Switch Warriors #1

Despite Los Angeles being a hub for the fighting game community, we are no strangers to arcades being closed. High rents and online gaming have shuttered many of the region’s arcades. Regardless, there is still a large amount of players who prefer face to face combat. With the Nintendo Switch, the need for a dedicated place to play may no longer be in the way of players getting together to build up their skills.

Switch players have quite a few accessories to simulate the feel of a real arcade. For sticks, the two main choices are the Hori Real Arcade Pro V and the 8bitdo Wireless Arcade Stick. Now, the Real Arcade Pro V is a wired stick similar to the ones already available on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It requires a USB port to plug into, which the Switch does not have onboard without the use of a portable dock. The 8bitdo stick, on the other hand, is completely wireless. While the serious player will obviously require a wired stick for tournaments, let’s just focus strictly on casual play at the moment. 8bitdo has created a stick that will mostly meet the demands of discriminating players looking to gather for some fighting action.

This stick has a nice form factor making it convenient to put in a backpack or messenger bag. It has some weight to it, making it unlikely to move around with heavy play. According to the manufacturer, the stick should get 17 hours of play on a single charge. Speaking of which, the charger is a strange USB cable where both ends match. I don’t recommend losing it.

Testing it on Metal Slug X and Vs. Super Mario Bros., this is a real joy. It is an authentic way to enjoy the influx of arcade classics hitting the Switch. With Ultra Street Fighter II, it’s a little bit of a different story. These buttons and the stick function well enough out of the box, but a more demanding player will want to swap the parts out. I have not attempted that, but it appears easy enough from the videos I’ve seen. If I do replace the buttons and stick, you can look forward to an instructional video here.

So we have our portable wireless stick. We also have many small scale arcade cabinet docks, but that does make things less portable. The idea here is to have a small setup to create an arcade experience anywhere. Now we need our games. There is Pokken Tournament and a treasure trove of old SNK titles, but let’s focus on what we really are here for. Ultra Street Fighter II is the flagship Switch fighting game for the moment, and next month, Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection will be joining the library followed by BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle in June and SNK Heroines in September.

We have our game, our stick, and of course our Switch. Now let’s go find our Los Angeles Switch Warriors.

-Kayla Owen
Southern California Regional Coverage, World Warriors