NOOB to arcade style controls, need some advice


Hey all.

I wasn’t to sure where to put this thread, but “Fighting Game Discussion” seems to be ok.

I’m a 29 year old software engineer, I game religiously, I don’t even have cable. I’m not sure how my wife puts up with it.

When I was younger I used to play SFII until the sun came up, I thought I was good back then, but of course I was probably just mediocre at best. This was all console gaming unfortunately.

I just took the plunge and got a Hori RAP Ex for my 360. It seems to have excellent build quality and I will look forward to modding the heck out of it (I work on hardware as well as software, so mods are right up my alley). FIRST order of business is for me to fix the insane button layout that it came with (unless someone can make a VERY good case for me to leave it be).

Here is the crux of my dilemma: Technique. I did a little searching and came up dry. I’m trying to figure out best hand placement to learn this stick with…what do you people do? A different finger for each button? Do you primarily use certain fingers more than others?

I’m basically trying to build some real skill with arcade controls and I don’t want to start off on the wrong foot…I want to try and learn an optimal technique from the start.

Any help, guids, links, videos, tips…would all be very much appreciated.

CLIFFS: New to arcade controls, with respect to SF or SC style games…what hand placement/finger placement styles should I learn with???


Practice is the best advice, the more time you spend using it the better you will get. You’ll find the most comfortable/effective grip for you soon enough. Try slow, exaggerated motions at first. Precision will come later.


if the buttons are arranged like

I keep my thumb on :lk:, my index on :lp:, my middle on :mp:, my ring on :hp: and my pinky on :hk: and I move my middle down to :mk: when need be.

It works great for me. Just try a few styles and see what you like.


Thanks…I know that I will need to put in HOURS on this stick before I can operate at the same level as I do with a controller.

My main purpose for getting this stick is that I hate playing fighting games on the 360 controller…choosing between the wildly inaccurate analog thumbstick and the horrifically shaped “Dpad”…there is no good choice for me.

Its more the button pushing that concerns me…I am attracted to the idea of keeping my index, middle, and ring fingers over the light, medium, and hard punch buttons by default, as then I would know their position by feel. And then I can just drop down one row to access the kick buttons.

Has anyone ever published any kind of arcade technique guide that addresses this issue?


Awesome, this is exactly the kind of advice I was looking for!!!

I’m hoping to get a few different responses like yours and then try a few styles that work for others, to see which one works best for me.


Check out my free program Execution Aid [media=youtube]xi_BYZM1LsA[/media] (download link in description on right side). For joystick grip I go with the wineglass, where the stick is between middle and ring fingers. If that Hori has 8 buttons, definitely use the outter 6, not inner. Index on jab, middle on strong and ring on fierce, thumb on short and move any finger at all to kicks as needed. I think the most important thing is have it ingrained in your mind to bring your middle and ring fingers BACK to strong/Fierce because that is your throw/tech throw right there usually (unless you have a non-sf game). And in 3S your thumb, index and middle play the wake-up game of throw, reversal parry thing.

So I don’t think it matters too much beyond that, just practice specific moves you want to do and were able to do easier on the D-pad, and go with what you feel (anyone want to disagree with that?). Just keep in mind not to stress too much on the pushing the stick too forcefully in any one direction- it won’t make the move come out any stronger/faster (ala SF1’s 2 big giant buttons) and you return to neutral quicker for your follow-up moves faster. Also do NOT go nuts fidgeting over small slips on the (tabletop) surface, or getting the stick so aligned perfectly with the screen, that’s always gonna be imperfect somewhat anyways and it in the end it just reminds you not to hit the stick too hard.



^ Thanks that is great advice.

I’m curious why you recommend using the OUTER six as opposed to the INNER six as the primary L/M/H buttons?

I also preferred the “wineglass” hold for the stick back in my mortal kombat arcade days…I’ll probably return to that.

And yeah…keeping a finger dedicated to Firece punch is probably a VERY good tip…as its key for so many different elements of SF.


Outer 6? I guess… because my hands would feel a little too cramped with the inner. But try it and judge for yourself. I wasn’t sure at first either and had to try inner just to be sure. Also, the further away they are, the more balance control you’d have, however slight. btw The guy in a recent srk video who works for Capcom talking about Magic in them shiny new sticks is completely crazy, he actually crosses his left and right hands when he plays (left hand for buttons, right hand for stick). Just kidding, he’s not crazy, he’s a good player that way actually, but he may prefer inner 6, I’m not sure. “Cross hands” or, wonderfully mistranslated into Japanese, “Cloth hands” (imagine a mesh of thread crossed over one another).

And train barefoot!



i second the wineglass hold for the stick. i don’t like how close the buttons are for the Japanese layout in relation to the joystick so i use the outer 6 buttons as well


LOL yeah I saw your “train barefoot” post…I always play with my shoes off anyway. I hate wearing shoes in the house.


Do whatever feels comfortable


This is the only advice you need. Anything more technical is only important for specific difficult combos.


I’ve wondered before why the community doesn’t have strong voices or opinions on proper stick technique–if not one consensus method, then a few dominant methods. This is something of an overstatement, but it’s true to an extent, so bear with me for a bit. With many other skills in life requiring manual precision, people do advocate a “correct” way of doing things (e.g. shooting a basketball, playing piano). In these other cases, only a small minority of top-skilled performers use nonstandard technique. People generally consider the technique a beginner first adopts–what feels natural–as inferior in most cases to the established methods. I think the same principles that some standard technique is superior for most people really should apply to using game controllers of all types as well. This last point is very debatable, as there’s arguably a threshold for good-enough execution that you should be able to achieve with any technique. But to counter that, you might say that achieving this threshold of good-enough execution would be easier with a more optimal technique.

The difference, then, is in the fact that there’s not really any formal training or schooling for stick playing as there’s no substantial player base of true professionals making their living off of playing. Thus there’s less discussion of pedagogy in general.


I think the only value in trying to teach a “proper” method is so that someone doesn’t develop bad habits that cost them later.

Like a friend of mine who used his middle fingers for Shoulder buttons back in the SNES days and now can’t deal with triggers on newer pads because they were designed with index fingers in mind.

It would be terrible for someone to get a stick, get used to a specific way of using the buttons that was comfortable and then find out a combo happy game in the future requires him to reteach himself another method. It’s like someone self teaching himself how to play guitar and using the wrong fingers on the wrong frets and finding transitions difficult.

It’s better to learn the right way the first time, than to retrain someone. Best thing to do is try to watch videos of players on an arcade machine and look at their finger placement. (Or meet some decent players at a real arcade perhaps)

Always thought this was a nice video to see how some old pros did it. :slight_smile: But they are pretty damn lightning fast.


>I think the only value in trying to teach a “proper” method is so that someone doesn’t develop bad habits that cost them later.

This is exactly why I am asking these questions :slight_smile:

I appreciate the discussion here, very interesting.


New guy… I like you. I just got my first stick, too. Same boat, really. Thanks for starting a thread like this. I was asking some guys in my regional forum, but I’m glad to see someone else has the same questions.

Which fingers for which buttons is important… but I think how one grips the stick has gotta be important, too.

Sadly, the only great tips I’ve found so far were in the Domination 101 articles. There’s one where the author talks about releasing the stick after every motion (letting it return to neutral)… and how that can improve execution.

It’d be nice if someone who actually knows their business would write a stick-training manual. Just like typing, writing, and any other thing that requires fine motor skills… there have got to be optimal means (in regards to the physical aspect of things) for using a stick.

“Do what feels comfortable” may work for some people… but it doesn’t work well for me. See… practice doesn’t make perfect… practice makes pattern. That is why I, too, want to learn to do things right the first time.


Very glad someone else was helped by this thread.

So far this forum pretty much kicks a$$…lots of helpful people and the right sense of humor.

I am counting the minutes until I can go home, fix the button layout on my brand new RAP EX and start learning SFIIHDTR properly.


There aren’t any bad habits. I’ve seen people play tons of different ways. If seth killian can play as well as he does cross handed, I doubt you’ll figure out some way that is prohibitive of executing any difficult combos. He’ll, I’ve even seen players with 1 hand do sick shit on arcade controls. Anybody that gives you specific instructions is just giving one of many ways that will work. Whatever you find comfortable will be fine :wink:

EDIT: Here’s an analogy. Is there a correct way to hold a pen?? Nope! Same thing for arcade controls.


Ooh, that’s a can of worms just waiting to be opened lol.


Its funny…when I started this thread, I expected to see a HUGE debate about proper technique…maybe even people claiming that such and such champion used technique X, etc…

I’m a car and motorcycle enthusiast…if I asked: “What is the proper way to hold the shifter?” on any of my car/bike forums it would start a 50 page long war of epic proportions…lol…