What do you guys think of low cost / (cheap?) arcade sticks?

Hi. I’ve been playing Streetfighter IV with a gamepad on my Notebook for quite some time now and I think I’ve reached the point where I am ready to try out an arcade stick. With my Saitek P990 gamepad I just cant manage to get the right move out when I need it and that’s really bugging me. However I dont want to spend over 100 Euros on that Madcatz Stick or even 70 Dollars on a selfmade one since that’s too much money right now, but intend to try out one of those cheap ones on Ebay. So I wanted to ask: -

  • Have you ever used such a stick?
  • Is that a really bad choice to buy one or are those still better than my gamepad?
  • Would you suggest something else?

NEW PC LAPTOP USB Arcade Joy Stick vibration Controller - eBay (item 320539695734 end time Aug-25-10 20:54:21 PDT)

2 in 1 USB Real Arcade Stick Joystick for PS2 Console - eBay (item 270504503175 end time Aug-17-10 23:12:53 PDT)

Thank you.

you will most certainly get what you pay for.

If you were talking low cost like a Hori with no Sanwa parts, or a Mad Catz SE stick, then I’d say fine, you get what you pay for.

But those sticks are absolute shit. Pure, unadulterated shit. They WILL fall apart, they WILL drop inputs, they WILL crunch and munch when you push the buttons or move the stick. A gamepad is likely going to be better than those sticks (unless you bought a 5$ gamepad, in which case you just need to stop being a cheap ass).

If you really are interested in arcade games then do yourself a favor and get a Mad Catz TE stick for 100 Euros. It’s just the cost of 2 or 3 games, and you will be able to use it to enjoy hundreds of games (you can easily use it for PC to play all sorts of emulated arcade goodness, on top of the 360’s titles that fit an arcade stick well). I was once like you, trying to scrimp on the cheapest stick possible. But then I spent that extra money on my first really good stick, and now I’ve easily spent over 800$ on sticks.

Keep in mind that sticks have very good resale value. If you get bored of it in a year, you can resell it for like 10 Euros off no problem. I’ve bought and resold at least 6 or 7 sticks when I was trying to find my favorite ones, and I broke even on most of them, and even came out with a slight profit on others. Just take the plunge mate.


dont screw yourself over, its pretty much what clembo said.

get a stick that has buttons which are about 30mm in size. You’ll regret your purchase as soon as you get any of the ones your purchase.


especially the 2nd one you posted. Hell the left and right analog stick was like mapped to the buttons themselves giving you awkward moments.

If you wanted something budget minded, the SE cases go for 25 to 35 USD in the trading outlet, and parts would be another 20 or so, maybe trade some old games to get the parts or cash.

if you’re asking the opinion of this forum, those two items are a joke, even to members who joined in 2k10.

I think those belong here:


What makes a good stick is good parts (buttons/joystick).

Good parts aren’t cheap.

Cheap sticks don’t have good parts.

A stick without good parts is not a good stick.

They are cruel incarnate bastards that are poorly made for the best buck to deceive anyone who dare spend little money on them.

The best investment is the one that you only have to buy once. You can “deal” with a crappy stick starting out, but when you’re used to playing on a stick, you will absolutely hate it. The first stick I bought was $40. I regretted it HARD in a few weeks because I was so used to playing in an arcade.

save up your money & get a quality joystick(TE). not always in life(but in the case of joysticks), but you get what you pay for. you won’t regret it.

You will regret it. I’ve bought like 5 crappy sticks because back in the day that was all that was available. I’ve thrown them all away or donated them to goodwill because they always break and there are no replacement parts. You should really buy an SE. Also for PC a good alternative is a cheapo saturn USB pad. I don’t know if you can get those in europe.

I suggest also checking out arcadeshop.de and making a stick out of a food container over buying a cheap stick. get a Dual Strike pcb from arcadeforge.de

If you must pick between the two, the second stick looks like a more stable stick, but the small footprint might be inadequate.

Seconded this.

Try this
PC PS2/3 XBOX 360 Arcade Joystick Wireless Controller - eBay (item 320536363110 end time Aug-19-10 02:40:10 PDT)

Its the least you can do I think, look around I got it for 30 euros last year. Its a pretty decent stick for the price.