Are fightsticks worth it and better than controllers? Why so expensive?

As someone who has spent countless hours trying to master the art of fighting games, I’ve always been on the hunt for that extra edge to take my game to the next level. Fightsticks, or arcade sticks, are often brought up as the go-to choice for fighting game enthusiasts. So the big question is, are they worth it, and are they truly better than traditional controllers?

My Experience with Fightsticks vs. Controllers

When I first got my hands on a fightstick, it felt like I had been thrown into a whole new world ;-). The large buttons and joystick felt strange compared to the compact design of a standard controller. But after getting used to it, I found that fightsticks offer a level of precision and freedom that’s hard to match with a controller’s thumbsticks and smaller buttons.

For fighting games that require quick, complex input combinations, a fightstick provided me with more room to work with and made it easier for me to pull off those moves. The likelihood of accidentally pressing the wrong button decreased, making me feel more in control of my gameplay.

Mayflash or 8bitdo

But still, it all comes down to a personal preference. Also, not all games feel great with a fightstick. I’d suggest to try a cheap fightstick like Mayflash and just try it and if you don’t like it you can always return it.

The High Cost of Fightsticks

Fightsticks can be expensive, and it led me to question if they were worth the investment. What makes them so pricey?

Fightsticks are built with high-quality components like Sanwa or Seimitsu parts, which are renowned for their durability and responsiveness. These parts are also used in real arcade machines, known for enduring intense play. So when you invest in a good fightstick, you’re paying for something that could last you a lifetime if properly cared for. The performance and lifespan of these components justify the higher costs.

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Are Fightsticks Better Than Controllers?

Now, are fightsticks categorically better than controllers? From my experience, it depends on your playstyle and the game itself. Some games like Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter might feel more intuitive on a controller, and some players, such as the famous SonicFox, have proven that you can be a champion with a controller in hand.

But if we’re talking strict input efficiency and the intent behind the design of most fighting games, fightsticks have a noticeable advantage. They’re built for the genre.

So, Is It Worth Switching?

If you’re a serious fighting game enthusiast who’s looking for that authentic arcade experience, then yes, a fightstick might be worth the switch. It’s a long-term investment in both your gaming setup and skills.

For those who might be interested but are wary of the cost, starting with a cheaper model or even a mid-range fightpad could be a good middle ground. You might also consider building or modifying a fightstick, which can be both a fun project and a cost-saving option.


Ultimately, whether fightsticks are worth it comes down to personal preference and commitment to fighting games. High-quality fightsticks are expensive, but they offer durability and a gameplay experience that a regular controller might not match. Would I recommend trying one? Absolutely. It might not make you a better player overnight, but it could make your gaming experience more enjoyable and engaging. Just be prepared for a learning curve and some initial frustration while you get accustomed to the new setup! Remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and finding the right tool that enhances that fun for you.

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Marcus Richardson

I love testing and writing about new tech. I'm also a gamer and an engineer. Check out my Twitter for keyboard stuff.

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