Fight stick advice for a newb

Hi all,

Thanks for taking the time to answer a question that’s probably been answered about a billion times on this site. Even though I’ve been playing fighting games casually since Street Fighter II came out on the SNES, I’ve never desired to become competitive.

That changed last week, when I decided on a whim to tune into EVO 2013. I was blown away by the drama, the technicality, and most of all, the community of it all. I was so floored by the whole experience that I almost feel compelled to try my hand at fighting games.

Being an XBox 360 owner means that I currently use the Microsoft XBox 360 controller… Which has a terrible D-Pad. On top of that, I want to get competitive at fighting games, so I know that I need to pick up a fight stick.

I have a few questions, and I hope that you can help me choose one that will benefit me most.

First of all, I want to know what the general consensus is on the restrictor gates. I’ve heard that the octagonal gates are the way to go, especially for Street Fighter, (which I absolutely want to master!) but there does not appear to be any sticks that come with an octagonal restrictor. In other words, I would need to mod. I have no problem with this, especially if it’s as easy as I’ve read it to be. But I do want a second opinion (or third…) on the matter. Would you recommend that I get an octagonal gate?

Secondly, how long do these fight sticks usually last? I want to spend about $100 on this, if possible. But if I pay more, would I get a stick that lasts longer? Obviously, this would be dependent on how much I use the stick, but I don’t want to have to buy a new fight stick every year.

Third: How easy is it to change the art on the sticks? Amazon has a nice looking stick for about $80, but it features WWE characters, which is definitely not something I’m interested in. Would this be easy for me to take care? Maybe there are some templates, and I just need to print them? Is there a link that explains how it’s done?

Again, thanks for taking the time to help me out. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Id say honestly its not all that big of a deal whether or not you play on stick on pad. Plenty of the best players in the world play on pad (just look up snakeyes vs daigo from evo 2013). That being said i was a pad played for a good while and one thing that was definitely a problem was how often the controllers broke, i went through several wired controllers and ruined analogs before going to stick. This being said if you feel comfortable on pad go for it.

I dont think restrictor gates are all that big of a deal honestly, i started with a square gate and since have had zero problems with it. If you get the stick and have trouble with it at first (which i think is pretty natural, weird transition at first) id say keep at it for as long as you can and if you still feel hopeless with the stick after several months id say go for the octagonal gate. I wouldnt count on it being life changing though lol.

As far as how long the sticks last that obviously varies on the stick. I started out with an SE and the stick itself worked fine for a while, not as long as it should have though (the balltop just stopped registering inputs so its useless now). Ive had a qanba q4raf for about a year and a half now and it still works like a charm, even after being dropped several feet balltop down onto a concrete floor at one point (that did break it just a lil bit though, lol). If you’re willing to spend $100 on a stick id say find a madcatz TE. I highly recommend getting a stick that has sanwa buttons and a sanwa shaft, honestly american buttons are pretty shitty.

As far as art goes i have no idea, maybe tech talk would be a better place to check that. Anyway, hope this helps, happy hunting and good luck bodying fools in SF!!!

If you want to play on pad, play on pad. There’s nothing wrong with it. Most people play on stick, but there are definitely high quality pad players.
For gates- MOST players use square gate. Some use octogates, but it’s just a preference thing. You’ll have no problems using a square gate. In my opinion, it’s better (for a lot of different reasons), but that’s just to me. You could be one of the players that prefers octo. It might be something you need to try to fully know. That being said, you should never ride the gate. Octo encourages riding of the gate.

The Brawl stick isn’t bad, but it’s an entry stick. It doesn’t have Sanwa parts so they’re more likely to die sooner. For $80, you’re definitely looking into getting a premium stick with real Sanwa parts off the bat. You could definitely find some in that price range. Premium sticks have better weight (won’t slide around in your lap), last longer, and just look nicer. If you take care of your stick, chances are you won’t need a new stick pretty much ever (except for other consoles). You might need to replace the joystick (~$25) MAYBE or the buttons (~$3 each) MAYBE, but those things were designed to be beat on in arcade cabinets. It’s likely that you’ll be fine.

Almost every popular stick has a template that you can design art for. Then you buy that stick’s plexi and just put it all together. Super simple.

Thanks for the replies and great information guys.

@ fizzy
Do those two really play with Xbox 360 controllers? I find that very hard to believe.

I just can’t play with the default Xbox 360 controller… I have way, way, too many missed inputs. I cannot consistently pull off a Shoryuken in Super Turbo Remix, and that’s an understatement. I have put in enough time and frustration to believe that the pad is simply not the way to go. I understand there will be a learning curve to the stick, and it will take me many hours to reach a competitive comfort zone (if you will) but I cannot play with the pad. I’ve given up on it.

What would make a stick “premium?” Am I looking for a certain brand, price range, or edition? I see there are some “Tournament Edition” sticks… Although they are at least $150, is that what I’m looking for when it comes to premium?

EDIT: Just found a very useful thread that gave a great run-down on sticks for beginners. That should do it for me. Thanks.

As said above, there’s nothing wrong with pad. It might take a bit longer to get used to in certain cases but it has its advantages and disadvantages just like stick.

TE sticks are THE fightsticks, they’re of great quality and are reliable and awesome. If you wanna go a bit cheaper you can buy one of these ( and mod it with real sanwa parts. This would especially be a good route if you’re putting in the octagonal gate (which again, preference) and would be well within your price range. The main difference between doing this and buying the TE fightstick is that the case is smaller on the TE and the bottom is slanted, which is different from the TE. There are tons of helpful people on this site that can assist you in installing the stuff.
Good luck and have fun! :slight_smile:

Don’t buy that stick. I mean, you can get it if it’s like $20-30 but it’s ~$80 on Amazon. The Brawl stick is cheaper and comes with better parts. However, you might as well get a real stick for $80 instead of paying $80 then paying another $50+ for real sanwa parts then having to open up the stick and mod it…

A “premium” stick is basically anyone that comes with Sanwa/Seimetsu/Hayabusa/Kuro parts stock. That isn’t what really makes it premium, but it’s a pretty good indicator of a quality stick. Also important are having a good case (good weight, form factor, feel, etc.) and being reliable. MadCatz Fightstick Pros/TEs are the most popular types of these sticks.

Well, Daigo certainly doesn’t, being a member of the Japanese Arcade Generation. Snakeeyes DOES play on pad, but obviously not Xbox 360 at Evo, since they run on PS3s.

This is the REAL problem with pads. You end up having to buy widgets, and work out all kinds of hacks to play with them, because playing on a PS3 pad is different from playing on an Xbox pad and tournaments run on both consoles. Sticks are relatively easy to configure to use on both.