Jump to content
godslabrat

What Modern Control works best for classic games

Recommended Posts

Here's a situation we can probably all relate to... what do you prefer to do when playing a classic arcade game (made to use a standard 8-way digital joystick) and you're given a modern controller, which makes you choose between a d-pad or an analog joystick? Which of the two do you consider to be the more natural option?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Analog controls feel better, but D-pads work better for that type of game. My kid, who doesn't know much about old games, reaches for the stick by default.

 

I'll pick a D-pad almost every time, so long as the original game used digital controls. One possible exception is Pac-Man, which is about 15% better with an old-style 4-way arcade stick.

 

Analog control games of course need analog controls. A mouse is OK for trackball games, a flightstick for most analog flight type games.

 

The only arcade controller I care about that I can't replicate well at home is the Star Wars yoke.

 

So what does this have to do with eating mayo with a spoon?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had no problem with d-pads when they were the de facto standard of home video game controls, but nowadays I really struggle with them. For me, they're uncomfortable to use and far too inaccurate for most of the types of games I enjoy.

 

They work fine for lumbering, clunky button-mashers (e.g., beat-em-ups). They're fine for lots of puzzle games. They're so-so for post-SMB platformers. But shooters? Forget it, not nearly accurate enough. Maze games? Forget it, never going to hit those corners consistently. Proto-platform games (like DK, Burgertime, etc.)? Forget it, you get stuck on ladders way too easily.

 

Analog thumbsticks with their modern ergonomics and smooth actuation go a long way to address the comfort problem, but the accuracy is even worse than the d-pad for games designed to be played with 4/8-way digital controls.

 

The moral of the story, for me at least, is that "dual shock" style controllers are relegated to "better than nothing" status to be used with emulators while traveling, etc. At home, where there is no need to compromise, it's joysticks all the way--preferably arcade style.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I kind of go with whatever is originally designed for the old game, or whatever will translate closest considering the give and forgiveness or lack of it each individual controller gives. Being realistic here, you can have the same game both on two consoles or even them and the PC and each has their own controller. Two of the three will control like garbage on a poorly made d-pad or a floaty stick and work best on the opposite for that one. So there really is no fair go to with it.

 

That said thinking of an oddity with some foresight how about Pac-Man on the Neo Geo Pocket Color? Did you know when they released it in the box came a teeny bag with a small plastic ring in there? You snap that in around their micro click stick arcade joystick on the thing and it helps pac-man corner far more accurately than without it. They even realized for their style and size of stick it was a little potentially problematic without the assist ring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry, but I grew up with playing arcade & Atari games with joysticks so I have to use analog thumbsticks on my gamepad. They do suck a little when it comes to doing jumps in fighting games (especially the Xbox One gamepad). I can use the D-Pad but I never had a SNES for playing SF2 type games so it feels weird to me, but not a problem for other Sega/Nintendo stuff.

 

Some day I'm going to hack my old Xbox 360 gamepad by replacing the crappy D-Pad with a digital thumbstick, or at least get a "fighting" gamepad since I can't fit a full arcade joystick on my computer desk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With some 4-way games (eg. mame Donkey Kong), you can get stuck if you accidentally press diagonally. It's less likely to happen with a d-pad compared to an analog stick. If it's something like an Atari 2600 4-way game, an analog thumb stick should be okay since the games were programmed to account for the diagonals in an Atari 8-way joystick. True 8-way games in all cases would be more accurate with a d-pad compared to an analog thumbstick. It does depend on the game, Robotron works well with analog sticks. For any 2-way games (e.g. Galaga, Defender), either analog thumbsticks or d-pads should be fine. A game like Sinistar uses more than eight directions (16?) so a thumbstick is better. Games like Missile Command and Pole Position shouldn't be played with either but a mouse is not bad with Pole Position. Tempest is tricky but a keyboard with custom mame settings works surpisingly well.

 

The other problem is for people who played the original games with right-handed controls (eg. Pac-man, Dig-Dug, Berzerk, Burgertime, Gauntlet, Gorf, Atari 2600/5200). It's hard to find a modern right-handed controller. Most people have already learned left-handed controllers.

Edited by mr_me

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It depends on the game for me. For fighting games and platformers like Donkey Kong and such I go for the D-pad, but for most other games I usually prefer the analog thumb stick. Then there are those odd games like Pole Position that don't seem to work terribly well with either so you just have to play around with both until you figure out which is the lesser of the evils for that particular version of the game.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Some day I'm going to hack my old Xbox 360 gamepad by replacing the crappy D-Pad

 

Yeah, it's a big shame, because the XBOX360 controller is otherwise very nice to use and is very widely supported... too bad the d-pad on it is so damn awful. To be fair, it was probably designed for the purpose of navigating menus, not gaming, but still.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those struggling with the d-pad on the Xbox 360 gamepad, I'd recommend an Xbox One S controller. It's an evolved version of the original Xbox One pad, has a greatly improved d-pad over most of the previous Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers, and of course now has native Bluetooth for wireless play on a PC (it can still use USB).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...