Stick it to The Man

You may recall that we featured the Dreamcast Arcade stick here at the 'Yard several months ago when Robert showcased his rather excellent self-modded unit (also pictured below). Being relatively blasé about the library of outstanding 2D fighters on the Dreamcast until fairly recently, I never really thought too much about acquiring a stick for my own collection - I saw one at a recent games expo but the seller wanted a small fortune for it so I passed it up (and it was in pretty poor condition, too). Since then though, I have seen the error of my ways and have been amassing a fairly impressive catalogue of Capcom, SNK and Sammy beat 'em ups and so thought it was about time I took the plunge and got hold of an arcade stick with which to fully appreciate these masterpieces of virtual combat.
I looked to eBay first, but was offended by the outrageous prices on display there. I later saw an Arcade Stick advertised as part of a console bundle on a free ads website but the seller wasn't prepared to sell the stick without the console (and had been harassed by several others before me, it turned out). This weekend though, I visited the city of Exeter and happened across a dedicated retro-gaming shop called Critical Mass Games & Manga. Inside, the small but nicely laid-out store was full to the rafters with games, consoles and peripherals from all eras of gaming...and the best bit was that there wasn't an over-inflated eBay price in sight. I found a plastic bucket full of £1 cartridges (from which I salvaged a couple of carts - Afterburner for the Master System and Super Hang-On for the Mega Drive) and also spotted a copy of Power Drift for the NTSC-J Saturn (which cost me the princely sum of £4). The whole point of this post though, is that I also stumbled across this:
Yes, an official Arcade Stick - priced at a very reasonable £34.99 and in fantastic condition. As soon as I saw it, I pretty much knew I wasn't going to be leaving the store without it...so I just bit the bullet and handed over my debit card. As you can see from the shots, it's a totally un-modded standard unit but to be fair that's fine for me. I'm hardly a hardcore 2D fighting fan, but the thing is a revelation when playing King Of Fighters, Guilty Gear, Mark of the Wolves or any of the other fighters I've recently dug up. The stick feels nice and solid (and makes a reassuringly audible 'click' as you move it around) and the large face buttons are perfectly laid out; and there's a slot for a VMU and a start button too. I haven't tried slotting a rumble pack in there yet, and I'm yet to see if the stick actually works with any other types of game (I can't imagine Incoming or UEFA Dream Soccer being much fun with it though!), but for the fighters I've tried it with so far, it's perfect.

Edit: Of course, if you're not lucky enough to find an Arcade Stick for a reasonable price in the wild, you could always just build your own...?

8 comments:

CD ageS said...

I can't imagine being too bad on UEFA. The stick's perfect for Virtua Striker 2, Sports Jam, Blitz 00/01, NBA Showtime ;)

Hardak said...

Or you could've bit the bullet like I did and just made your own:
http://www.theisozone.com/blogs/gaming-misc/how-i-made-a-ghetto-arcade-fight-stick-for-the-sega-dreamcast/

Tom Charnock said...

Well, as I said - I'm not a massive fan of the 2D fighting genre so I wasn't really fussed about getting a stick until I saw that one for a reasonable price. Still, that Ghetto Stick is very cool - good work! I'll put a link in the main article :)

Robert Bishop said...

I'm thinking about splashing out on one but I would only use it for soul calibur and dead or alive 2, what's it like for those games?

Aaron said...

Huh. I never thought of using this stick for arcade sports game, though I don't have any of them.

CD ageS said...

R. Bishop: its good! DoA2 and Soul Calibur both come from the arcade so its a given that they work well with arcade sticks ;)

Hardak said...

Thanx for the exposure Tom! That was really cool of you to do.

Tom Charnock said...

No problem - happy to be of some help :)