How in the world do you guys use sticks so well?


I got a Hori Fighting Stick V3 and its just doesn’t work for me. Every time I’m under any sort of pressure by the opponent i find myself unable to even block properly because I cant get it to do what i want it do with any sort of natural precision. I always end up moving my entire hand or when im trying to go on offense myself i find myself unable to control the character I’m using and I generally struggle with doing DP motions when facing right. I’ve grown up playing on pads and it was never hard for me to play fighting games in the arcade but its never felt this strange to play on a stick before. Its my first stick and I’ve tried to put up with it as much as I could but after six months of trying, giving up, letting the thing collect dust for a month or so then repeating, I’m really at my breaking point. Is there any sort of way you are supposed to hold this stick or something or should I just give up and sell it?


It’s always a bit awkward at first. If you’re patient with it and practice you may find that it can seriously level you up. It isn’t for everybody, however but you should give it a proper chance.


Practice, practice, practice first… THEN look at other joysticks/sample/try them out and decide if you want to invest in better equipment.

The joystick case isn’t what breaks or makes the product IMHO. It’s the actual arcade parts like the control lever and buttons. The Sanwa/Seimitsu parts really are in general much better than the Hori parts used in the Fighting Sticks or the Mad Catz clones in the SE/TvC/Brawl joysticks. You really do have to pay a bit more for better quality.
Also, try other parts from different manufacturers.
I’m not a JLF fan so I wouldn’t recommend that joystick lever… Some people like the Sanwa JLW but it’s out of production and getting harder to find and generally is not compatible with new joystick cases unless you buy an adapter mounting plate like Paradise Arcade Shop sells. I really don’t know how bulky the JLW is and can’t say for sure which joystick cases it actually fits into. It seemed to be a favorite joystick lever to clone in early 1990s joystick cases.
I’d recommending trying/sampling the Seimitsu LS-32 or LS-40; I’d recommend those above the LS-56/-58 and the LS-33. The LS-33 is basically Seimitsu’s JLF. The LS-56 and LS-58 can be hypersensitive and difficult for many people to use.
The iL/Happ joysticks are the older “American-style” joysticks but they’ve fallen out of favor with the general crowd and you have to special-order or make your own joystick cases to mount those parts. I didn’t like them in the arcades when we had arcades across North America and I really wouldn’t recommend them now.
Some people like the Korean K-sticks but again, they have the compatibility issues the Sanwa JLW does and there have been build/QA problems on the K-sticks that DO fit into American/Japanese-style joystick cases.
The newest entry is the Hayabusa control lever but unless you have the cash or know someone who owns that control lever I don’t know how that helps. There are many more JLF’s and Seimitsu LS-joysticks floating out there in tourneys than anything else.

There are off-brand clones for both the Sanwa JLF and Seimitsu LS-32 for sale at arcade parts shops but honestly I think you’re better off sticking with the real product. Cheaper springs and microswitches are used in the clones and they sometimes don’t perform as well as the original product. That isn’t to say that all sub-$15 joysticks are bad… It’s just kind of hard to say which ones are “next-best” choice when there seem to be about a billion of them out there with different levels of quality. I’d have a hard time recommending “acceptable” when I can’t get into someone else’s head to figure out what their idea of acceptable is. You generally do have to pay a bit more for better quality controllers here…

Having a higher-quality controller DESIGNED for fighting games can impact gameplay. It did for me with joypads and now joysticks. I started playing Street Fighter II on the SNES but got nowhere for close to a year because of the general shittiness and unsuitability of the SNES pad for that game. I only got better after Capcom released six-button layout control pads that had much better D-pads than the standard SNES pad!
I like the Seimitsu joysticks much better than the JLF and OEM/Hori/Mad Catz parts. The Hori (Fight Stick and older-style licensed HRAP’s) and Mad Catz parts in particular don’t hold up as well under hard, constant use. Their performance is also not known for being very good. Exceptions to that rule include the Hori Namco Joystick (PS1 era) which is near-legend in gaming crowds for having very good, non-arcade OEM parts. The parts Hori introduced in the newer Fighting Edge joysticks are also rated as outstanding. The FE parts are definitely at least on par with the arcade parts Sanwa and Seimitsu produce.
Ironically now, Hori probably has the best control lever unit on the market now with the Hayabusa that debuted with the Fighting Edge. I think we’ll all be hearing a LOT MORE about that unit as more of us get our hands on it.


Start off playing characters with simple commands like charge characters. They’ll help you adjust to using a square gate and once you start thinking in square, you’ll understand playing on stick more.

For example, hadouken is d, df, f right? Most people think of that as a circular motion. Well, stop that. Right now. Think of it as d, move to the forward corner, move up to forward. It’s a SQUARE motion, not circular, so you have to ditch the circle thoughts in favor of square ones. DP? Circle thinking is f, d, partial hadouken. Well, stop that. Forward, down, corner.

But again, I think the best way is to play a charge character like DJ or Guile. Get used to finding corners like downback, and use their simplistic motions. Once you’re used to that and can play competitively with a charge character, then think about trying out a motion character once you’re comfortable with the stick. If you fail still, maybe you need more time on it or need to adjust your thinking. Once you get enough time with a charger you can graduate to more complicated characters with more complicated move sets, and stick to it. Think square, and practice. That’s about all I can tell ya.


im only gonna post this because it might help others.

Im sorry if I offend your level of skill or familiarity, but its best to go basic.

I’m gonna assume this is the only arcade stick you have access to.

Then hold it right there.** don’t even think about modding or “REAL ARCADE PARTS” for now, it’s just gonna confuse you.**

Don’t even think about fighting games for now.

Play something “simpler to control” than fighting games. Since its a PS3 Hori FS V3 stick, plug it to you PC and load up some MAME / emulators / other PS3 games. Play Pacman, play beatemups like Final Fight, run and guns like Metal Slug, or shootemups like Gradius. Random stuff like that.

I don’t mean be good at them or play them excessively, just get comfortable with the joystick. You need to play games where it trains you to know how a joystick itself works. You need to get comfortable with games that still require fast reactions, but doesn’t put you in a position where you have to react with hand-twisting joystick motions. Figure out what kind of setup works best for you, try playing on your lap, on a table, standing up on a pedestal, on the floor. The luxury of arcade sticks these days is that you are not restricted to a cabinet, and you can find a position that suits your comfort.

these kinds of games emphasize the joystick for the most basic of its functions, which is making use of the cardinal directions, the ups the downs, the lefts and the rights and then diagonals. after a while, you might find yourself and your hand adjust to a comfortable position for you. if you find that you found a natural-feeling way of handling the joystick, wherein accessing all directions is easy and becomes second nature, only then you might wanna start doing more complex fighting game-like motions.

After that, Pop in training mode and start moving your character easing your way into doing those more advanced fighting game tech.

just my 2cents.

if you feel that after all that, you’re still comfortable with a controller/pad. nobody’s stopping you from using that, use whatever you feel like you can play your best in.


same as above

just keep playing, eventually you will be at one with your character

i started on stick with a cheap knock off of a hori tekken 3 stick, it took a while but its worth it, the feeling of control is so much better once you get there, eventually my stick crapped out and i got a tournament edition

the reason you missing executions is 1) you getting used to stick, and 2) you go in to auto pilot panic mode when you under pressure

so relax and keep playing

and ignore all the buy x stick and y buttons crowd, because you may decide sticks not for you and go back to pad, so dont waste your money

but if/when you do decide to stay with stick, then im sure theres plenty of advice and fans of many brands that are happy to advise you


This is why you’re not better with it, because you keep quitting and going back to it. I used to have guitar students that would do that. They’d play for a bit, quit, then come back and find they were worse. If you’re serious about playing stick, you should “stick” (haha) with it. Everything @hibachifinal said is good advice, especially the part about playing other games with it. I played a lot of Castlevania, Puzzle Fighter, Tetris, and shmups with mine. The more familiar you get with it, the better you’re going to be. And it truly IS the best way to play arcade style fighters. I’ve gotten to a point where I can’t play on pads or keyboards without feeling limited in some way.


I’ve never played on stick before (or even on an arcade cabinet).

I bought a TE a month ago, and now I am used to it to the point where I can’t play properly on my keyboard anymore. My links won’t come out, plinking feels terribly strange, (though DP motion is way easier on keyboard) execution isn’t as consistent.

I just practiced everyday on training mode for a few hours a day. It starts to sink in after a while. I haven’t bothered playing online yet… still working on getting simple execution to 100% before trying to apply it in a real match


i would go straight in to competetive matches, online or offline, whatevers easier

practicing execution and control in a competetive pressure environment is how you will properley adjust


This right here. Fighting games are by nature high pressure and execution heavy. Going into a fighter with any controller you aren’t comfortable with is guaranteed frustration regardless of how good the controller is supposed to be. If you’re really committed you can get good with your stick just by playing and practicing your fighter of choice, but it will be a lot easier (and more fun!) to play other games with it first. Once your brain is used to playing video games in general on your stick, learning to play fighters on it will be a lot easier. You’ll still have to practice, but you’ll get farther faster than you would otherwise.

All of the games/genre’s mentioned in the posts above are great for learning to use stick. My personal top recommendation is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, available on XBL and PSN if you don’t have it already (which you really should). The game is great to begin with, and the side-scrolling platforming lends itself perfectly to arcade sticks. It’s easy enough that you won’t be too frustrated to continue, and you can even practice some standard fighting game motions by doing Alucard’s spells. When you can do Soul Steal on stick without thinking about it you are well on your way.

In general, if it’s possible to play a game with your stick then do it. Remember, every single PS1 game is fully playable on an arcade stick with 8 buttons plus Start and Select so there’s a lot for you to choose from.


it took me a couple weeks before it became comfortable… keep with it!!


It also took me a couple of weeks to get comfortable with it but being good at it is another story…


Keep at it man I’ve been on stick for years and still have some trouble with higher execution games. Don’t get mad about it too much just enjoy the game and surround yourself with good players that are good people. It builds confidence


As other ppl said, dont worry about different joysticks like sanwa and seimitsu. That comes once your familar with using stick in general. Then you can upgrade to something more of your liking.

Practice is the key. while charge characters are good to practice i find half circle practice is what helped me learn quicker. Honestly, if you have a game like cvs2 or a kof game, practice using a character that has the qcf,hcb super move. It will be a headache at first but practicing that move over and over and not getting result will make you adjust your hold, angle and depth of how much your inputting your moves. If you dont have one of those game, get a emulator and kof 98-02 and practice using iori. Do his hcb, f+C throw into his super move. Once you get that consistently, you will be able to do pretty much anything besides maybe 360/720 since that is a different kind of practice.

I dont have a link but there are many type of holds people use on joysticks. You may of read it, but just remember, one hold might suite you, but you may have to switch holds during different executions. Also, pay attention to your left arm and make sure its vertically center to the joystick. May feel awkward but you will notice a difference. once you get used to movement you may be able to put your arm at a more comfortable position, but you wrist will have to make up for the difference.


This belongs in the Newbie Saikyo Dojo, not Tech Talk.


since you used a gamepad, it means the left thumb and index finger will probably be better trained than the rest. Personally I hold the stick with thumb and index finger. tried the glass wine method, but the rest of the finger are too weak for any decent speed. Need training and finger exercise…

I too had troubles with left hand. But what helped was that I have to drive a lot this year (40 minutes to 2.5 hours daily), so holding the car wheel for so long, strengthened my left arm…


Transitioning to stick is tough and rough, but after a few months of practicing everyday for hours youll get stuff down. Its all about practice.


I use a Hori V3 too. It’s a cheap stick but due to feeling free to marker dumb shit on a result I fell in love with it.

Just practice, practice, practice. Stick is hard but rewarding.


If you are single it shouldn’t be a problem…right >.>


There is some old SF2 video with Daigo and (I think) Gian or Otochun laughing at Yaya being mostly unable to DP on P1 side, at that moment. Square gates are not really for everyone, and it might be even harder if you were any used to western sticks. I know of very good players who go through the hassle of spending hours in training mode just so they can get some consistency before tournaments.

In fact, iL sticks are quite good, but they demand big and heavy cases which mean you will have trouble if you plan on going to tournaments.


PS: “hitbox” sellers/advertisers popping in 3, 2, 1…