A few weeks ago whilst browsing eBay, I found a rather cheap but interesting looking USB Arcade control pad for my PC. At only £10 (inc shipping from China) I thought it’s worth a go even if it turns out to be a dud. Sporting ten buttons It’s ideal to use on my PC for MAME, various other computer emulators as well as regular PC titles (My favorite EA Sports NHL franchise being one of them).
About a fortnight after I placed my order, it arrived on Friday and had chance to take a look at it this morning. The package arrived in a jiffy bag rather than boxed and my initial thoughts were it probably wouldn’t have survived the journey especially as the tall joystick sticks out quite a bit. On inspection the joystick did appear to be bent slightly to the the right.
The Gamepad measures 10″ x 5″ giving amble space between joystick and buttons. It’s sits on sucker pads to stop it sliding around the desktop and feels fairly robust despite looking a bit fragile. The joystick feels quite responsive (it reminds me of the classic 80’s Konix Speedking) and clicks slightly when moved although it doesn’t feel like micro-switches have been used. Likewise the buttons look like they could withstand a good pounding but I guess time will tell.
Before I addressed the wonky joystick issue I wanted to check that everything was working o.k. so I attached it to my PC via USB port. There’s no driver software supplied but Windows appeared to detect it o.k. as a ten buttoned joypad. Both joystick and buttons responded well apart from button no.4 which wasn’t registering at all. The top buttons marked ‘Auto’, ‘Turbo’ & ‘Clear’ also weren’t showing in the Gamepad properties.
Time to crack it open and have a good look see – With the rear cover removed, you can see it’s fairly basic inside.
Note the grey thing on the right? It’s some kind of metal paper weight!
Here’s the printed side of the circuit board showing the joystick and button contacts which look and feel similar to laptop keyboard contacts
The joystick is spring loaded at the base and I could see that this wasn’t fitted correctly hence the slight tilt on the joystick.
Here’s a close up of the button undersides. It’s shame micro-switches haven’t been used. Button no.4 wasn’t sitting right but this was easily corrected.
Time to test it out so I reassembled everything, plugged it in again and checked the buttons again. Everything worked o.k. this time so I launched MAME and configured the button mapping. I mapped buttons for start, coin, select, MAME config menu and used the remaining six buttons for gameplay.
I ran though a series of games test from Shmups like 1942, R-Type and Gradius to platformers like Bubble Bobble & New Zealand Story and then on to button mashers like Final Fight and Kung-Fu Master. I’d have so say it performed perfectly – almost like using a real arcade control panel.
Revisitng ‘Dobkeratops’ with my new stick!
Enough of shooters, looking at the underside of the controller proudly declared what it’s designed for!
Time to fire up the some Street Fighter action. I’ve recently brought the latest incarnation Street Fighter (IV) on the PC and haven’t had change to try it yet. Let’s see if my new stick can handle super combos.
Giving a Ken a nice Shoryuken to the chops. I might be out of practise but the stick seems to perform dragon punch and Hadouken fireballs with ease. Even Ex, Super and Ultra moves are completed about 9 out of 10 (again this might be me being out of practise).
Zangeif’s Spinning Piledriver was a little difficult to pull off though having to use a 360 rotational movement.
All in all, I’m quite please with it and for only £10 I can’t fault it. Time will tell if it lasts and my only criticism are the horrible button labels. I think i’ll order one more as a spare and possibly take the buttons into the garage and respray them a different color(s).
Hmm, wonder what that slot on the back could be used for?