Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stick it to the man

With the release of Street Fighter 4 for the consoles has come an unprecedented demand for fighting sticks for home use. Not only are sticks selling out across the country, but every time I pop into a SF4 discussion board 80% of the posts are on sticks! This is a really good thing because the interest in sticks means that people want to play this game seriously, which can only be good for the scene as a whole. I'm not going to be elitist, but you aren't going to play this game to it's full potential if you insist on using a pad.

Now, as some of you may know, I personally own a Madcatz SF4 Tournament Edition stick, which in my opinion is the greatest mass-produced fighting stick ever made. Even though this baby cost me about US$180, it's definitely worth the price. People have been asking me left and right how I got my hands it so I thought I'd post a heads up here on my blog. Here are some things you should know about the stick (pictured above) and how I got it.
- I pre-ordered the stick late December last year from Barnes and Noble, a retailer from the USA. I ordered from them because they accept paypal and most credit cards without the need for you to verify. Some of you guys have probably heard the name Gamestop USA being thrown around on as one of the US distributors of the stick and that's the case here: Barnes and Noble is only a middleman. Gamestop actually ships the stick and stocks it.
- Why is this important to you, aspiring Madcatz TE stick owner? Because, currently, the sticks are sold out even in the US and on the two sites mentioned. With only a limited run of 3000 and only a US/Europe license (Hori got the Asian license from Capcom), Madcatz has to prioritize customers that bought from US sources before they can even think about sending any units over to Asia. This means that its absolutely pointless to pre-order your sticks from shops here. In fact, all shops here that placed a pre-order with Madcatz got a letter from them saying that they didn't have stock to ship to Asia. As a matter of policy and because of the HORI Asia license, this has to be done.
- WAS stocking the sticks, but at an inflated price. My guess was that they pre-ordered not from Madcatz, but from a US retailer like Gamestop, so therefore their overhead was higher and therefore the higher price.
- So what's the solution? My advice is to keep watching the US retailers for when they start taking pre-orders for the next batch of sticks, rumored to come late March/early April. Aside from Barnes and Noble and Gamestop, also stocks these sticks.

So there you have it, I hope this gives everyone interested a good idea of the situation at hand. If I get any news on their availability with any US retailers, I'll be sure to post it up. In the meantime, it looks like I'm the only person in Singapore with this bundle of love because a) Everyone I know hardcore enough to get this hasn't and b) Not a single shop in Singapore managed to bring it in. BUT! I'd like to be proven wrong so, just out of curiosity if you know anyone else who has this do let me know! Maybe he can give everyone tips as to how to get it as well.

Also, importantly, if you've already splashed the cash on a HRAP/any other stick and want the same quality that the Madcatz TE stick is offering without having to buy a second stick, you can get your stick modded to the genuine Sanwa Denshi parts that the Madtcatz TE stick uses. How? A friend of mine, Farp, is one of Singapore's premier stick modders and he's offering a Sanwa upgrade to almost any stick at $50 (parts and labor). If you're interested, you can email him at farpenoodle AT gmail DOT com.

- The price listed on SF4SG ($50) is for Hori REAL ARCADE PROs only.
This is because the parts are easily replaced and you will be paying for parts + his traveling/labor fee etc.

- For Fighting Stick EX2.. these require soldering and pretty much opening up the whole stick. These jobs will be around the $100 mark. He'll be holding on to your stick for a few days if you want this done. If you are considering adding a decal on to the stick. You'll want to contact him for the template, get the decal designed and printed (or he can help you print it I think, added costs) and pass it to him before changing buttons. As changing the decals post button-swap is comparatively tedious.

Now, practice your set-ups and combos at home and test them at the arcade and tournaments!

Coming soon: how to use SF4's training mode to effectively break the game down.


  1. sad to see the local retailers marking up prices for even normal sticks like FS3 to absurd levels! sigh, guess its just business

  2. Yup, zee law of supply and demand...