Arcade Stick Review and Unboxing: NACON Daija Arcade Stick
Back in October of 2017, I reviewed the Venom Arcade Fight Stick and while it can’t quite compete with some of the top-end arcade fight sticks, for its budget cost it is a quality product and is still very much worth picking up today, which you’ll now be able to purchase it for around £40. However, other than using a top quality fight stick at a friend’s, it’s something that I’ve not had the privilege of experiencing in the comfort of my own home, that was until now with the fantastic Daija Arcade Stick from NACON, a company known for the officially licensed Pro Controllers for PS4 and its manufactured in conjunction Sanwa, a renowned company in the arcade stick industry, resulting in the Daija Arcade Stick coming with a wealthy pedigree in its market.
Unless you are fortunate enough to have an arcade located near your home, arcade amusements are sadly not as common as they were in the 80’s and 90’s, and even for those ones that do exist in the UK, likely at the seaside, they’re mostly inhabited with gambling machines, rather than classic video game arcade machines. So for those that want to replicate that experience in the comfort of our own homes, unless you own an arcade cabinet, the chances are that by owning an arcade stick is the way to go, especially for those that are fans of games such as Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, and even classic side-scrolling beat em’ ups.
The NACON Daija Arcade Stick is larger than a laptop in terms of width and despite being quite heavy to pick-up from the box; it sits on your lap very comfortably indeed. In terms of weight and dimensions, the arcade stick ways about 2.7kg and has a 380x260x121mm dimension. The comfort is added by the textured wrist rests that are there to stop your wrists from rubbing and getting sore, if you were to use this arcade stick a lot. However, the real comfort comes in the form of the therapeutic and nostalgic feeling of pressing those retro arcade buttons. Not only do they feel great to press, but they’re also very responsive with a satisfying pressure point and the analogue stick has a fantastic rotation in comparable to that of a DualShock controller. Speaking of which, this arcade stick comes with two changeable analogue stick heads, a balltop and battop, both of which represent the common arcade cabinets from yesteryear, so it’s great that you’re able to change this feature, depending on your preference.
Like most, this NACON Arcade Stick features eight buttons on the base of the panel, each representing the four main DualShock 4 function buttons, as well as the four shoulder triggers. But unlike my budget Venom Arcade Stick, the NACON Daija also has all the extra function buttons on the side of its base for the L3 & L4 analogue clicks, the Options and Share buttons, the PlayStation Home button, and even a touchpad. You also have two slider buttons that allows you to switch between the movement controls in which you want your stick to mirror, and the other is to switch between PC, PS4 and PS4 functionality. At the front of the arcade stick there is a headset jack which is the great addition, and at the back there’s a tidy compartment that stores the 3 metre USB cable. Speaking of the USB cable, this arcade stick is wired only and is not wireless. I know some may consider this to be a negative, but by having it wired; it helps to ensure that there is no latency with the direct cable feed and results in the best performance.
One aspect that will please players who want to make their accessories unique, the NACON Daija Arcade Stick is highly customisable. The base of the arcade stick lifts up like a lid so that you can see clearly the inside of the box and it is here that you’re able to switch the buttons as well as the analogue stick itself. You can even unscrew the top faceplate to fit your own custom art design if you wish, there are also two NACON art cards provided in the box, so that you can switch the design of the faceplate if you wish. Personally, customising this arcade stick is something that I’m unlikely to ever do, but it’s fantastic that this product gives you free rein if that is something that interests you.
At its full RRP, the NACON Daija Arcade Stick can command a cost of around £150 RRP, but if you shop about, you can pick it up for far less at about £110 at websites such as 365games, which in my humble opinion, represents fantastic value for money. It will be easy to be put off spending in excess of £100/$100 on an arcade stick, but once you get this product sat comfortably on your lap, I doubt very much that it’s a purchase that you’ll regret, especially if you’re a fan of the fighting genre such as your Street Fighters and Mortal Kombat’s of the world, heck I even used this to play Streets of Rage and Double Dragon, and it was fantastic! So, if you’re after a quality arcade stick to replicate the arcade amusements of yesteryear or want to enhance your experience with your favourite fighting games in the comfort of your own home, then the NACON Daija Arcade Stick is as good as a damn near must-buy that you will not regret. Now bring me Streets of Rage 4 already!