I don’t use fight sticks very often, but I do like just about everything that 8BitDo makes. So when the company sent over the 8BitDo Arcade Stick, I was happy to give it a look. It’s available now for $90 on Amazon, and it’s a great way to bring some arcade flavor into your home whether you’re playing on Nintendo Switch or a PC.
As a stick, the 8BitDo plays great. It has the big pushy buttons and ball-style joystick that you’ve likely used on arcade cabinets before. At $90, this is not trying to sweep in and take over the high-end arcade-stick market. If you need a stick to compete in tournaments, you’ll likely continue customizing your own controller for that purpose. The 8BitDo Arcade Stick instead offers a really solid and smart entry point into this world for people who do a lot of gaming on Switch or PC and want something wireless and convenient but also different.
And 8BitDo built the Arcade Stick around this idea. The company thought out the design of the controller and built something smart and convenient. This includes big switches that set the Arcade Stick to Switch mode, X-input for Xbox and PC, or off. The labels on the controller even light up and change depending on what mode you use since Nintendo and Xbox use a different button layout.
Above: Dynamic buttons.
Image Credit: 8Bitdo
Another dial changes whether the joystick maps to the left stick, right stick, or D-pad inputs.
The convenient design goes even further. You can attach a cable in a tiny bay on the back of the Arcade Stick, or you can connect over Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is too laggy for you, however, the cable bay also houses a USB dongle that connects the controller over a direct 2.4GHz radio connection.
The 8BitDo Arcade Stick is easy to love
You don’t need an 8Bitdo Arcade Stick, but I really do enjoy using it. Of course, it’s wonderful for fighting games like Street Fighter. I used it with the Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection on Switch. But then I also played arcade-style games like Streets of Rage 4 and Metal Slug, and that was just as fun.
The 8BitDo works so well for these kinds of experiences because it’s wireless. You don’t need to string a cord across your family room to have some arcade excitement. And the 30-plus hours of battery life will ensure that the controller is almost ready to go when you are.
Finally, 8BitDo’s Ultimate Software works with the Arcade Stick, and this enables you to customize the button mapping. You can also assign two button-sequence inputs to the P1 and P2 macro buttons. This’ll make it easy to pull off difficult combos at the press of a button.
This makes the controller easy to recommend. And it’s potentially the ideal gift for the Nintendo Switch fan in your life who has everything else.
The 8BitDo Arcade Stick is available now for $90. The company sent GamesBeat a review sample for the purpose of our coverage.