In recent years, more and more competitive fighting game players have replaced their classic arcade stick controllers with hit box-style ones, but how much impact do the different controls actually have?
Fighting game and street fighter legend Rohto|Tokido recently launched his Fighting Game Laboratory series on YouTube, and its first episode was dedicated to exploring and testing the potential benefits of replacing stick controls with buttons.
After spending the first part of the video detailing the rules associated with different controllers to avoid tangible advantages (like simultaneous opposite directional inputs), the longtime pro spends the last section doing a simple experiment in Street Fighter 5 perform to make arcade sticks head to head with the hit box.
Tokido dons his own lab coat and uses each controller 5 times to see how long it takes him to sprint forward with Ryu and spot the difference between them.
Tokido first uses the arcade stick and finds himself able to sprint consistently in 5 frames.
For the hit-box style controller, on the other hand, he discovers that his strokes are even lower (going as low as 2 frames) averaging 3 frames, which seems to surprise the top competitor.
These results aren’t entirely surprising considering you have to physically move a lever with intentional movements using your wrist/fingers, rather than simply double-tapping the forward button as fast as you can.
Admittedly, that 2-3 frame difference doesn’t mean much for the general player population, so the hit box doesn’t just invalidate whatever else you’re currently playing on.
However, for those wanting to take on the best of the best, it could certainly be enough to be a relevant variable considering that many interactions can be decided by just a few frames.
This experiment is just a small look at what separates these controller styles from one another, and there are other potential benefits that players cite on the Hit Box, such as more accurate inputs and less wrist strain.
Considering that the FGC has been playing with levers for over 3 decades, we don’t see the traditional arcade stick dying out anytime soon and it’s important to realize that basically all the different controller types have a small advantage offer to the others.
Heck, if you look at the CEO 2022 results for SF5, 3 of the top 4 finishers all played on standard console pads, so at the end of the day play what you’re most comfortable with.
Unfortunately, Tokido’s video is only in Japanese, but it’s still pretty easy to spot what’s going on using the automatic translation feature on YouTube.