Ah, the arcade. Sticky carpets, greasy pizza, and potato-faced ghouls hogging the Metal Slug machine. They were pretty grisly, weren’t they? Not that it stops us from reminiscing about the magic these seedy places brought into our lives. It’s undeniable. Everywhere you look, from gaming outlets to price clubs, there are full-blown arcade cabinets for sale, looking to tap into the nostalgia of the moment. And you can expect to slap down sacks full of coins to lug one home. Luckily, replicating the memories of your misspent youth are within your budget with the PowerA Fusion Wireless Arcade Stick.
What is the PowerA Fusion Arcade Stick for Nintendo Switch?
Gaming accessory manufacturer PowerA now offers an arcade stick in its Fusion line of gamepads. Here are a few specs of the device.
- Dimensions: 13.78 x 7.09 x 12.6 inches; 5.27 Pounds.
- Connectivity: Wireless via Bluetooth 5.0 or wired via 9.8ft USB-C cable.
- Button Layout: Japanese Arcade style, eight full size (30mm) domed buttons, flexible Joystick toggle switch (D-pad/LS/RS), Nintendo Switch system buttons, ball top joystick with metal shaft and dust cover.
- Materials: Metal base and rubber footing for stability.
- Power: Up to 30 hours in wireless mode using two AA batteries plus unlimited wired mode.
- Customizable Faceplate: Using a convenient template.
If you’re even sort of tapped into the gaming sphere, arcade sticks are having a bit of a moment right now. Dare I say, there’s a bit of a glut in the market. The PowerA Fusion Arcade Stick is built with the Nintendo Switch in mind. Every button on the Nintendo Switch Pro controller has an equivalent in the Fusion Arcade Stick, including the home and snapshot buttons.
Along with the multi-directional joystick, there are eight face buttons which include the four shoulder buttons from a Switch controller. Instead of a second stick or a D-Pad, there’s a toggle on the controller that makes the joystick work as the D-Pad, the left thumb stick, or the right thumbstick. Simple, elegant, cool. The arcade stick also works on
The gamepad works either wirelessly through Bluetooth 5.0, powered by two AA batteries. Or, you can plug in analog style with an included 9.8ft cable. What really jumped out at me is that the faceplate is totally customizable. PowerA even provides a handy Photoshop template on its website for you to get creative.
PowerA Fusion Arcade Stick Review: Is it worth it?
After unboxing the PowerA Fusion Arcade Stick, I figured I’d give it a try on the standard arcade offerings on the Nintendo Switch. My first destination was the flavor of the month, Pac-Man 99. Playing this revamped classic with battle royale mechanics using a joystick instead of a controller provided an incredibly addictive experience.
The joystick is as responsive as you want it to be. You can even do that thing where you rest your palm on the tip and shift directions that way. The knob is as glossy and ergonomic as it should be. The buttons are not the concave kind, but they do have a very satisfying clickety-clackety quality. It’s a button that really makes you feel like you’re pressing something.
I figured I’d play a few rounds of Pac-Man 99 one Saturday morning with my coffee. Before I knew it, it was lunch time. Whether or not the arcade stick gave me a competitive edge remains to be seen. However, playing the most popular arcade game of all time using an arcade stick just hits differently, doesn’t it?
Some games I tried with the PowerA Fusion Arcade Stick
Competitive as Pac-Man 99 is, it’s still rather simple to take full advantage of the PowerA Fusion Arcade Stick. For that, I went for a few more arcade standbys that are available on the Nintendo Switch.
- Street Fighter II: This game turned 30 this year, and remains one of the most popular fighting games going. I’m not the kind of guy who goes for the button-mashing fighters. Neophyte as I may be, I managed to pull off some hadoukens using the fightstick.
- Donkey Kong: If Pac-Man 99 was a taste of the smack of nostalgia, playing Donkey Kong using the PowerA Fusion Arcade Stick was a veritable time warp.
- Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Can you play this game using the arcade stick? Should you? It was a novelty, to be sure. I might even do it every once in a while, or as a handicap controlling style to even the playing field against my partner. Altogether, not terrible.
- The Simpsons/MAME on Windows PC: There are plenty of side-scrolling beat-em-ups available on the Nintendo Switch. My favorite one of all time, however, is absent. It was an excuse to take advantage of the controller’s plug and play abilities with the PC. After plugging the controller in via USB, I was off to the races to rescue Maggie from Mr. Burns. It operated just as smoothly as I hoped it would.
This isn’t a technical aspect of the controller, but it’s a welcome feature nonetheless. PowerA Fusion Arcade Stick comes with the option to customize your faceplate. There’s even an easy to use Photoshop template available.
While I initially felt that my custom design should be something gaming related, that’s far too expected. Mario, Mega Man, Alucard: their faces have been on everything from t-shirts to bento boxes at this point. No, my arcade stick would bear the face of my favorite character actor of all time: Tony Shaloub. I posit to you this question: Have you ever seen a more glorious fight stick?
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The Final Verdict
Gaming controllers, in my opinion, are either great or terrible, durable or shoddy, responsive or laggy. On its face, the PowerA Fusion Arcade Stick is a beautiful gamepad. But more importantly, it’s as responsive and easy to use as a Pro Controller.
And while it does run on batteries, I spent an entire week using the heck out of it without the need to switch them out. If this is a dealbreaker, consider the almost 10ft usb cord that comes with the machine. Sure, it’s old school but it works, and it works fantastically. There’s even a little cubby in the back of the arcade stick to store it when it’s not in use. Genius!
It’s only natural this arcade stick has found its home on the Nintendo Switch with its massive library of classic titles that can tap into its full potential. All I can think about is how amazing the retrotastic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge is going to play on this baby when it releases this year. Until then, it’s going to be my go-to whenever I need an arcade fix. I can’t recommend it enough.
A few notes
- While the PowerA Fusion Wireless Arcade Stick is an ideal fight stick, it may not be ideal for AAA titles like Splatoon 2 or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. However, the PowerA Fusion Pro totally is. Rubberized handles provide for comfortable gaming, even if you’re pulling an all-nighter. There’s even remappable paddles that provide the extra competitive edge. In short, it’s the best Nintendo Switch Pro Controller…that isn’t.
- Some people don’t care for the arcade. I guess the allure of strip malls and rat-themed pizza restaurants are lost on some. If most of your gaming memories were made in front of a CRT television, the 8BitDo SN30 Pro is the gamepad for you. It splits the difference between past and present, and works especially well playing NES and SNES titles on the Nintendo Switch.
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