Western Wolves Korean veteran imparts his wisdom by sharing a very useful tutorial on how to make your arcade stick much more handful in a few simple steps.
When I am at tournaments, people may recognize me as LAUGH the Korean Street Fighter player, but what some people may not know is that I have had a keen interest in things related to joysticks and gaming hardware for more than 10 years.
Although my knowledge is not limited to one type of sticks, it would be fair to say that my knowledge and experience regarding Korean joysticks are unmatched. And today I would like to share a new joystick in development by Crown, a leading Korean arcade parts manufacturer, which will make it easier than ever for everyone to start playing on the Korean Fanta-style joysticks all around the world.
A lot of video gamers are familiar with the Japanese lollipop style joysticks from makers such as Sanwa and Seimitsu, but not as many are aware of Korean joysticks. So before I start showing the new stick in the works, a short introduction to Korean joysticks seems appropriate.
Anyone who has taken brief interest in joysticks or has followed competitive Tekken scene before may have heard about a Korean joystick called the Fanta stick.
Myoungshin Fanta stick
This was a revolutionary joystick for Korean gamers first introduced in Korean arcades back in 1990's, and it has since been accepted as the gold standard for joysticks in Korean gaming scene for both arcade and home to this day for its amazing neutral/directional performance & versatility with various genre of games (fighters, shooters, beat'em ups, etc). Due to its unique rubber tension system and circular corner-less movement, Fanta sticks are known for fast return to neutral and smooth inputting of commands that require full/partial circular motions on the joystick.
These key features (fast neutral, easy motions) can provide an advantage in Tekken, a game that requires constant movement at high levels, and with the recent release of Tekken Tag Tournament 2, some of those looking to get better at Tekken may have thought about swapping in a Fanta stick into their existing lollipop style Japanese stick, such as the popular Madcatz FIGHTSTICK series. There's only one problem: the vastly different mounting specifications between a Korean Fanta stick and Japanese sticks makes it impossible to install a Korean where the Japanese stick used to be without major modifications to the case/mounting area.
This is where the idea for Crown's new Fanta-style joystick was born.
A joystick that has all the features of a Fanta stick that can be mounted easily on existing Japanese style fight sticks/cases/panels, so fightstick owners can also play on Korean Fanta style sticks with minimal investment and effort.
Here we have a Madcatz TE-S Chunli version fitted with the default Sanwa JLF joystick, which will serve as our base for this guide.
Madcatz FIGHTSTICK TE-S Chunli Edition
Here we have an authentic Korean Tekken 6 arcade control panel fitted with a Myoungshin Fanta stick and Crown buttons, which will serve as the reference for Korean joystick standard.
Authentic Korean Tekken 6 control panel from Namco's Noir arcade cabinet
When we take a closer look at how the Sanwa JLF and the Myoungshin Fanta stick are installed, a few things become apparent as to why the two styles of joysticks are not interchangeable.
Looking at the Myoungshin Fanta stick, we can see that it has a black base directly underneath the handle. This part needs to poke through the top panel to be properly installed as shown in the 2 photos below.
When you compare the joystick holes of the two standards, you will notice the big difference in the size of the joystick holes.
TOP - Korean Tekken, BOTTOM - Madcatz TE
It's easy to realize that the black base of Korean sticks will not fit through the smaller joystick hole on the Madcatz.
Even if you have the tools and skills to enlarge the joystick hole on the Madcatz, it doesn't solve our next challenge; the mounting.
To install a joystick, it needs to be firmly screwed onto the case using bolts, but the two standards have assigned completely different mounting screw positions as you can see from the next 2 photos.
LEFT - Sanwa JLF and its mounting plate, RIGHT - Myoungshin Fanta stick and its mounting plate
Two mounting plates stacked on top of each other. None of the screw holes align
These 2 reasons, joystick hole size and mounting screw positions, are primarily what prevents Korean sticks to be installed into Japanese style panels and vice versa.
Now take a look at the new joystick in development by Crown, which will be the first joystick to offer inter-compatibility with the Japanese standard.
New Fanta style joystick in development. Modified design based on Crown's CWJ-303 series joysticks. Model name undecided.
It doesn't have the black base underneath the handle.
LEFT - Crown's new joystick, RIGHT - Myoungshin Fanta stick
Now let's compare the mounting screw positions between the new Crown stick and a Sanwa JLF.
LEFT - Sanwa JLF, RIGHT - Crown's new joystick
View of the two mounting plates stacked on top of each other shows matching screw holes
With both primary causes of incompatibility overcome, all that's left to do is to install the new Crown joystick into the Japanese style Madcatz TE.
STEP 1 - Disassemble the joystick shaft from the Crown joystick by removing the E-clip at the bottom of the shaft.
Crown joystick shaft disassembled
STEP 2 - Screw down the Crown joystick onto the Madcatz TE panel using the old screws that used to hold the Sanwa JLF in place.
Align the joystick to the mounting bracket of the Madcatz TE's panel
Firmly screw the joystick body onto the panel using the old screws
STEP 3 - Wiring. Sanwa JLF uses a 5-pin single connector, where as the Crown uses individual connectors for each direction, so we use an adapter cable for solder-free wiring adaptation.
Sanwa JLF connected to the Madcatz TE's 5-pin joystick connector
Crown joystick and the adapter cable, unassembled
Crown joystick and the adapter cable, assembled
Madcatz TE's 5-pin connector successfully connected to the Crown joystick through the adapter cable
STEP 4 - Reassemble the joystick shaft and dust cover onto the Crown joystick.
STEP 5 - Reassemble the rest of the panel back into the Madcatz TE's case/body.
When everything is complete, this is how the finished result looks like:
My play test of the newly retrofitted Madcatz TE proved decent considering it was a prototype model with a few performance tweaks pending. Once released, it'd be safe to say this new joystick from Crown will be able to provide an affordable gateway to everyone who has yet to experience Korean sticks, and I cannot wait to see the final product soon.
FYI, Crown is currently working out the kinks of the prototype model, and you will be able to grab the retail model of the joystick from my web store (etokki.com) when it comes out soon.
PS - Using Korean Crown buttons on these Japanese style joysticks are also possible, for the complete Korean arcade experience, and I will cover that in another topic if people are interested.
Author: Ryan "LAUGH" Ahn