Happ sucks. They do not even use Cherry switches anymore. Go with IL.
I was inspired to create an FAQ for Happ/iL parts similar to Paik4life’s Sanwa/Seimitsu FAQ as there is no centralized information source for Happ parts on SRK. Please feel free to post any additions/corrections/technical data/opinions/etc.
My recommendations for part choices**: IL Eurostick and IL convex buttons.
Happ makes/distributes/crapifies four models of joysticks that are/were used in fighting game cabinets. Their sticks generally use Cherry-brand microswitches, have a circular range of movement, and have long throws with the microswitches only being activated near the end of the throw. In comparison, Sanwa joysticks have a long throw with sensitive microswitches which makes dashing slightly more difficult imo. Seimitsu joysticks have a short throw with even more sensitive microswitches which is why they are preferred for almost all shmups but the square gates make me prefer Sanwas and Happs for fighters. Happ is also extremely notorious for obtaining manufacturing rights to other sticks (or just buying out the company in the case of Wico) and then somehow inducing many serious production and design flaws that were not present under the original manufactures. The Perfect 360 and the Competition were two excellent sticks that Happ has ruined.
On the Competition manufacturing flaws, Happ use to simply distribute them, iL manufactured them. Now Happ has their own factory in China producing inferior Competition joysticks. However there is a solution! Chad from LizardLickPonyboy/Rollie Electronics now stock IL parts so you can buy slightly better (than the Chinese Happs), squarer Competition joysticks from them.
Competition: The Competition, originally known as the EuroJoystick, is widely considered to be the best Happ stick for fighers that is currently in production. It comes in a multiple colors, has a medium spring , and uses a square actuator to hit the microswitches ( picture of base). If you prefer the harder feel of a Super or p360, then you can replace the medium spring with a heavy one that can be purchased from many retailers including Lizard Lick. The Competition was previously produced for Happ by Industrias Lorenzo, a Spanish firm generally known as IL. Happ has recently taken over production from IL and just as they ruined the p360, they are going to ruin the Comp. Their blunders in this case are improper placing of microswitches and a too large, black actuator. These flaws make the stick seem almost as if it has a square gate installed on one side and an octagonal gate on the other. However unlike the Perfect 360, the can be fixed easily by sanding down the exterior of the microswitches (the white casing, not the red button thing) and by replacing the too large black actuator with the white/clearish looking smaller one that was made by IL. This modification appears to get the nice, circular feeling back. The IL Eurojoysticks use to have a much more “square” feeling than the Happ Competitions that even sanding down the microswitches would not get rid of according to tl613. Now IL sells them with a better version (comparison pic of the Happ switches and the new IL ones thanks to Chad. The old switches can be seen in the pics of the Eurostick on the lizardlick website) of the model of Cherry microswitches Happ uses (the ones with the red activation tabs and .187 inch quick disconnector things) and they feel better.
On the Competition manufacturing flaws, Happ use to simply distribute them, iL manufactured them. Now Happ has their own factory in China producing inferior Competition joysticks. However there is a solution! Chad from LizardLickPonyboy/Rollie Electronics now stock IL parts so you can buy slightly better ( at least more so than the Chinese Happs), SQUARER (not good) Competition joysticks from them. Chad/IL now sells them with a better version of the Cherry Microswitches that Happ uses with .187 inch tabs.
The p360 has the hardest spring of any Happ stick and uses completely silent optical sensors similar to those used in the Sanwa Flash instead of the more common microswitches. It was originally manufactured by Wico as a replacement for their malfunction-prone leaf switch sticks but is now being manufactured by Happ due to Wico’s closure. Unfortunately, the switch brought about a number of severe manufacturing/design flaws such as misaligned diodes and messed up washers. It only comes in black and is generally considered to be the best joystick for Marvel vs. Capcom 2.
Super: The Super, originally known as the Compact joystick, has a hard spring and uses a circular actuator to hit levered microswitches (picture of base) that sometimes make it a bitch to hit diagonals when doing circular motions. Clarification: Not all levered microswitches are “bad.” (Seimitsu and Taeyoung exclusively use levered microswitches and their joysticks are considered to be very good) It is just the ones used in the Happ Super are. An upside to the Super’s “diagonal shortcomings” are that it is excellent (and much better than the competition) for games that only require movement in four directions such as Pac-Man. Like the p360, the Happ version also comes in any color you want as long as it is black but the IL ones come in many colors. The X-arcade and Street Fighter Anniversary joysticks both use shitty knock offs of this stick. The Super is the only joystick that Happ makes with a reasonable build quality. Maybe someone can test other microswitch brands such as OMRON, Matsushita, or Honeywell to see if they improve the performance of the joystick.
Ultimate: The Ultimate is shit. It is has a loose spring, is the least responsive of Happ’s major joysticks, and is incredibly fragile. This awful stick was standard on most arcade cabinets in the early 90s. A wide variety of colors are available but colorful shit usually just means you have food poisoning.
Happ buttons, use Cherry microswitches, fit 1.125" holes, and make a nice “clicky” sound when pressed. They are much sturdier than Japanese buttons but are much less sensitive (which may or may not be a good thing as it makes inputs like 3 punches/kicks much easier for those who whiff them on Japanese buttons). Happ buttons (the non-Ultimate varieties) are, suprisingly for Happ, very well made and come fitted with a microswitch guaranteed to last 10,000,000 activations (Sanwa and Seimitsu buttons are only guaranteed for 1,000,000 presses) and the actual, non-microswitch part of the button is very sturdy with an almost Sanwa level of goodness (much sturdier than Seimitsu buttons which change in feeling/crapify themselves after a few weeks of regular usage. Sanwa and Happ buttons do not do this). If the click sound on the stock Cherry microswitches pisses you off and you still want to stick with American-style buttons, then you can try “Micro-Leaf” (these are MICROSWITCHES, not fucking leaf switches. The name is derived from the fact the the levers on levered microswitches look sort of like leaf switches and they have a quietness and sensitivity much like Sanwa buttons, which to GroovyGameGear’s mostly retro, MAME crowed more resemble leaf switch buttons, which are horrible pieces of shit that a lot of them like for old time’s sake.) from GroovyGameGear. I have not tried these and probably never will but if any of you SRKers want to be my guinea pig then go buy some and report on the results.
Competition Pushbutton**: Happ Competition (convex) Pushbuttons are the standard in American arcade cabinets/sticks. Modeled after Japanese buttons, they have an ergonomic convex surface and activate the horizontally-placed Cherry microswitch directly with the plunger.
Ultimate Pushbutton: Happ Ultimate (concave) Pushbuttons were once standard on American arcade cabinets but have now been almost entirely replaced by competitions. They have a longer throw/engage and feel much stiffer as they use friction to hit to activate a vertically-placed Cherry microswitch instead of having the plunger do it directly. The concave surface also causes most people’s fingers to hurt after prolong play/mashing. Many people prefer these over Competitions due to nostalgia but the “Pushbutton With Horizontal Microswitch” is a massive improvement if you like Ultimates but want the softer spring and quicker engage of the Competitions.
Pushbutton With Horizontal Microswitch: The Pushbutton With Horizontal Microswitch is basically a Competition pushbutton that retains the concave shape and longer throw of the Ultimate. It has the same engage distance and amount of force to activate as the competition according to kowal’s website. If you like the unergonomic shape of concave pushbuttons, then these are your best option.