Supple Think: Beating the hell out of your ‘stick.

Beating the hell out of your ‘stick.

by alzabo

Posted on Sunday, July 22, 2007
Labels: , , , ,

I love arcade games.

When I was younger and living in Japan I would spend an absurd amount of time in the game centers near my High School in Kobe playing vs. fighting and puzzle games. My obsession with arcade games only grew upon returning to Seattle. I bought arcade sticks for home and used them until they were as floppy as a dead dog’s dick and the buttons were less responsive than a Neo cab you’d find in a coin laundry. 100% accuracy is essential for playing well and I would often suffer from sudden flashes of internal rage when my combos would not come out on my busted ‘sticks or at an arcade. I wanted to buy a Japanese Arcade stick made by Hori, but they were expensive and hard to come by locally at that time, so I decided to build one myself. 5 years ago I created an awesome replica of a Sega Astro City control panel, it has Sanwa controls and a comfortable layout that allows for hours of combos and parries. It still works flawlessly today and has travelled to many tournaments with me.

It turns out that my decision of years ago to build my own arcade stick instead of buying a Japanese Hori ‘stick was an excellent decision. Today I attempted to repair my friend Tweak’s two ‘sticks, the first one was a Hori, a 6-button Soul Caliber 2 stick from 2003. It had an obvious patina of love, as the finish had been rubbed off a good portion of the controller and the cord was knotted internally from being wrapped around the controllers over 1000 times over the last 4+ years. The problem was an intermittent connection problem that was caused by a knotted cord that had partially exposed wiring. Once inside the controller, I was horrified. The PCB for the ‘stick was hard soldered to the buttons, making removal of parts or service of the controller physically impossible; despite having buttons and parts that were designed to be replaced by arcade operators in a matter of minutes . Unfortunately, the stick’s cord was even more poorly manufactured, upon vivisection of the cord I discovered that the individual wires were not bundles of 22 or 24 gauge wire, but 6 strands of hair thin copper wrapped around a central nylon strand. I wasted two hours of my life attempting to resurrect the stick, there simply wasn’t enough copper there to make a good contact with butt-end connectors and soldering was impossible because of the nylon. Fuck you Hori, I hope you all die in a fire. Hopefully that fire will be at your company. Maybe it’ll happen when you’re all in an all night meeting discussing what shitty design to put on your next derivative fighting game tie-in controller.

The other stick Tweak brought for repair was the Street Fighter Anniversary Stick. I have dumped on this ‘stick publicly before, decrying it’s lack of accuracy and crappy knock-off buttons (Happ Controls they are not). Tweak complained of not being able to “shoto-sweep”. So I opened the stick up expecting something even worse than what I’d seen inside the Hori, I girded myself for a sea of parts connected to a rats next of daisy chained wiring floating in epoxy or maybe an aborted human fetus. Instead, a sensible layout with connectors that were exactly the same as the inside of a JAMMA cabinet greeted me. There were clearly marked and exposed button’s that are replaceable with high quality brand name parts, buttons connected to PCB’s by 22 gauge wire and spade connectors instead of solder. It was exactly like the inside of my Neo Geo MVS cabinet! Fixing his broken roundhouse button was as easy as plugging in a spade connector that had worked itself loose over the last several years.

In the end, today’s experience humbled me. I permanently lost respect for Hori and gained a lot of respect for who ever made the SF anniversary stick (even if it’s buttons are crappy, they can be swapped by even the most spastic person). I need to get my hands on one, if only so I can use the cool tiny PCB for building a more visually impressive and accurate arcade stick.

Article Permalink



Decide Weapons

[Supple Think]

...and luck

© Supple Think. Powered by Blogger.