When playing video games, you have all types of controllers at your disposal. Some people prefer the Xbox controllers while others prefer the PlayStation ones. Some of us like using the keyboard and mouse and others prefer something a bit more appropriate for the games we play. For instance, when playing a racing game, nothing is more immersive than a steering wheel and pedal setup. The same goes when playing a flight simulator where players love using throttle and stick controllers. Nothing beats the nostalgia and feel of an arcade stick when it comes to particular fighting and old-school arcade games. Many of these games were made with arcade sticks in mind so if you’re serious about arcade games, you should check out the Monoprice Dark Matter Arcade Fighting Stick.
Monoprice’s Dark Matter Arcade Fighting Stick is a full-sized, authentic-feeling arcade stick for the modern era. It features a Sanwa Denshi genuine ball-top arcade joystick and a Vewlix-style button layout. The buttons and joystick are all in gloss black, but it is possible to swap them out if you want to customize them a bit (parts are sold separately). The kit includes a hex screwdriver so that you can open up the top and fine-tune settings, swap buttons, and change the top panel artwork.
The setup is really simple too. On the back of the Dark Matter Arcade Fighting Stick is a small compartment that you open up to reveal the built-in USB cable that will be plugged into your PC or console. The compartment also holds a couple extra cables – a USB-C cable and a miniUSB cable. These are used for connecting to a mobile device or the Nintendo Switch. Anyways, there is no extra software to install and if you’re on a PC, the driver should just install automatically.
In terms of design, the Dark Matter Arcade Fighting Stick is very well made. It’s large, very nicely weighted, and has a solid build. You’ll also notice that on the top of the Arcade Fighting Stick are a series of buttons and switches that are mainly used for consoles and extended features. There is a Turbo on/off switch, a switch that changes the main joystick to either DP, LS, or RS, your typical home, share, options buttons, a key lock button, and an L3, R3 button. Basically, you can mimic a regular console controller with the Arcade Fighting Stick.
On the back of the Dark Matter Arcade Fighting Stick, there is a regular USB port that is used to enable proper usage on an Xbox or PS4. You will need to plug in the original controllers here for the Aracde Fighting Stick to function properly. You do not need to do this for PC, Nintendo Switch, or Android. Most of my testing however was conducted on a PC so it did not require anything other than a USB connection to it.
I tested the Dark Matter Arcade Fighting Stick on several games that I happen to have on STEAM. First up obviously was a fighting game – The King of Fighters ’98 Ultimate Match Final Edition. This worked really well with the game and because of the retro nature, it really felt like I was back in the arcades playing this. The controls were responsive and the huge buttons made button mashing that much easier! Next up, we tried out Pac-Man Championship Edition 2, which is the closest to the arcade Pac-Man I had installed. Here again, the Arcade Fighting Stick worked perfectly. The stick felt really good moving Pac-Man around and had no input lag. Last up, I tried it out on an arcade-style shooter – Broforce. The Arcade Fighting Stick works well here too because this is a game, while it was originally released for PC, only requires the use of one stick.
In terms of value, Monoprice’s Dark Matter Arcade Fighting Stick does cost about $120. That’s not bad for such a large unit with customization options. You can use it as is or customize it for a specific look and feel. I also really like that it’s multi-platform and can even be used on an Android device. The Arcade Fighting Stick is very well made and is heavy enough that it’ll stay planted, whether it’s on a tabletop or on your lap. Overall, the Dark Matter Arcade Fighting Stick is a well-built, solid unit for any fighting games or retro arcade games fan out there who wants a more authentic way to play their games.
The Monoprice Dark Matter Arcade Fighting Stick is available here on Amazon.