Ask An Expert: What is a gate?

A gate, in the context of arcade sticks and fight sticks, is a plastic or metal component that surrounds the joystick’s base and determines the directional input’s shape and feel.

Gates are usually installed beneath the joystick’s dust cover and play a crucial role in guiding the joystick’s movement, providing physical boundaries and feedback to the user.

There are several types of gates, each offering a different feel and range of motion:

  1. Square Gate: The most common type of gate, especially in Japanese-style arcade sticks like those from Sanwa and Seimitsu. Square gates offer clearly defined diagonal movements, making them popular for fighting games that require precise quarter-circle and dragon punch motions.
  2. Octagonal Gate: This gate has eight sides, providing smoother transitions between cardinal and diagonal directions. Some players find octagonal gates to be more intuitive and comfortable for circular movements, making them a popular choice for games that involve spinning or 360-degree motions.
  3. Circular Gate: A circular gate allows for smooth, unrestricted joystick movement in all directions. While it might be suitable for certain types of games like shoot-them-ups or twin-stick shooters, it can be less precise for fighting games, where distinct directional inputs are critical.

Gates can be easily swapped out on many arcade sticks and fight sticks, allowing players to customize their joystick’s feel and input style based on their preferences and the games they play.

Experimenting with different gates can help players find the perfect balance of precision and comfort for their unique playstyle.

Tom "Button Master" O'Neil
Tom "Button Master" O'Neil

Tom fell in love with fight sticks after realizing that mastering the mechanics could give him an edge in competitive gaming. He's since devoted countless hours to perfecting his inputs and understanding the nuances of different fight sticks. As a result, Tom has become a force in both online and local tournaments. Now, he's on a mission to help others unlock their full potential with the right fight stick.