Knowing About Joysticks
Rather than talking about a specific arcade game, today we are going to look at what we use to play the games and by that we mean joysticks. We know about a thing or two about joysticks here at DIY Arcade so let’s take a little look back at some of the popular joystick designs that have been used in arcades over the years.
2 Way, 4 Way Or 8 Way Joystick
In the early days of arcade gaming most machines would one of these 2,3 or 4 way joysticks as standard. Although there actually would be a few games that would use just a 2 way arcade stick that would move from left to right, but for the most part it was a digital 4 or 8 way joystick that was used in games. A good example of a game with a 2 way joystick is the arcade game Defender. Where the joystick would only be used to move your spaceship up and down.
4 way joysticks were very common and a game like Pac-Man is best played actually some people will go as far to say that it always should be played with a 4 way joystick only offering up, down, left and right movement. 8 way joysticks would be used for games that allowed for diagonal movement. Games such a scrolling fighting games like The Simpsons or a one on one fighter like Street Fighter II must use a 8 way joystick.
Back in the day it was very common for an arcade to reuse an old arcade cabinet and just swap out the arcade board. So the game would use the same joystick and buttons. Sometimes this could cause a problem for example a game like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles allows for diagonal movement, but a 4 way joystick does not allow this. Using Pac-Man again as an example, when played with a 8 way joystick, Pac-Man can be very hard to control as the game has a hard time when you move from down to left in a circle motion or going from one direction to another. Sometimes an arcade would use these things called restrictor gates. This was most commonly used when putting a 4 way joystick game into a 8 way joystick cabinet and they would prevent the joystick from going in diagonal directions.
East & Western Joystick Differences
There are two main kind of joysticks that are used for arcade machines. In the West the preferred joystick was that of a longer shaft with a baseball bat style top which is referred to as the bat-top joystick. In Japan though they preferred a rounded ball shaped top which is known as the ball-top. It was not uncommon to find ball-top machines in the West, but the preferred style was certainly the bat-top.
Here at DIY Arcade we have a variety of different joysticks for you to customise your home arcade with. No matter if you want a standard, classic looking arcade stick or if you want something a little more “special” such as one of our fun looking illuminated joysticks. No matter what we have that perfect joystick for your arcade, different colours and sizes are available so no matter what your taste we have you covered.