whoop de fucking doo!" and I can understand. Allow me to explain.

Basically when it comes to arcade parts in japan, Sanwa is THE shit. Their joysticks and buttons are super precise, feel great and won't break when you smack Jaison, I mean your friend in the face with them.

The buttons and joystick on the SE frankly don't feel all that great, even to a hack like me. The buttons have a mushy feel and the stick feels cheap. Lucky for us it's super easy to swap that shit out. Everything is connected inside by little tabs, so you can order some sanwa parts online for super cheap and pop them in.

I swapped out my joystick and 6 buttons. Now it works perfectly, takes up less space and cost a fair bit less than the TE stick. Bonus! These are going to be scarce when SSF4 hits, but if you're serious about fighting games with some spare cash I'd highly recommend one.

I give it four Winston Churchills out of five.

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