Having a hard time finding a comfortable controller, advice?


I’m not a big fan of TL_DR’s, but I do feel like I’m adding a lot of context that may or may not be important to my question. Skip below the spoiler to get the point, but I do have this spiel here for it helps understand where I’m coming from.

[details=Spoiler]So I want to start this off by saying I’m not really new to the FGC community or competitive games, but I have never been someone worth mentioning. I have had a consistent losing streak at my local scene; local being relative cause it was more like 2-3 hours away to get to the active group. It was mostly just a social experience for me; I enjoyed playing with skilled players who enjoyed the skill it takes to win rather than just winning itself. I fell out of it for 2 reasons, one being how much money I was spending just to drive to events(wasn’t in a good position to rent hotels; had no established friends I could trust for occasional housing), and 2nd reason that is more relevant to this thread… my execution in these games is garbage.

Mind you, I’m not particular amazing at any aspect of fighters, but execution is the only thing that I would say I am outright terrible at. I have played numerous fighters, and what I have taken notice to is that though I am capable of doing things like Ryu’s FADC into Ultra 1 in SFIV, I can’t do anything consistently. I do mean anything. Its not just simple 236 motions that mess me up; I have found that even the most basic movements like jumping forward are inconsistent on my current choice of controller, which is a wireless X360 controller used through a PC wireless adapter.

I don’t use this controller out of preference. At least, not for fighters. I play a lot of games across multiple genres and my main focus is local multiplayer games in general. I do have a history of a much better quality controller; during the time I was playing within the FGC, I used a Hitbox for my main controller. When I first got it, it honestly didn’t take much time to relearn my execution, and though there were certain characters that were harder to play due to inputs(I always liked grapplers on pad, but I never got to a good level of comfortableness with 720 motions on Hitbox personally), the added level of precision on the Hitbox opened up so many other play styles that I honestly didn’t mind. Back when I had that Hitbox, I felt like my execution wasn’t being held back; I felt like I had found my niche of controller preference.

That was back in 2013. Fast forward to today. I haven’t been to a serious event in almost 5 years. I sold my Hitbox for multiple reasons; the mod I got to make it compatible with 360 devices was poorly done and left some serious build quality issues, the PS4/Xbone were starting to get major fighting game releases, I couldn’t put money towards attending events let alone modding my Hitbox again, and all the while it was collecting dust as my other local multiplayer games were getting more attention among friends than any fighters did.[/details]

I have two questions I want to ask, to get some good advice or recommendations of what I should work towards. 1st question, is it a good idea to have a controller dedicated soley to fighting games? I play a lot of general multiplayer games that could all benefit from a high quality controller, and the first thing that comes to mind is that a arcade box would not be very practical for another personal favorite fighter of Smash(that I still have quiet a bit of issue with, though that’s more of me trying to stay with Xbox pads/PC than anything; never had too much of an issue on console/tournament standard setups).

The 2nd question is; if it is preferred to get a controller centered around fighters, what steps should I take to find something I am comfortable with? Though I would be fine getting another Hitbox, my experience with getting additional console mods was… not pleasant. I don’t know if it was who I got the mod from, or if the Hitbox has an unusual parts setup, but I really don’t want to have another situation like it again. And I would like to try a more traditional fight stick because honestly I went straight to the Hitbox the first time around. All my experiences with fight sticks have been on the cheap side, and I have yet to experience any controller that had the initial build quality of the Hitbox.

As a bonus, here is a spoiler full of what I generally look for in a game controller. Keep in mind, though I would prefer to have a controller I can use on majority of games, I will go with a fighting game focused controller if its worth it. It will probably seem nitpicky, but I’m just trying to be as specific as possible. I’ve played with my current wireless gamepad setup for 4+ years now; its been tolerable up to this point for casual gameplay, so don’t think that what is in here isset in stone. Its just what I prefer.

[details=Spoiler]Black and white levels of precision. Its what drew me into the Hitbox and has made keyboard more appealing to me in 2D PC games. I understand this is uncommon for a lot of games, but being able to be distinct with the main directions really helps me satisfy my feeling of “my execution is bad, not the controller”. Dpads can do this sometimes, though I can’t stand my 360 controllers dpads, which have had tolerable joysticks for most games. I’ve become very upset recently with general joysticks and how they have gotten cheaper in build quality over the years; though the arcade layout of buttons is extremely helpful for fighters, I would be fine with a gamepad that had a joystick not entirely constructed out of the cheapest plastic that was commercially acceptable :expressionless: Unfortunately, I cannot find a gamepad that puts that much care and effort into durable, drift minimizing joystick. Any recommendations towards that would be very appreciated!

Aside from the sticks, the black and white precision also applies to buttons. It doesn’t take much to satisfy me in this regard, aside from getting rid of triggers. I refuse to use analog triggers on a fighter, and will always remap my buttons to avoid using them. A shame really, considering that I also don’t like the claw method for the face buttons. I have a hard time mapping on my buttons in a comfortable manner with a 360 pad.

Finally I want something that has a good weight and feel, which is different for gamepads and arcade boxes. For gamepads, spacing of the buttons/sticks is a big deal to me. The Xbox One/360 feel too compact to me, and speaking from my time with Rocket League, I have a very strong problem with my left hand slipping from the joystick to the dpad. PS4 is more comfortable when it comes to spacing. I’ve never had a weight issue with any gamepad.
Arcade boxes on the other hand… the hitbox was the closest thing to a comfortable weight, but I still found it hard to situate on my lap and not have it slide around. My local scene had a frequent Barfights tourney, with barstools being the usual seating arrangement for matches. Could not play reliably as I could never get the hitbox to stay still, kept sliding forward down my knees. All my experience with fight sticks has been much poorer in this regard.
Even my most subtle movements with the sticks would shift the entire controller. Its worth noting that two specific instances I can name is a Hori Mini(which was cheap) and a weird 2 player fight stick(even cheaper) were both much lighter than the Hitbox.[/details]


First of all, you seem to overestimate the influence of your input device on your execution. The differences between varying devices are rather minor. Having good execution is a matter of dedication and invested time and isn’t really depending on the device of your choice. You seem to give way to much thought to this kind of stuff. If you’re messing up, it’s pretty much you, who is to blame, not your controller.

I’d suggest going to a local and testing the different devices yourself. Go into practice mode and play some versus. Nobody can tell you for sure, what will feel most comfy for you. Just test it out and go for the device, which feels best.

But if I had to guess, I’d say a ps4 pad (use dpad, not joystick) should fit to your needs.

Also if you want to play on several systems, hardware mods aren’t required anymore. There’s stuff like brook super converters which will do the job.


I’d say this is only mostly true. Things like the X-Box 360 controller’s dpad really are dog shit for fighting games.


After posting this, I did some testing to check the drift on these 360 pads of mine. Normally I would agree with you; I really hate blaming something other than myself for my failures(main reason I enjoy 1v1 fighting games opposed to other competitive games). However, even I have to make an exception with this. One of my pads has gotten bad enough to move characters in game on its own(drifting to the point of walking). So yeah, I need a new controller; eod on that point, though I probably would do fine with just getting something new/untouched.

I haven’t had a PS4 controller in a long while, but last time I used one the dpad made blisters on my hand. The joystick was still unusable to me. Maybe I’m missing something about how people usually train their muscle memory when playing on stick, cause I drop a lot of stuff on stick in general and play better using a keyboard on PC. I can appreciate my improvement on Hitbox, but I have never been able to improve myself on stick.

Have converters gotten better or something recently? I have heard nothing but complaints of additional lag when using them but I haven’t been aware of the scene since the PS4/Xbone came out.

Painful and unresponsive, yep. Even when I first got it, right out of the box it felt like it had gum stuck underneath :v

Replying to this specifically:

I thought this was a good idea and would have been the first thing I did before I made this post, if it weren’t for the closest legitimate scene being 2-3 hours away from me. There is no one around me in 100 mile radius who owns a arcade controller, else I would ask to mess around with it for a bit in a heart beat. I have friends who have their own PS4 controllers that I’m hoping I can hang out with soon to at least test that, though none of them have dived into anything deep enough to worry if a controller is holding them back in a game. I’ve seen some of them play games with controllers that had sticking buttons and didn’t realize it so…


Well Phenom has won CPT Events against serious competition with a 360 pad+ Brook converter. Didn’t seem to hold him down that much. Not saying I’d want to play with that shitty 360 pad myself, lol. But a lot of people seem to be under the impression that changing the device will magically improve their execution over 9000. It doesn’t. Grinding practice mode does:D
If your controller has ghost inputs, it has to be replaced, of course.

Did you train playing on stick for several days/weeks without going back to keyboard/hitbox? Seems pretty plausible to me, that inputs on keyboard are way easier when you have XX years of experience on that device, even if you didn’t play fighting games with it.

Don’t know what to do against the blisters, Stickplayer here. My guess is, that the skin will become more thick in time. I’ve also seen people playing wit gloves for this particular reason.

Dunno where you are living, but here in good ol’ Germany, stuff that is ordered from the internet can be returned within 14 days without reason and has to be refunded. Dunno how the laws are abroad. But that might also be a solution to test stuff out.

But from what you said, you have been playing with Stick, Hitbox and Pad so far, so you should know feels playing with each device to a certain degree. So why can’t you decide what felt best?


Eh, no, but it can definitely make it worse…


Get a Panzer 3 Hitbox from @“Jasen Hicks” on jasenscustoms.com. Best controller in the world and will last you a life time. If you’re adamant about not using Hitbox, get a regular Korean or Japanese lever Panzer 3. Good luck.


You say you wouldn’t want to play with a 360 pad yourself but can’t understand someones concern for not wanting to practice on one. Okay. I’m gonna be blunt here; I know I posted this in the newbies corner, but that is only because I have never had a SRK account before. I spent 2 years in the local FGC, spending far too much money on it as a hobby in a time where I really shouldn’t have been so loose with my cash. I understand exactly where you are coming from, and its a waste of both your time and mine to repeat the same phrases over and over again.

As far as my controller experience, I actually went straight to Hitbox after a few months playing in tournaments, having no expereince on keyboard(I still used a gamepad on a laptop I had, even before fighting game ports to PC started becoming more common). People made the same warnings that it was not going to be an easy transition/have immediate results and I was prepared for that. Ironically, it only took 3 days of practice before I got the feeling of significant improvement and not wanting to go back to stick. It wasn’t an “Over 9000” improvement, but I was happy with it none the less and it helped motivate me. Also did a wonder for not killing my hands with arthritis. Aside from fighting games and certain platformers, I can use a regular gamepad. So I’ve spent a large majority of my life playing on nothing but joysticks, and my technical skill on them is still unpredictable.

I actually might try gloves, didn’t think of that. That might help with my issue of gripping them too; apparently(according to a local friend), my fingers and thumbs are small.

It was specifically a no refund job from a custom outfitter. I was ignorant and running off the suggestions that a local TO gave me. It was about 5 days in before I started noticing problems. It started out as just cosmetic things; a few scuffs on the glass that I written off to my own use of the Hitbox. Then once the rubber covers for the screw holes came off and I heard a loose screw within the Hitbox itself, I was pretty agitated at that point…

If this was solely about comfort and predictable execution, I would just get another Hitbox. Thing is I’m not really that dedicated of a fighting game player. As long as I am in a nonexistent scene with no access to online play and I lack a comfortable amount of expendable cash, it is going to remain that way. I was hoping someone would have a recommendation to either a specific controller or maybe some mindset to playing on stick. You make one example of a very small minority of pad players, but I can’t even enjoy fighters on the much more popular arcade sticks. Fighters are a very small bit of the gaming library I have, and right now I cant justify getting another Hitbox for a genre I don’t get to play often as it is.

I’ve solved my recent issue with gamepads for general gaming. Got a DS4 controller and downloaded DS4Windows; games are back to being playable and I can at least tolerate my execution on fighters now.