Fighting video games are all the excitement in 2023 with the discharge of Street Fighter 6, Mortal Kombat 1 and the upcoming Tekken 8 early subsequent yr. And simply as preventing video games flood the market, so do new controllers

Unlike most different genres, preventing video games have spawned a distinct segment business of controller-makers that produce arcade sticks harking back to the old-school arcades. New designs have entered the market as properly, like leverless controllers, referred to as Hit Box-style, consisting of solely buttons. Gamers trying to step up their prowess with the most recent preventing video games ought to think about the bevy of choices obtainable that will up their sport. But with controllers costing anyplace from $100 to $400, it is necessary to seek out the appropriate field to suit your type. 

What are the totally different preventing sport controller choices on the market?

There are three primary choices obtainable for preventing video games: sport pads, combat sticks and leverless controllers. The sport pad is the perfect identified of the three, and contains the usual PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X controllers, in addition to the individually bought Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. These pads include a D-pad, two analog sticks, 4 face buttons, two shoulder buttons and two triggers. There are additionally combat pads, consisting of simply buttons and a D-pad. 

Fight sticks shall be a well-known sight for anybody who spent a while within the arcades throughout their heyday. These controllers usually are available an oblong field with eight face buttons and a joystick. There are some extra buttons on the highest or facet of the field associated to the opposite button discovered on a sport pad. 

Then the third and newer choices are known as leverless sticks, or Hit Box-style controllers. It’s named after the corporate Hit Box, the primary to patent the design. These controllers are much like combat sticks in button setup, however as a substitute of a joystick, have 4 extra buttons that correspond to the up, down, left and proper instructions.

While Hit Box was the originator of this type of controller again in 2010, different firms have popped up providing their very own spin on the type, resembling Junkfood Arcades with its skinny $265 Snack Box Micro. Other Hit Box-style controllers embrace the $400 Victrix Pro FS and $300 Razer Kitsune. The solely formally licensed Hit Box-style controllers, in response to Hit Box, come from Paradise Arcade. In phrases of performance, nevertheless, all these controllers carry out adequately. But in Hit Box’s telling, controllers that undergo its licensing program will meet a sure degree of high quality.

“With licensing our IP, we aren’t solely in a position to formally endorse and collaborate with different prime quality producers, but in addition to assist be sure that each participant’s first expertise on a leverless controller is a optimistic one,” stated Dustin Huffer, president and co-founder of Hit Box. 

This is in distinction to the Razer Kitsune, a leverless controller that’s formally licensed by PlayStation, however is not part of the Hit Box licensing program.

“Kitsune is a completely Razer developed and manufactured product with out utilizing any elements, supplies, or ID from rivals,” stated Will Powers, PR lead at Razer.

Junkfood Custom Arcade’s director of operations Greg Lancette stated the Snackbox Micro is made and patented otherwise from the Hit Box and that it has no ties to the corporate Hit Box. Victrix expressed comparable sentiments relating to its Pro FS-12.

“We have a portfolio of patents masking our merchandise, a few of that are relevant to the Victrix Pro FS-12,” stated Trevor Lehl, director of product improvement at Victrix. “We analyze and scrutinize the power of our IP in collaboration with a world famend, business main authorized agency, specializing in mental property.” 

Lehl stated that Victrix is properly knowledgeable “on the protectability and validity of our competitor’s IP claims” and that not like the Hit Box, the Pro FS-12 is an formally licensed PlayStation product.

And official licensing by PlayStation and Xbox may grow to be an even bigger challenge sooner or later. Many preventing sport controllers have not been formally licensed by means of PlayStation and Xbox prior to now. Up till now, it hasn’t been an issue. But not too long ago, Microsoft introduced that it might be banning unauthorized third-party equipment later this month. This has led to some backlash from preventing video games gamers and disabled avid gamers who could should look in the direction of different controllers in order that they’ll proceed to play. 

Hit Box’s licensing program pertains to the button structure itself. Huffer praised Hit Box’s partnership with Paradise Arcade on the Mpress Nano and says others would make nice candidates for its licensing program, however did not reply rebuttals from different producers relating to their potential IP infringement.

Sony and Microsoft did not instantly reply to requests for remark.

Why you should purchase a combat stick controller

Arcades could also be all however gone within the US, however the combat stick stays a staple in preventing video games. Street Fighter 2, launched in 1991, set the precedent for controls that just about each preventing sport has adopted with its one joystick and six-button structure. 

Longtime preventing video games followers laud the texture of utilizing a combat stick. Being in a position to execute strikes with a fast twist of the wrist is satisfying and, some argue, essentially the most enjoyable method to play. 

To begin, the joystick supplies a sturdier enter as you must use your whole wrist to tug off a transfer. Then you could have eight buttons obtainable permitting the utilization of a number of fingers on the similar time, which is crucial to tug off sure strikes. 

Another benefit that will not be noticeable instantly is the strong base the combat sticks can present. They can present extra space to relaxation your arms and add stability whereas enjoying.

Why it’s best to select a Hit Box-style controller

There’s nothing extra irritating than lacking an enter and screwing up your combo in the course of an intense combat. Traditional combat sticks, which use an analogue joystick, enable the prospect for human error. Missing the nook on an octagonal gate might imply dropping a combo and dropping a combat completely. 

Hit Box-style controllers drastically cut back that probability of lacking the nook by remapping the joystick as buttons. Because motion is assigned to those buttons, similar to the arrow keys in your keyboard, so long as you push the buttons within the right sequence, you will execute your transfer with larger consistency. 

Snack Box Micro fighting game controller Snack Box Micro fighting game controller

Junkfood Custom Arcades Snack Box Micro 


One of the toughest strikes to study on a combat stick for learners is the Z directional enter. This requires shifting the joystick to the appropriate, then to the underside, then to the bottom-right nook, making a Z sample. Beginners can typically overextend, hitting the bottom-left nook as a substitute of straight down, ruining their enter. 

A Hit Box-style controller makes this a fast three-button sequence. Right, down and proper once more. Try hitting the appropriate, down and proper buttons in sequence in your keyboard. Pretty simple, proper?

While some within the preventing sport group bemoan the elevated recognition of Hit Box-style controllers, there is not any denying that it will increase enter consistency. That’s why legendary Street Fighter gamers like Daigo Umehara and Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi have switched to the Hit Box. Even although each have been enjoying competitively for over 20 years, primarily on a conventional stick, some great benefits of Hit Box have been too nice to disregard. It even pressured Capcom to make a rule change in order that conventional stick gamers and Hit Box gamers have been on a extra even footing.

Why it’s best to stick to a sport pad

For console avid gamers, nearly all of their time gaming shall be with the controller they get included with their system. These bundled controllers are usually each the perfect designed and highest high quality sport pads for his or her respective system. Thanks to that high quality, these sport pads have gotten extra predominant within the preventing sport scene as youthful rivals who spend hardly any time within the arcades have grown accustomed to those controllers. 

On paper, nevertheless, sport pads do not stack as much as the combat stick or leverless stick. The smaller variety of face buttons, the requirement to make use of the shoulder and set off buttons that require the utilization of each palms and having to make use of the controller D-pad for all the motion inputs seemingly make controllers a worse choice, however they do have some benefits. 

There are just a few transfer inputs that may be simpler to tug off on a sport pad. The primary one is the 360 levels transfer, which is a movement wanted for sure characters resembling Zangief within the Street Fighter sequence. Another enter that works a bit of higher on a D-pad is the double-tap ahead or again as a result of, once more, it’s kind of extra exact. 

A stunning benefit of the sport pad is its lack of buttons. For instance, the Mortal Kombat sequence makes use of 4 assault buttons as a substitute of six present in different preventing video games. There remains to be a block, throw and different buttons used within the sport, however having the 4 main buttons simply accessible to your thumb makes it the most popular alternative for Mortal Kombat match gamers

Arguably the most important power of a sport pad is familiarity. For some individuals, that is the one controller they’ve used for his or her complete life. Their muscle reminiscence is ingrained in these sport pads. Why trouble altering to a brand new stick and study a totally totally different method to management a sport whenever you’re completely snug with what you have already got in a controller?

For extra gaming equipment deep dives, try our picks for the greatest PC gaming headsets, greatest gaming chairs and our 2023 gaming vacation reward information

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