The Pokémon Arcade Fighter Has A Dumb Controller

The Pokémon Arcade Fighter Has A Dumb Controller

Geez. I know that Namco is trying to make Pokké accessible to lots of players, but a control pad? For a fighting game you play in arcades? Really?

Recently, Kotaku introduced this controller, along with several other new things revealed about the game.

According to Namco’s Katsuhiro Harada, who heads up the Tekken team, the Pokkén controller is still in development. It has four face buttons, a directional pad, a start button, and L and R buttons. The red part of the controller lights up.

“We made it like this for people who like Pokémon and want to enjoy action like this, but might find it hard to use a joystick,” said Harada.

The Pokémon Arcade Fighter Has A Dumb Controller

Hard to use a joystick? I’ve never thought of one as being particular daunting, but perhaps that’s just me… Or maybe it’s the combination of a joystick and buttons? But still…

“It’s easier to use [this controller] than you’d think,” Harada added. “Usually, I play using a fight stick, but the controller suits this game.”

If anything, the controller seems like it will make life easier for Namco to port the game.

OK, to be fair, it’s hard to say without testing out the controller. Also, Pokkén isn’t a traditional one-on-one fighter.

But, even when the game was first announced last year, Namco’s Harada said, “Whether you are a casual player, a regular player or a hardcore player, anyone who likes Pokémon can have fun.” The game has been described as a Pokémon game for adults.

The Pokémon Arcade Fighter Has A Dumb Controller

Joysticks are a huge part of arcade fighters and deeply ingrained as part of arcade culture. So, why combine Pokémon with Tekken if you’re not going to provide a proper arcade experience? What’s the point? Just to make it easier to port the game to consoles? Then, why release it in arcades?

Racking my brain, I can’t think of an arcade game that uses a wired D-pad controller (if you know of one, please mention it in the comments). Ditching joysticks in favour of a pad is off-putting in an arcade environment. It’s unnatural. Wired controllers are more of a demo kiosk thing, which makes Pokkén seem like it will be a demo you pay to play before the inevitable home console release.


  • Honestly I can understand why, I work in a arcade and kids play Tekken or SFIV for all of two seconds and give up or mash buttons.. also those games earn next to nothing a week so maybe they think that having a gamepad will appeal better, I dunno I’m torn with this idea…

    I also feel like this game may very we’ll end up

  • Arcade sticks are off putting for the general public these days. It’s not that they’re hard to use, it’s that they have a stigma attached to them. The gamepad is FAR more approachable.

    They’re going after a specific demographic, and while i think it’s a strange concession to make, it’s probably going to work.

  • Ew, wire coming out the bottom. Didn’t they learn from the original classic controller that that sucks? But then at least this one’s inset a bit I guess.

    • It’s an arcade though so you should be standing and positioned rather close to the machine, which flips where the cord should be. Instead of being in front of the unit the controller is now held over top of the unit.
      Also the heavier cable is better suited to a slight bend along the entire length rather than a sharp bend right on top of the controller.

      • I dunno, with the CC I found that having the weight pulling at the bottom of the controller just threw the balance of things out entirely. Like, pulling down on the front means that with the pivot point of your middle/ring fingers, the bottom edge of the controller presses upwards to the lowest joint of your thumb. While with the reverse, the top edge is tilting up towards the space between your thumbs and index fingers, while the lower edge is pulled downwards away from your palms, so there isn’t really anything there to counter it. I guess this might be different having prongs though.

  • Arcade sticks a so much easier to use than a stupid d-pad. It’s more tactile to attempt F-D-DF with your whole hand on a stick than trying to do it with your thumb.

    • I disagree. I find it much easier to do zigzags (or any move) with a D-Pad than a stick and much more tactile. It’s pretty easy to feel the buttons of the D-Pad and if the D-Pad is designed well then it’s a simple motion to push F, push D and then slide to between the buttons for DF.

  • I hope they make them durable. One thing arcade sticks have over a controller is they can’t be dropped on the floor or have the wire cut.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!