10 years ago, I introduced myself through a list of 25 Things About Me as a Gamer. As of today, with over 2,000 posts in the chamber, you probably already know way more about me as a gamer than you care to take in. But if you’re just tuning in, or if you want a Coles notes update to how I’ve grown since I wrote the first list, here you go!
Best known for their popular TE line of premium arcade fightsticks, Mad Catz jumps into the entry-level market with the Fightstick Alpha. Contained in a small shell with a price tag to match, Mad Catz hopes that this product can provide fighting game players with the experience of using a fightstick without breaking the bank. Is this the starter fightstick for you?
My history with Hori fightsticks has been spotty at best. I’ve owned four of their entry-level level controllers; two of which broke within a matter of hours, and a third where the joystick wore down with no easy way of fixing it. That being said, durability is not a strong suit of any cheap fightstick from any manufacturer.
Though I have noodled with one of their higher-end fightsticks in the past, the Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai is my first extensive experience with a high-end Hori product. Does this have what it takes to wash away my negative perceptions of the brand? Better yet, can this stick hold its own against the TE line of Mad Catz products?
With Street Fighter V now out in the wild, you might be in the market for a fightstick. The decision on which one to invest in is usually a tough one to make, as they’re usually expensive and hard to find. On top of all that, if you’ve never used a fightstick before, there’s a real concern that you might hate it, regardless of how good the fightstick is. Hopefully, I can make your decision a bit easier with a few tips on what to look for, what to avoid, and make some recommendations on what you could buy and be happy with today.
Sporting a new and improved d-pad, The Xbox One controller is the most viable Microsoft controller for fighting games yet. However, for those who would prefer to fight the old-fashioned way, Mad Catz has you covered. If this was simply a standard Mad Catz Tournament Edition fightstick with new art, that would be great. However, they’ve gone the extra mile to evolve this fightstick to the point where this is their best one yet.
(Regular button not pictured above. They look identical to the regular ones, so I used a regular button picture instead)
The clicking, and clacking of an arcade fightstick is music to my ears. However, as I’ve come to learn in my few months of living in a condo, not everyone agrees with this sentiment. Because my gaming setup is in the living room, my girlfriend has been subjected to the noise far more than she’d like, to the point where it drove her nuts. Though I love me some fighting games, I genuinely love my girlfriend more. As a means of not driving her insane, I’d either reserve my fighting game time to moments when she’s not around, or asking for permission before playing; neither of which are ideal.
Luckily for me, Sanwa has released a new line of quiet buttons, and joysticks to alleviate the noise. Though the joysticks were prohibitively expensive ($80 each, which is roughly 4x the price of a regular joystick), I did buy two sets of quiet buttons to use on my XBOX 360, and PlayStation 3 fightsticks. Are these buttons able to maintain their signature feel, and durability, while reducing the noise?
Over the last few years, Mad Catz and Hori have done an excellent job of creating high-quality fightsticks. However, as officially licensed peripheral makers, neither company can provide a fightstick that supports all major platforms out of the box. It sucks to be in a situation where you’ve spent a large chunk of change on an XBOX 360 fightstick and your friends bought the latest fighting game on PlayStation 3. Or when you want to play in an XBOX 360 tournament when you only have a PlayStation 3 fightstick. To get around this, you can try your hand at modding your fightstick. Or you can try your out a sketchy adapter which could be obsolete with the next console patch. Or you could do what I’ve done to date, which is buy a high-quality fightstick for each system I play fighting games on. Regardless of the route you choose, the answer usually isn’t cheap or technically stable.
Aiming to address this need, the Qanba Q4 RAF is built to work on the XBOX 360, PlayStation 3 and PC right out of the box. For avid tournament goers or gamers who often play on different systems, having one fightstick that supports all platforms is truly a blessing. But does it work as advertised? And does the rest of this fightstick from an unknown manufacturer stack up with the best from Mad Catz and Hori?
The Qanba Q4 RAF is one of the most sought-after fightsticks on the market for its ability to work with the XBOX 360, PlayStation 3 and PC right out of the box. If you have fighting games across multiple systems or regularly play in tournaments, then having just one fightstick that works with everything sounds a lot better buying multiple fightsticks to do the same thing. However, because of that key feature, this fightstick isn’t licensed by Sony or Microsoft, which means you’ll never be able to buy this at a regular store. Even tracking these down online isn’t necessarily an easy task, as the few online retailers that carry it are often sold out.
Luckily for me, I was able to purchase one at a tournament I was recently at. Let’s open this bad boy up together.
I’ve spent a lot of time talking about fightsticks on my blog. Most of the conversation revolves around the Mad Catz TE (which I love) and the Hori line of fightsticks (which I’ve had mediocre experiences with outside of the V3-SA). However, there’s one particular brand of fighstick I haven’t talked about, which is Qanba. I don’t really know much about the brand, but I’ve seen a number of positive things about their Q4 RAF. What makes it so special?
I am far from a handyman. Fixing things has never been a strong suit of mine, nor has my track record with fixing video game hardware been positive. So when my RT button broke on my Mad Catz TE, I dreaded the thought of myself trying to (and ultimately failing at) fixing it. Regardless of my lack of handyman skills and my desire to throw money at the problem to make it go away, the fastest, cost-effective and logical solution was to fix it myself.
While there are a ton of other, better guides online to show you how to handle this procedure, I thought I’d document my own experience in hopes of providing insight to you if you’re also scared of modding the buttons on your Mad Catz TE yourself.