The arcade joystick can be considered one of the most important pieces of equipment for an arcade gamer. This is because it determines your comfort level when playing a game, with each stick having its unique feel that you will have to learn to master.
So before purchasing one, below are things for you to know so you would know if it is worth buying or not.
1) Durability over comfort
One of the reasons why arcade sticks are not as popular as their console counterparts is that they tend to wear out easily. This is because of how they are manufactured, with more emphasis on durability rather than comfort. In most cases, this means very hard and stiff buttons which do not feel soft to press at all and usually have no mechanism for button inputs.
2) Type of control panel assembly
Another thing you want to consider is the type of control panel assembly used in your arcade joystick. This refers to how the joystick and buttons were assembled and are very important in comfort and durability.
3) Availability in your preferred location or country
The next thing you need to look out for is whether it will be available where you live at all, given that some arcade equipment dealers do not ship to certain countries. Suppose you have a local arcade store that sells these. In that case, it is a great opportunity for you to buy directly from them, as they may be willing to offer a good deal for their equipment, and having been locally sourced will also mean you can go back there if anything goes wrong with your arcade stick.
4) Availability of replacement parts
It is also important to check on the availability of replacement parts before buying an arcade stick since it cannot be used indefinitely without eventually breaking down at some point. You will need to know where these parts are available so you can easily get replacements when needed.
5) Build quality and consistency
This refers to how well the joystick and buttons were made, with each component being properly constructed and made from high-quality materials. It also refers to how consistent each part is with other parts of the same type (i.e., joystick handling and response consistency). Each arcade stick will have an upper build quality limit at which they were built to perform best, so you need to know what this limit is so you would be able to decide whether a given stick would fit your needs or not.
6) Type/brand/quality of buttons used
The last thing you need to look out for when buying arcade sticks is the type of buttons used in your joystick, as these can determine its overall performance and how much work you have to do before being able to fully master the stick. In general terms, most arcade sticks will come with either Sanwa or Seimitsu buttons, and it is really up to you to decide which brand you prefer.
7) Price point versus overall performance
The last thing you want to look out for when buying an arcade stick would be its price point since not all arcade sticks are made equal, with some being prohibitively expensive due to adding features that aren’t useful at all. In contrast, others undervalue the components they used in their construction. You would need a “sweet spot” where the best balance of price and performance is achieved from your joystick before making your purchase, knowing full well that there is no such thing as a perfect one-stick solution for everyone’s needs.