X-Arcade – Multiplayer – PS2 – Review

Home video game
consoles will never replace the quarter-draining experience of a full stand-up
arcade game.  While younger gamers may never have stood up for hours on end,
slipping coins into thin vertical slots, or even stepped foot into a noisy,
flashy video arcade, many veteran gamers miss the feel of solid controls in
their hands. 

 

The home console
joystick went the way of the dodo bird after the extinction of the Atari 2600,
and many people were happy to see it go.  Without a stable base, joysticks were
maneuvered by one hand, and stabilized by the other, making it difficult to make
a frog jump across the freeway or outwit ghosts while gobbling pellets to
advance to the next stage.  With the increasing popularity and potency of the
D-pad, joysticks looked to be on their last legs, confined only to video
arcades.  Joystick peripherals for home consoles have been attempted before with
lukewarm results, mostly because of their flimsiness and compact size, but X-Gaming’s
X-Arcade does the job quite nicely and should keep all you Pac-Maniacs well
entertained, no matter what next-gen console you own. 

 

Universal
controllers are rare these days, but the X-Arcade works with the Playstation 1
and 2, PC, Macs, GameCube, Xbox, and the Dreamcast by virtue of various adaptors
that can easily be purchased from X-Gaming’s website.  Simply plug in the
controller to your console and you’re ready to go.  It’s as simple as that. The
X-Arcade is really two controllers in one.  Both joysticks and sets of buttons
are on the same unit, side-by-side, and the unit plugs into two controller slots
on the console it’s being used with without a hitch.

 

Right out of the
box, the X-Arcade is an impressive sight.  It has a fair amount of girth to it,
leaving other joystick peripherals with a bit of joystick envy.  Weighing in at
ten pounds, the beefy X-Arcade is the Pavarotti of joystick peripherals.  And at
two feet wide and one foot deep, the X-Arcade easily dwarfs the consoles it will
be controlling while legitimately simulating an arcade experience.

 

The X-Arcade comes
complete with buttons and joysticks that seem to have jumped off a Streetfighter
2 video arcade machine.  The feel of each joystick is weighted perfectly, with
just the right amount of resistance.  The spring-loaded buttons give in to
fingers with all the nostalgic feel of the first Space Invaders game.  Each unit
has two joysticks, twenty buttons, and solid high-quality injected wood, just
like a real arcade machine.  Two start buttons complete with the single and
double human silhouettes akin to the icon found on men’s rooms grace the top of
the unit, and two pinball-style select buttons are on the sides of the unit. 
Getting used to the position of the buttons may take a while, but the payoff is
worth it. 

 

Using the X-Arcade
with a PC or Mac is simple and incredibly customizable.  All twenty buttons are
programmable, making it perfect for macros and games that require all sorts of
keyboard strokes.  The controller is MAME compatible meaning that revisiting
arcade classics with a real arcade feel is easy as pie.

 

On home consoles,
the X-Arcade is best suited for arcade style games, such as Maximo, and some
sports games, like EA’s FIFA series.  Maximo plays like a dream on the X-Arcade,
and really returns to its gritty Ghosts N’ Goblins feel.  Simple platformers
that require little more than a jump and attack button were made for the
X-Arcade.  FIFA 2002 plays even better with the X-Arcade than the standard issue
Dual Shock 2 controllers, with an increase in pinpoint passing and easy
maneuverability.  Fighting games such as DOA 2 also play extremely well with the
X-Arcade.  The button line-up and joystick make combos easier and really bring
back that Streetfighter 2 arcade feel.  Just for kicks, my buddy and I rented an
old-school track and field button mashing game for the Playstation and gave it a
run with the X-Arcade.  The buttons stood up to the test, and the inevitable
hand cramps from the carpel-tunnel inducing button pushing frenzy that would
have occurred with a standard controller were nonexistent with the X-Arcade. 

 

As great of an
arcade feel the X-Arcade offers, it is important to note that the X-Arcade is a
controller with only a left analog stick.  What this means is that many of the
first-person shooters that require you to look with the right analog stick won’t
be much fun.  In fact, any game that requires a right analog joystick won’t be
of much use.  The buttons are also not Dual Shock compatible, so games such as
Gran Turismo 3 or Stuntman won’t have the variable acceleration and Madden 2002
won’t have the range of jukes on the X-Arcade. 

 

With kits ranging
from $149 to $179, the X-Arcade isn’t exactly something you can buy with your
allowance.  However, with its cross-platform versatility and being a two-person
controller, it potentially is equivalent to buying eight controllers (two for
each next-gen console) at once.  Add to that lifetime guarantees on the
joysticks and buttons, the ability to work with consoles with a simple adaptor,
and you may be able to use this thing with the Playstation 9 and anything else
that comes out fifty years down the road.  It’s an investment, but one that’s
worth it for fans of arcade-style games. 

 

 


Pros:

The X-Arcade is
the most durable controller I’ve ever encountered and should stand the test of
time.  It’s ability to adapt to any console or computer will have anyone
fortunate enough to own every console overjoyed.  This is an authentic arcade
controller, and a must for those with a tear in their eye for old arcade games.

 


Cons:

Being more
expensive than a Gamecube, the X-Arcade isn’t for everyone.  If you’re using it
with a friend, you had better hope they have taken a shower recently as you’ll
be sitting thigh-to-thigh with them.  The X-Arcade can’t be used with every
game.

 


Verdict: 8

This controller
works wonders with specific games.  However, its lack of playability with
certain genres hurts its overall versatility.  This controller is for those who
long for games like Joust, Dig Dug, and Defender, or those who want to add
something to their fighting and sports games.