by Michael Deneen, freelancer
Go to any fighting game tournament or watch events like EVO and you’re bound to see at least 90 percent of the participants using an arcade stick instead of a controller. While the argument rages on as to whether modern fighting games are better suited for arcade sticks or regular controllers, it’s worth noting many genre favorites were originally programmed onto arcade machines controlled by arcade sticks.
The Genius F-1000 Arcade Stick is a quality gaming stick that allows consumers to experience that professional level of control with fighting and arcade games while sticking within a reasonable budget. Coming in at a MSRP of $60, this arcade stick packs a punch with its array of 15 buttons, a one-meter USB extender, and a nice sturdy design that will fit comfortably in your lap without causing hand discomfort.
The F-1000 is a standard-size model unlike the gargantuan variety you usually see packaged in deluxe editions of the most popular fighting games. In contrast, the F-100 is comparable to the arcade sticks packaged with games like WWE All Stars. A key difference, however, is that the Genius model comes with about 15 buttons, including your regular fight stick mapping of the standard eight buttons, plus L3 and R3 substitutes, a PS button, a Turbo button, and a mode button. Genius has even made little shapes by the button labels for those who recognize button location by symbols. Unlike some arcade sticks, the Genius F-1000 has all of its buttons on the top, placing none on the sides. The only downside of the unit’s design might be the awfully corny lightning bolt on the surface of this device.
I tested this device out with a friend who brought over his fight stick that came with Street Fighter X Tekken, just to see the differences between the two. We tested the Genius F-1000 while playing Injustice: Gods Among Us, Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Street Fighter X Tekken, Street Fighter 4, and Virtua Fighter 5. Almost all of these games were more enjoyable while using the arcade stick, though Virtua Fighter 5 was a little finicky. Getting the stick to work with the game required a bit of fidgeting with the mode button. For some reason, it didn’t instantly pair with the PlayStation 3 the way a controller would.
All around, the Genius F-1000 performed fantastically. The stick itself moves in all eight core directions rather smoothly. The arcade stick ball was sized just right; it wasn’t uncomfortably big, but it didn’t get lost in my hand either. Meanwhile, the buttons themselves were noisy upon pressing, mashing, and bashing, but that’s to be expected with any arcade device. The device worked as advertised, being totally responsive to all commands given.
Indeed, the F-1000 performs well for more than just fighting games. I also tried it with NFL Blitz and was shocked at how nice it felt. I don’t expect I’d have the same experience playing a more complex sports title (say, Madden), but any arcade-style game, from Golden Axe to a host of PSN titles, will translate nicely using this arcade stick.
The F-1000 is also a durable unit, with a fixed metal plate on the bottom. While lightweight, the unit fit perfectly on my lap. However, the F-1000 is also rather thick. Its width doesn’t detract from anything in terms of gameplay, but it does give one a sense that the F-1000 is rather durable, possibly being able to withstand a good pounding from a player and a subsequent tossing from a rage quit.
The price point on this thing is also something to consider. As stated earlier, it retails for about $60, though a search online shows where it can be found for as low as $40. It’s a pretty comparable price point, being priced right around the same as other arcade sticks of its size and caliber. It also works on your PC, which is a godsend for those playing arcade games on Steam or running MAME machines. Still, no word on whether the F-1000 will be compatible with PlayStation 4.
The Genius F-1000 Gaming Arcade Stick is a spectacular device and a must-have for any fan of the fighting genre. While PS4’s arrival is looming, we should expect Sony will support PS3 for a good while, as they’ve done with all other consoles beforehand. Any gamer looking to enhance his or her fighting game experience, or those just looking to emulate that old school arcade feel with quality hardware, should consider picking up this controller. Its durable design, impressive array of buttons, and reliable functionality ensure precise control for modern fighting enthusiasts and those just looking to jam out like its 1985.