One of the coolest things about gaming, back in the day (that makes me feel old), was the ability to go down to the arcade and play on one of the arcade machines. Being able to hang out together and enjoy games like Street Fighter 2 was awesome. However, as technology has progressed, the whole idea of the arcade has just sort of faded away.

Thankfully, there are those out there who still love the arcade and all of the awesome memories those amazing places created. Specifically, Venom Gaming have created their own Arcade Fight Stick that works for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. However, the big question is whether or not the Arcade Fight Stick lives up to the nostalgia and rose-tinted memories that we all have! So, let’s find out, shall we?

Installation

When it comes to gaming accessories, installation is generally pretty simple; you plug it in and you play with it. That’s typically all there is. However, when it comes to a completely new type of controller (in this card an arcade stick), you expect there to be some installation process of some kind. And there is, with PS4. When it comes to using Venom Gaming’s Arcade Fight Stick with PC and Xbox One, you simply plug it in and go.

However, with the PS4’s recent firmware update, things aren’t quite that simple. They are, however, still simple enough. You need to plug the Arcade Fight Stick into the PS4’s controller using the shorter USB lead that comes with the arcade stick, and then plug the longer (3 metre) cable into the PS4 itself. From there, turn the PS4 on at the console, and press the Home button on the Arcade Fight Stick to get it work. Pretty simple really, and it only takes a few extra seconds. I should also mention that when I did this, it worked first time with no issues whatsoever.

Usability

I think the most important thing to note when it comes to usability is that this is an Arcade Fight Stick. It only has the one joystick, which is perfect for retro gaming and for fighting games (as you’d expect). Just, don’t go off and assume you can use it for the likes of Call of Duty or Deux Ex: Mankind Divided. Games that require a second joystick to control the camera are not what the Arcade Fight Stick is built for!

Instead, the Arcade Fight Stick is built for 2D games, games that only require a single joystick, and of course, fighting games like King of Fighters, Mortal Kombat and Tekken. It also works well with a number of J-RPGs as well, as long as they don’t rely on you controlling the camera with another joystick. For example, it is great for connecting to the PC and playing Final Fantasy VII or FFX, but it wouldn’t work so well for FF15.

Now, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at how easy it is to actually play the right type of games with. The joystick is comfortable in your palm, and very responsive. I didn’t notice any additional delay added when compared with a standard controller for PS4 or PC. In fact, its actually easier to control than a normal gamepad because of the size of it. This goes double for the actual buttons, which are large enough that you simply can’t miss them. Now, it will take a little while for you to get used to the new positions, especially since the shoulder buttons are now the four buttons on the right. But once you’ve got your head around the change, it makes life so much easier!

The fact that you can easily switch between control types, such as analogue or D-Pad, makes the Arcade Fight Stick a very versatile piece of kit. And whilst it may not seem like much, the fact that the Home, Options and Share buttons are all accounted for is a huge bonus. As is the inclusion of a Turbo mode button.

Effectiveness

I guess the effectiveness of the Arcade Fight Stick really comes down to how well you can play the games with it. And as mentioned before, the button layout changes will take some getting used to. However, it won’t take too long before you instinctively press the right button at the right time.

In terms of fighting games and retro games, the Arcade Fight Stick works like a charm. It really makes you feel like your controlling an old arcade machine, so naturally it means that you can pull off the combos and attacks in a very faster and swift manner without worry. On top of that, because Venom Gaming have included all the major aspects of the PS4 and Xbox One controllers, you don’t miss out on anything your respective console can do.

So yeah, all in all the Arcade Fight Stick is very effective at what it is meant to do.

Cost

Now, there are a lot of different arcade sticks out there, ranging in prices. However, for me, quality is just as important as the price. So, when you add that into the mix, the Arcade Fight Stick is a really good bargain at just under £55 from Amazon! You get an awful lot for the price, especially as the Arcade Fight Stick works for three consoles, which is something a lot of the other arcade-style controllers do not give you.

Add to this the fact that the Arcade Fight Stick is strong and durable (my daughter has already tested that for me), and the build quality is really high, and you’ve got a great deal!

And That’s All Folks

All in all, Venom Gaming’s Arcade Fight Stick is an amazing piece of kit that, as long as you are using it for the type of games it was designed for, works amazing well. It is built like a Nokia 3310, durable enough to withstand a 2 year old! The controls are responsive and easy to access, allowing you to swiftly move between the buttons. This, in turn, means that it is far easier to pull off all the different combos within fighting games.

Another great aspect of the Arcade Fight Stick is the inclusion of all the main fucntions of the different consoles’ controllers. The ability to instantly switch between platform settings (PC, PS4 and Xbox One) is a great touch as well.

If you’re wondering what to buy someone for Christmas, or just want to get a controller perfectly suited for both modern and retro gaming, then you can’t really go wrong with Venom Gaming’s Arcade Fight Stick. It is now one of my favourite gaming accessories that I have ever owned!

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