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Choose Your Weapon: Gamepad VS Arcade Sticks

Choose Your Weapon: Gamepad VS Arcade Sticks

by Aiman MaulanaMay 7, 2019
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Choose Your Weapon: Gamepad VS Arcade Sticks

Choose Your Weapon: Gamepad VS Arcade Sticks

If you clicked on this then chances are that you are someone who finds joy in playing fighting games. I’m sure many of you have seen various professionals especially top tier Esports players using arcade sticks instead of the traditional gamepads. This would inevitably lead to you thinking if an arcade stick could take your gameplay to the next level.

Today, we are going to briefly explore whether it’s worth going for arcade sticks or if a gamepad is the way to go.


DualShock 4 controller new colours colors

Midnight Blue

Gamepads are one of the most common gaming peripherals around, right beside the mouse and keyboard combo. While there is a good variety of gamepads today with varying designs, most of the ones in the modern era will have a number of things in common. You have your handle grips, analog sticks (left and right), directional pad, shoulder buttons, and the main action buttons.The two most common gamepads which fit these criteria in the current generation is the DualShock 4 and the Xbox One controller.

The first major benefit of gamepads would be convenience. It’s small, easy to use, and also easy to bring around. This would be especially helpful if you tend to travel around a lot as it’s easier to just place it in your bag and not have it take up so much space or weigh you down much. From an industry perspective, it’s also the easiest to buy as it’s very common.

The second benefit here is universal compatibility with all game genres. What I mean here is that a gamepad would work well on all types of games. Fighting, sports, simulators, shooters, adventure, role-playing game, anything.

Choose Your Weapon: Gamepad VS Arcade Sticks 21

The third benefit is comfort. You can essentially game in any condition with gamepads. You can comfortably game from your couch, on the floor, upside down on a chair if you’d like and it will still work fine. Of course, your range will be limited by how far the wireless signal can go or how long the cable length is. The likes of arcade sticks and mouse / keyboard combo is dependent on a surface for it to be placed on.

One downside to gamepads is that while it’s a jack of all trades, it doesn’t highly excel in a particular area. It will do good enough for virtually everyone but there are better options for specific games.

Arcade Sticks

Razer Panthera Arcade Stick Review

The most popular option for avid fighting game enthusiasts, the arcade stick (fight stick) is designed to be similar to the control device used in arcade cabinets. It’s a good choice for fighting games due to the required inputs you need to make for certain attacks.

The first benefit of using arcade sticks is speed. The buttons are designed with short travel distance and quicker actuation. Meaning here that you can execute actions faster than you would on a gamepad. Most people won’t notice this until they’re forced to execute a time-sensitive command. My best example would be Tekken’s Electric Wind God Fist for the Mishimas. Even a small timing difference would turn it into a regular Wind God Fist.

Razer Panthera Arcade Stick Review

The second benefit here is movement. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given the huge joystick but it’s mostly beneficial for fighting games. It’s easier to move using that over the analog stick and the d-pad on the gamepad in terms of precision and speed. Especially for commands with quarter-circle forwards or similar movements such as for Ryu’s Hadouken / Tatsumaki / Shoryuken in Street Fighter, it’s easier to do with the big joystick.

Razer Panthera Arcade Stick Review

The third benefit is button placement. The button layout for arcade sticks, coupled together with its large size, makes it easier to reach multiple buttons quickly and efficiently. The button layout also makes sense if you think about it. The top buttons are usually for punches while the lower buttons are for kicks. In the case of Tekken, Button 1 and 2 (from top left of the layout) represents the left arm and right, while Button 3 and 4 (right below 1 and 2) represents the left leg and right leg.

One downside for arcade sticks would be its bulk. The sheer size and weight of it will make it tough to bring around. You’re gonna need a big bag, or a separate bag, just to carry it around while a gamepad is easier to chuck inside any of your bags. While some fight sticks aren’t really heavy, the sheer size of it alone makes it a cumbersome chore.


In truth, there’s no true better option in this case. Even if you’re focusing solely on fighting games, it ultimately boils down to which one you have more experience with. In some cases, certain characters in fighting games may work better for you on a gamepad than it would with arcade sticks.

If you do end up moving to a new gamepad or even an arcade stick, don’t expect your gameplay to be instantaneously better. It will take some time for you to get accustomed to it, and you will then start to see the benefits and weaknesses. The best way to figure out which side to choose from is to identify your needs when it comes to gaming.

We might just be doing more peripheral comparison in the future, right here on Let us know what you think and if this has helped you out.

If you’re looking for an arcade stick, the Razer Panthera Evo is a solid choice. Check out our in-depth review of it by clicking right here.

About The Author
Aiman Maulana
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. YouTuber, video editor, tech head, and a wizard of gaming. What's up? :)

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