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 lard pirates dawt cawm  §  Bootleg Peripheral Review: Innovation Sega Dreamcast Real Arcade Stick / by Spoony Spoonicus
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 ~Spoony Spoonicus on 04:29pm 04/29/11 (12:22pm 04/25/10) in 1h56m53s  §  4925 eyeballs
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I was recently looking for a decent arcade stick or fight pad for the Dreamcast because, let's face it, while the Dreamcast has an excellent array of fighters, its controller's design leaves a lot to be desired for the genre. So I searched around, and finally came across a listing on Amazon for a "Sega Dreamcast Real Arcade Stick".

Well hot damn, a six button layout, turbo and slow motion support, and even built-in vibration! And all for less than thirty bucks! It must be good! And if not, it's backed by Amazon; I can return it for a refund and have a funny story to share.

So I shelled out the cash, noting that Amazon had cleverly priced it one penny short of qualifying for FREE SUPER SAVER SHIPPING (crafty bastards), and after a few days, it arrived. Not in a box as pictured, mind you, just a plastic bag. Not an auspicious start when you're buying a "new" product.

Well, this doesn't look so bad. The stick and buttons all make their requisite clicking sounds, suggesting that they're all set up properly, and at least it has all the buttons and turbo features listed, right? Even that's a gamble with bootleg product. The single "turbo" button is a little disappointing though, as most turbo controllers I've seen have had the ability to set it for individiual buttons. But wait a second... what's that say?

Treamcast? TREAMcast? Come on Hong Kong, you can do better than that! You've sold thousands, if not millions, of crappy LCD games under clever names like "Polystation" and "Neo Double Games"!

Anyway, I plugged the thing in and popped in my copy of Marvel VS Capcom 2 for a little testing action and there was... no response. Nothing. The stick didn't move my cursor around the menu, none of the buttons responded, nada. Well, at first I thought that was the end of the story right then and there, but then I flipped the thing over and looked on the back:

An on/off switch? I'd assumed it was for the stated "Rumble" feature, but could it perhaps be a case of poor design - a power switch on a controller that's wired directly into the system and logically has no need for such a switch? Well I turned the system off and started back up and it now worked fine, which at first confirmed my suspicions that it was a superfluous power switch. But further experimentation revealed that the thing actually does control the rumble - as in, simply turns it on all the time or off all the time. Classy.

As for the non-functioning issue, the controller just seems insistent on the fact that you have it plugged in as the system is being turned on; it won't be recognized if you plug it in while the system is running. Once you get past that little stigmata, it runs perfectly fine. All the buttons work, the stick was nice and responsive, allowing you to pull off quarter circles, half circles, 360s and even the dreaded hourglass motion with little trouble, and I was now kicking ass with Tron, Captain Commando and Psylocke at an amazing rate. Even the turbo and slow motion features work properly, although the slow motion is that annoying "hit pause 30 times a second" variety, which doesn't lend itself too well to modern games with things like pause menus that allow you to reconfigure buttons and look at move lists on the fly.

Oh, and that odd orange hatch at the top, once weaseled open with a screwdriver, covers a slot allowing you to plug in your VMUs, so it even has memory card support. I don't think I trust it enough yet, though; I'll test the waters first with a cheap memory card from Game Force before I go putting my valuable Marvel VS Capcom and Tech Romancer saves at risk.


So that's Innovation's Dreamcast arcade stick; despite a few alarm bells, it actually serves as a decent arcade stick at an affordable price. I've heard a lot of reports of hardware failure, though, so if you want to check it out be sure to get it from somewhere that offers some kind of warranty.

EDIT: It started randomly losing connection after 3-4 hours of gameplay, so fuck it. Get one of these and plug in your favorite PS2 fight pad or joystick instead.

Or even better yet, get one of these.

 rawks  §  rad comments, dogg.
 ~Azul Rojo  §  at 09:12pm 04/25/10
PolyStation? Treamcast? Those are some impressive typos. Got to love bootleg goodies!
 ~SHITTLE  §  at 12:13am 05/05/10
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a cherry