Hyperkin KO Universal Fight Stick By:Alan Orange

Hyperkin KO Fighting Stick (Playstation 2 , 3, and PC)

Hi, I’m Alan. Heres a lot of words on this and that.

I grew up with visits to the arcade. My grade school pals, and I would spend each others birthday’s at arcades. Mowing through tokens on classics like X-Men: The Arcade Game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter. I know its hard to tell, but the market for arcade gaming was huge in the united states. The cabinets usually displayed some of the most advanced programming for audio and visual presentation and lured flocks into tightly nit and dimly lit pool halls turned coin operated gaming rooms .
The atmosphere of an arcade sets the tone of a true arcade experience. But a big chunk of what is happening inside the arcade is your weapon, the joystick panel of the cabinet that your wrestling with, shifting like some sort modified manual geared street racing/rum running vehicle. For the most part you can pound those pushbuttons to a pulp. These cabinets are built to handle abuse (luckily, for the legion of button mashing world record holders of classic arcades games such as; Galaga, Astroids, Centipede, 1942, Donkey Kong, and Ghost & Goblins)
The classic machines taunt you with almost insane difficulty at higher levels requiring world class reaction speed and timing. Especially. approaching a memory data run-off known in the championship arcade arena as a “Kill Screen”. Essentially playing the game to its limits of its CPU capacity. A Donkey Kong kill screen is featured in the epic documentary; The King Of Kong: A Fistful Of Quarters. For any experienced arcade player you know what to expect from a joystick controller. It was Capcom’s Street Fighter franchise that kept the arcade alive for the better part of the nineties, along with the Tekken franchise. Its the only arcade spawn left in today’s high tech home console world. So people are still making and buying these sticks.
Fighting games seemed to be tailor made for a arcade atmosphere. Seeing it as though the competitive nature of the arcade that’s existed since the birth of the idea, is more concentrated and pulled directly into focus in the fighting game genre. Two individuals investing time and money on a machine to compete to see who’s the best. It just seems to put more excitement into the experience. These days the internet replicates a similar environment but its not as human or as intense as being in public and actually around someone seeing it “go down”. Also, very few people even understood the mechanics of the boards of the cabinets, so no patch, or file hacking going on in a arcade. Enough of that, you get it, On to the stick.

I got this for Christmas. I always wanted a stick since I was a kid in the arcade. The fact that its compatible with three different platforms is a victory for the stick itself(the more expensive builds are only built for one specific platform, but you can purchase inexpensive adapters for pretty much any system). The patent for this particular design is pending as indicated by the multitude of different companies branding it. Just Google Universal Fight Stick. Here’s a run through of its details.

*8 mounted to PCB push-buttons
*Square gate restricted micro-switch activated joystick (Cherry Ball Top)
(One of the major benefits of joystick analog controls is the ability to rotate and perform intricate movements for your character on screen. Useful for one on one brawls in Tekken or Street Fighter as an example. Most folks prefer the octagonal restriction for even more precision (joystick space) as featured on Capcom’s machines.)
*The Plug n Play USB works as advertised and works extremely well with my emulators.
I highly suggest that(when you do fire up emulators with your stick) you give Castlevania 4 a shot , it works incredibly well. Since you can hold and rotate your whip to vanquish the creatures of the night. It adds a new exciting dimension to the game. Donkey Kong 94’ for the gameboy is a legit underdog contender for one of the greatest handheld titles of all time. The actual sequel to the arcade franchise Donkey Kong. Featured the first 4 levels of the original and then it becomes something more unique than its original cousin. it’s a fast paced Mario game that requires skill in plat forming, and puzzle solving.
*USB & PS2 on one cable

Again, the controls with the stick and whatever layout you choose to use with your emulator, responds as well as you want it. And it surprisingly feels close enough to an arcade.
For a beginners stick, its well made, and has the features that warrant a $25 price tag. The unit has a bit of weight to it thanks to a small slab of metal at the base housed in a durable plastic case. (Good to rest on your lap)
This stick doesn’t feature the high end Japanese Sanwa stock parts(most sticks of that nature are in the range of 80-300 dollars and are built to the t as the joystick panels on a cabinet), so the KO is a little noisy and clicky in comparison to the more clean, efficient, and durable Sanwa set-up. Since this stick is mounted by solder on the PCB board, modding will require more work than most. Don’t let it fool you though, you can get a lot of mileage on this starter stick. There is also a rubber hand rest. Given the button layout it actually provides a nice service. The click of the joystick itself can be useful in knowing where the rotation is at during a heated battle. It is encouraged that folks experiment with holding positions of the joystick. I prefer a wine glass position for the joystick. I rest my thumb on the top and use it to guide rotation. While I have the shaft, pole, whatever of the stick gripped in between my middle and index fingers.

To bring it to  a conclusion. Arcades was a heavily fun/prosperous at a point in US gaming history, as well as globally(Japan’s arcades are still going strong). The stick is not as cheap feeling as it looks. You can probably get about 3 to 6 months of consistent button mashing, before the buttons start to stick. Works flawlessly for my PS2 and PC needs, and eventually for all the PS3 interests. The average price for em’ is $20-$30, go get one.

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