I’m home on spring break this week, so I decided to crack open my custom arcade stick and do some additional modding to it. My stick uses Happ / IL parts, and one of the biggest complaints regarding Happ’s competition buttons is that they take considerably more force to activate than Sanwas and Seimitsus, and the cherry switches by nature don’t allow for as rapid pressing as their Japanese competitors. Well, Groovygamegear.com has been offering a solution to the problem for a while now in the form of “micro-leaf” switches, and I decided to order some to put in my arcade stick. I’m pleased to announce that so far, they’ve been working as advertised.
Basically, the micro-leaf switches were made to replicate the feel of the old leaf switches used in vintage arcade machines, because a lot of arcade enthusiasts feel that leaf switch buttons were more responsive. I’ve had little experience with actual leaf switch buttons since they were before my time, but from what I can tell it is more or less a momentary contact switch that is designed specifically to fit into a happ button’s cherry slot. I don’t own any Sanwa or Seimitsu buttons so I wasn’t able to do any in-depth comparison tests, but with what I’ve read I’d wager that this switch boosted my Happ competition buttons to being comparable to Seimitsus in terms of sensitivity, rather than the much more sensetive Sanwas.
The only potential drawbacks I see for these little pretties is 1) they cost about $2.75, so combined with the purchase of a button you spend about the same as a Japanese button, and 2) these switches were made for the home arcade market, so I don’t yet know how long of a life they have. Also, they use the same size terminals as Japanese buttons rather than the bigger ones found on cherry switches. While they fit just fine into my stick’s terminals, it is something to keep in mind if you’re building from scratch.
So to sum up, if you’re a Happ user who wants better response from your push buttons, but you don’t want to go Japanese, the micro-leafs from Groovy’s will give you what you’re looking for. Just keep in mind however that while they are a great drop-in replacement for already built Happ sticks, if you are building from scratch and want more sensitive buttons you may be just as well off buying a set of Seimitsu buttons for a similar price. So far though, they have been working out great for me, and I would Happ-ily reccomend them to Happ fans who want a quick and easy way to make their buttons more responsive.