Perhaps the best thing about fightsticks is the ability to customize it. Nearly everything in a fightstick can be replaced and swapped out. This includes the main functional parts which are the buttons and the joystick lever.
Not only does this improve durability but you can also significantly improve the performance of a fightstick with the right parts. But that’s the question. What are the right parts?
It’s obvious from the title of this post what the right parts are. That is Sanwa, Seimitsu, and Hayabusa. If you’re at all familiar with fightsticks or arcade sticks then you’ll know that having these famous brand parts means it a high-quality stick. This is because Sanwa, Seimitsu, and Hayabusa are classed as high quality.
Why do high-quality parts matter in a fightstick?
As mentioned, higher quality parts significantly improve the performance of a fightstick. This mainly means better response times and improved durability of the stick. In addition, the ‘feel’ of the stick is a lot better. This may be difficult to explain but having a stick with Sanwa parts, for example, side by side with a stick with just stock parts, you’ll definitely feel the difference in quality. This ultimately means you can pull off moves more easily and improve your overall gameplay, which is, of course, the main objective of a fightstick.
This brings me onto the final question. Which buttons or joystick lever should you get? Sanwa, Seimitsu, or Hayabusa? Well, worry not my friend. In this post, I’m going to do a comparison between the three brands and ultimately give my view on which I think is best.
Sanwa is synonymous with being high quality, reliable, and providing excellent performance.
The brand is well known all over the world and is made by the Japanese arcade parts manufacturer: Sanwa-Denshi. Established in 1982, the company has made parts for the likes of Sega and Konami. In addition, most of the arcade cabinets in Japan contain Sanwa parts so you know they’re good.
Examples of Sanwa Fightsticks
Here are some examples of Sanwa fightsticks. Click on the links to my read reviews of the stick.
Although not much is known about the company, Seimitsu also produces high-quality parts for arcade sticks and cabinets.
They’re not as popular as Sanwa but their joystick levers and buttons are known for having shorter throws and as a result, being more responsive.
Examples of Seimitsu Fightsticks
Unfortunately, there aren’t any fightsticks that come built-in with Seimitsu parts.
Hayabusa parts are made by Hori who are well established in the fightstick community and are known for not only making quality parts but also their famous RAP fightsticks as well.
Examples of Hayabusa Fightsticks
- HORI Real Arcade Pro 4 Kai
- HORI Real Arcade Pro V Switch
- HORI Real Arcade Pro N Hayabusa
- HORI Fighting Edge
Which parts are better?
In order to determine which parts are better, I will look at the feel and performance of each part for each brand: that is buttons and joystick lever. I will then declare a winner. Remember, this is based on my own opinion. You may disagree and that’s absolutely fine. Hopefully, the comparison below will allow you to make an informed decision as to which parts you prefer. Firstly, let’s look at the lever.
A high-quality joystick lever will feel smooth and responsive. I prefer to go for a square gate restrictor rather than an octagonal one but that’s just personal preference.
I will be comparing a Sanwa JLF-TP-8YT-SK(Standard Sanwa Lever), Seimitsu LS-40 (best for square gate) and the standard Hayabusa joystick lever.
The Sanwa JLF is probably the most popular joystick and for good reason: It’s very responsive. Because of how compact the JLF is and the use of high-quality materials allows it to be very precise indeed.
There aren’t really any negatives, apart from it being more expensive compared to rivals. But that makes sense considering the high-quality materials used.
Testing the lever out I was able to get moves out on games like Street Fighter and Tekken pretty accurately with the minimum of dropped inputs and combos.
Seimitsu LS-40 is cheaper than the Sanwa meaning it’s slightly lower quality, however, the performance is still very good. The engage distance for the LS-40 is shorter than the Sanwa JLF. What this basically means is that it allows for quick movements to be registered on the stick.
Shorter throw and engage distance doesn’t necessarily mean more accurate, however. The Seimitsu joysticks are great for certain games that may require less precision but faster movement for instance. It may not be suitable however for games that are motion heavy e.g street fighter.
Having tested this on a number of fighting games including Street Fighter I could tell this is the case. Although I’m getting moves out quicker which is great, I don’t get it 100% of the time meaning I do tend to drop crucial combos from time to time. This can be rectified, however, with practice and could mean that someone who is actually used to a Seimitsu lever could potentially have an advantage. That being said a Seimitsu lever is probably more suited to classic shoot’em up style arcade games than modern fighting games.
The Hayabusa lever made my HORI is very impressive. It’s pretty much similar to the Sanwa JLF in terms of performance and feel. This makes sense as the parts are quite similar.
Despite this, however, the Hayabusa lever does slightly have a longer throw meaning that at times it may feel a little loose.
Playing this lever with various fighting games it performed well and, as mentioned, is almost on par with the Sanwa JLF. But something just feels slightly off. Don’t’ get me wrong the motions are definitely smooth and, to the untrained eye, you may not even feel a difference between this and a Sanwa JLF. But for me, having played on a number of fighting sticks with Sanwa JLF’s I could definitely tell there was a difference.
It didn’t really affect my gameplay, however, as I was still able to perform really well and pull off moves and combos consistently.
If this comparison was based on Shoot’em ups I would probably give this round to Seimitsu with the shorter engage and throw distance. However, this post is all about testing on fighting games and so it’s probably no surprise that the best lever, in my opinion, is Sanwa JLF, with Hayabusa coming in second and Seimitsu last.
Winner: Sanwa JLF
What’s a fightstick without buttons? nothing that’s what. For the purposes of this example, I will be comparing Sanwa OBSF, Seimitsu PS-14, and the standard Hayabusa buttons. These are all 24mm, apart from the Hayabusa buttons which are 30mm.
Sanwa buttons are highly responsive and light to the touch. This is great because you can pull off moves with ease and execute combos more consistently.
Some people may argue, however, that the buttons are perhaps too light. In other words, they are too responsive. Even the slightest touch could set them off which has also been my experience. For these people, they may prefer something more akin to Seimitsu buttons.
Despite this, Sanwa buttons are of high quality and are likely to last a long time. They can withstand a ton of punishment as I can tell from personal experience.
Seimitsu buttons are known for being slightly less responsive and stiffer than Sanwa. This is by no means a bad thing, however.
Let me explain. In a game like Street Fighter, whenever I’m playing footsies I’m focusing on movement a lot. Whilst I’m doing this, my fingers are rested on the buttons. With Sanwa buttons, that are responsive to the touch, this means that I will trigger unintended inputs which may ruin the match for me. This has actually happened to me as well.
Seimitsu’s, however, are still pretty responsive but not overly so meaning I wouldn’t have the same issue. In this case, the shorter throw and engage distance actually comes in handy and gives Seimitsu a unique advantage over Sanwa.
Hayabusa buttons are a good alternative to Sanwa. They’re similar and are very responsive, in some cases more so than Sanwa.
The quality, however, isn’t as good as Sanwa or even Seimitsu for that matter. They’re noisy for one thing. Sanwa buttons are noisy as well but in a good way. They make an audible click sound which I like. Hayabusa buttons don’t have the same sound and the lower quality shows.
Saying that, however, I do like the matte finish on Hayabusa buttons, as opposed to the glossy ones you get on Sanwa and Seimitsu.
There is no clear winner, to be honest. They all have positives and negatives. But If I had to pick a winner, I would say Seimitsu. This is surprising because I normally go for Sanwa buttons.
I guess I like the shorter throw and engage distance as It helps with the execution on games like Street Fighter and Tekken.
Although I like Seimitsu the best. I have to recommend Sanwa for the beginner. They’re more responsive and are likely to last longer whilst taking punishment.
And there we have it. I hope this comparison has given you some insight into which parts to go for when building or modifying your fightstick.
Although this is based on my opinion, remember there is no right answer when it comes to high-quality parts. Just remember to have fun tinkering with your fightstick and find what works for you. This may be through trial and error but so be it. After all, the ability to customize a fightstick is what I love about them.