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[10/9/2007] QuasiCON 2 Player Arcade Stick Review

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Product: QuasiCON 2-Player Arcade Stick

Product Website: http://www.quasimoto.com/quasicon.php

Price: $249.99 (1-Player Stick is $149.99 USD)

 

[ To purchase the QuasiCON, contact Quasimoto ]

 

Product Supplier: Quasimoto Interactive

Review Author: GameCop

Digg it: http://digg.com/videos/gaming/Play_Halo_3_on_an_Arcade_Stick

Specifications

Tech Info:

Analog Buttons: 20

Digital Buttons: 4

8-way Digital Stick: 2

Analog Sticks: 4

 

Adapters (Included):

2 PlayStation

2 Xbox

2 GameCube

2 USB

- Introduction -

 

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What is the QuasiCON?

The QuasiCON is the only arcade controller on the planet that features analog buttons and joysticks required for next generation game play. The layout of the buttons and joysticks is intuitive and a backlit graphical legend helps guide you through game play. Each QuasiCON includes swappable legends for your specific game system. The QuasiCON is simple to connect and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. Whether you are playing a next generation games or classic arcade, the QuasiCON is designed for the best possible experience. The two player design features two cables coming from the back of the controller. These cables connect to your favorite game system's controller ports, such as the Playstation, Xbox, or even PC (through USB).

 

Each QuasiCON player has access to two analog joysticks, one 8-way digital arcade joystick, and over 10 pressure sensitive arcade buttons. The pressure sensitive buttons can detect 256 degrees of pressure.

 

The QuasiCON is also handicap friendly! The QuasiCON has received praise from the disabled community. People suffering fine motor disorders, such as those suffering from cerebral palsy find new life with the QuasiCON's large buttons and joysticks.

Before we begin the review, I want to personally apologize to Christopher Gerding, owner of Quasimoto, as this review was supposed to be done some time in August. Unfortunately, due to some real life issues, I’m finally completing this review in October. I'd also like to thank him for supplying the product to us for the review and for his patience.

 

The QuasiCON 2 Player Arcade Stick is a very unique device. The main focus of most people’s attention is surely its unusual design. It is one of the only arcade sticks on the market to have not only a digital stick, but also 2 analog sticks per player. This allows you to play games like Halo or Bioshock with an arcade stick! Christopher Gerding and his team at Quasimoto have spent quite a lot of time also making this stick friendly to people with disabilities. There are many adults and children all over the world who have limited use of their hands. They simply can not hold a regular gaming controller. However, the QuasiCON lets their dreams finally come true.

 

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While the name Quasimoto is well-known because of their Quasicade arcade cabinets, this doesn’t mean that their QuasiCON can’t be used as a stand-alone device. Not only does it come with screws to attach it to an official Quasicade cabinet, but it also includes two gaming adapters (allowing for 2 players) for the Playstation 1 / 2, XBOX, GameCube/Wii, and the PC. This allows you to connect the QuasiCON arcade stick to anyone of those aforementioned consoles. You can also purchase separate gaming adapters for the XBOX 360 and PS3 by contacting them on their website. Additionally, the QuasiCON comes with two slots for standard XBOX Memory Units. Towards the end of our review, we compare the QuasiCON against its biggest competitor, the X-Arcade Tankstick.

 

Lastly, some of you may be wondering why we are reviewing this device. Quite honestly, the answer is that 1Emulation is not only about console, but also arcade emulation. With the spark of CPS-3 emulation, never-ending MAME updates, and emulation of various other systems on the horizon, people will need a controller that can universally suit all of them.

 

- Opening the Box -

 

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Don't you love it when you see a package in front of your door? I sure do, especially when I know there isn't a bomb inside. The package was surprisingly enormous. It was taped up on all sides to perfection. It may not be called a "Tankstick", but at 28.6 pounds (13 kilograms), we know this is going to be a hefty device.

 

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As soon as we opened the device, we were delighted to find how neatly everything was placed. In the end, there was a whole big strip of bubble wrap to play with. Got to love it! There also was cardboard around the digital sticks to protect the top of the box being pushed in and destroying the stick. As you can see, a lot of thought was definitely put into the packaging. The accessories (gaming adapters + screws) are located in a separate box toward the bottom.

 

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Overall, we were extremely pleased at the precision used to make sure the device would not be damaged during shipping.

 

- Product Build -

 

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As previously stated in the introduction, the button and stick placement are very unique. At first glance, some may find it "too cluttered" compared to other arcade sticks. We agree that the stick has a lot of buttons and sticks, but there was also a lot of thought put into this design. After only one game of Street Fighter, we were astonished to see that never once did our arms hit any of the other analog sticks or buttons.

 

Another trait that someone might notice as "unusual" with this arcade stick is the height of the arcade buttons. The QuasiCON arcade buttons are not ordinary buttons, but they are "pressure sensitive buttons [that] can detect 256 degrees of pressure". Quasimoto has designed this product from the ground up and all buttons and sticks are completely custom made. To the people who are in love with specific desirable parts (ex: Happ, Sanwa, etc.) in arcade sticks, this may not be the product for you.

 

For example, if I press an ordinary digital button (not pressure sensitive), I will hear a quick click, and the height of the button will go completely "in" the stick. If I press a QuasiCON button, I can press it lightly and still here a click, press it hard and hear an almost silent click, and no matter how much force I press the button, it will (height of the button) never go completely "in" the device, but pretty close. The buttons are only pressure sensitive when connected to the gaming adapters (XBOX, PS1/PS2, or GameCube). They are NOT pressure sensitive while connected to the computer for playing MAME or other emulators/games. I contacted Quasimoto about this and their response was, "The only way to get the buttons to detect as analog (pressure sensitive) for PC is to use a PlayStation 2 to USB converter that supports analog (they do exist) but [we] don't think there are many games that will take advantage of this."

 

Also, the "Back/Select" and "Start" buttons are NOT pressure sensitive (they are digital buttons) and are only for use when connected to any game console except the PC. There is also a red LED light under the "Start" button which will light up ONLY when connected to one of those other game consoles besides the PC. We were disappointed to find these buttons non-functional for the PC only because we have to resort to other buttons to assign for “Credit” and “Start” while playing MAME or other games/emulators. As for these two buttons not having pressure sensitivity, we don't think it really matters.

 

Furthermore, all buttons except the “Back/Select” and “Start” buttons have built-in resistance in order to detect pressure, regardless if they act as digital buttons (not pressure sensitive) when connected to the PC. We will go further into this under the GamePlay section of this review.

 

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Now for the sticks! Each player gets three sticks to play with -- 1 digital stick and 2 analog sticks. The qualities of the analog sticks are amazing. They give you full 360 degrees of motion and they won't break anytime soon. The necks of the sticks are made with very hard metal and hard plastic on the top. It quickly fixes into the center position after you move it to the direction you wish. The only problem with it is that it can be a problem of rust in the future. We noticed some small blemishes of rust on the bottom of the stick. Regardless, we don't think this will ever hurt the game play or movement in anyway.

 

As for the digital stick, there isn't much to say about it. Although it's custom built, it's a classic 8-way American arcade stick. It's also very silent as you don't really hear much when you move it around or in a certain direction. This is an uncommon characteristic as you will find that other arcade sticks will make a clicking sound in each direction you move the digital stick. For the QuasiCON, the only thing you may hear is the stick stopping against the spaced diameter of wood.

 

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This arcade stick is extremely tough to break. With the limited lifetime warranty by Quasimoto, you will be certain that this arcade stick will last a very long time.

 

Now for the measurements of the unit -- the height from the unit to the ground is about 6 inches (15.24 centimeters)! This arcade sticks stands quite tall on your desk for its size. The width of the unit is about 27 inches (68.58 centimeters). I had to clear my entire desk to make space for it. Then again, if you decide to build an arcade cabinet or purchase a Quasicade -- that problem is eliminated.

 

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The uniqueness of this product never ceases to amaze me. The QuasiCON 2 Player arcade stick has 2 XBOX Memory Unit slots. This allows you to access your XBOX memory unit when you have the QuasiCON connected to your XBOX console. I was curious to see if you could access the XBOX memory unit on the computer when the QuasiCON is connected via USB. This would allow you to transfer games saves on the memory card. Unfortunately, Christopher Gerding has mentioned that this is currently impossible and is not a feature on the QuasiCON. Oh well, we can always buy an Action Replay instead for that kind of stuff.

 

- Accessory Build -

 

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As shown in the "Opening the Box" section, the accessories were located in a seperate box. Inside the separate box were all the gaming adapters for each console in its own separate plastic bag wrapped over another piece of cushion material. Also included were screws to attach it to an arcade cabinet. Quasimoto's professionalism with their packaging is paramount!

 

Again, as previously mentioned, the screws can be used to attach it easily to an official Quasimoto arcade cabinet, known as the Quasicade. Or if you desire to create your own custom arcade cabinet, the screws should be of good use for you to easily attach it to your unit. Overall, this is a wonderful quality that this arcade stick has.

 

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As said in introduction, there are 2 gaming adapters (1 for each player) for each console. The gaming adapters included are for the PC, XBOX, PS1/PS2, and GameCube/Wii. The adapters are made of high quality material and connect with a separate (included) serial cable that connects to the back of the QuasiCON. In the end, with the length of the adapter cable and serial cable -- you will have more than enough cable length to allow proper distance from the arcade stick and console/PC you decide to connect it to.

 

During our tests, the gaming adapters worked flawlessly with the gaming consoles we tested it with. There was no lag or stutter responses during game play.

 

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The QuasiCON also includes a set of "cards" for each console you decide to connect it to (PC, PS1/PS2, XBOX, GameCube/Wii). The cards tell you what each button corresponds with on the QuasiCON arcade stick. We found this to be an essential and useful addition to the stick. The cards are to be placed into the top of the arcade stick where there is a snap lid that lights up the card. More on this feature under "Setting up the unit."

 

- Setting Up The Unit -

 

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If you decide to connect the QuasiCON to your computer with the PC gaming adapter, the first thing you'll notice is that it's plug and play. The PC gaming adapter is simply a USB cable which connects to a serial cable and then finally to the back of your QuasiCON.

 

If you decide to connect both sides (players) on the QuasiCON, you will need 2 open USB ports on your computer which eventually connects to both serial ports available on the back of the QuasiCON. The minute you connect the device to your computers USB, it'll automatically install itself. The process is quick and easy with no CDs needed.

 

Please see the GamePlay section of this review if you want to know how to setup the button/key configurations.

 

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Another neat thing or perhaps an un-needed feature for an arcade stick is that there is no calibration needed. If both sides of the QuasiCON are connected -- it will be detected as 2 separate gaming controllers. The digital stick utilizes the POV (point of view hat) and the analog sticks use the Axes. We found it weird though that the first analog stick uses the X/Y axes box, but the 2nd analog stick uses the meters (Z axis and Z rotation). I figure this is there way of working around the Windows drivers as both analog sticks function the same. Nevertheless, this made no difference in gameplay.

 

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The lid on top of the arcade stick is for the gaming cards. What we love so much is that the base of the lid actually has an LED light underneath. Therefore, the cards light up the minute you plug in the QuasiCON to a console/PC for easy readability.

 

The first time we tried opening the lid -- we were met with a little trouble. The lid wouldn't open! After using some long nails from the Miss, we were able to pry it open from the middle crease under the lid. Thankfully, no nails were broken during the ordeal.

 

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Once we placed our preferred gaming card (PC card used in example), we closed the lid just enough so it wouldn't snap in again. This allows us to change the card much easier in the future. At the same time, we figure they may have done this on purpose so not just anyone can remove the gaming card. Once we plugged it in our console/PC, it gave us a beautiful bright white light! In fact, the light (LED) is so bright in the dark -- that if the QuasiCON is connected to my PC and I decide to leave the computer on for the night -- I have to place a small book over it when I decide to sleep. Otherwise, it turns into a night light.

 

Perhaps in the future, a switch to turn off/on the back light would be a good addition. However, if you’re worried about the light dying out, Quasimoto has told us that they have never had a case of that happening! Therefore, it is a very long lasting LED light.

 

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There are 2 serial ports for each side/player on the back of the QuasiCON.

 

Here's the way it works:

 

Gaming Adapter -> Serial Cable -> Serial Port on QuasiCON

 

We found this to be a very efficient method because we won't have to reach on the back of the QuasiCON to connect a gaming adapter. Just remove the gaming adapter from the back end of the serial cable and swap! Since the serial cable is so long, this way worked great!

 

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Once again, we wanted to highlight Quasimoto's concern for their customers. You'd have to be blind not to notice these yellow stickers on the serial cable to warn you to NEVER, NEVER .... EEVVVVEEERRRRR connect the QuasiCON to the console/PC when they are on. Just don't do it!

 

- GamePlay -

 

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Configuring the QuasiCON for emulators and games proved to be a very easy task. As long as the emulator or game had an option to configure the buttons with a joystick or game controller (almost all popular ones do), we were able to set the buttons and analog/digital arcade sticks accordingly.

 

In our example above, you can see what the button configuration would look like if you setup the controls for the left side (Player 1) of the arcade stick. We used the forward and downward directions on the left analog stick to act as the "Coin" and "Start" buttons. Pretty nifty, eh?

 

For MAME, all one has to do is press "TAB" during gameplay and set the controls with their QuasiCON. For moving characters, etc. -- you can choose to use the digital stick or one of the analog sticks as well!

 

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One gripe we have with the QuasiCON during gameplay is with fighting games. Since fighting games require repetitive button pushing, we found ourselves experiencing fatigue instantaneously while playing on the QuasiCON. Since the buttons are equipped with resistance for pressure sensitivity, you'll find your hands getting tired much faster than on a regular arcade stick. In fact, all that energy would be wasted; because as we have previously mentioned, there is no pressure sensitivity detected while connected to the computer.

 

We also noticed that if we wanted to specific motions, such as Ryu's "Hadoken" in Street Fighter, the diagonal inputs were a bit of an problem. Even though the digital stick is a completely conventional American 8-way stick, it took us a little bit of work to get used to it. This can be because we are used to specific brand sticks, whereas these sticks are made from custom Quasimoto parts.

 

- Vs. X-Arcade Tankstick -

 

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The X-Arcade Tankstick, by XGaming is probably the biggest competitor against the QuasiCON. Don't get us wrong, both are great arcade sticks. However, we're going to do a little comparing and contrasting since we're happy to have both units.

 

QuasiCON (Features the Tankstick DOESN'T have)

- Price: $249.99

- 4 Analog Sticks

- Pressure Sensitive Buttons

- Up to 24 playable buttons (20 on computer) -- None on the side

- Comes with 2 adapters for the PC, XBOX, PS1/PS2, GameCube/Wii

 

X-Arcade Tankstick (Features the Quasicon DOESN'T have)

- Price: $199.99

- Trackball

- Up to 22 playable buttons (Not pressure sensitive) -- Includes 4 side buttons for pinball, etc.

- 2 Non-Playable buttons for button programming

- PC adapter / USB connection is built in the unit

- Comes with no additional adapters (Each additional adapter is $19.99)

 

The biggest differences are probably the trackball and analog sticks. With the X-Arcade Tankstick, since you don't have the analog sticks -- some games are much harder to play. In fact, Halo for the XBOX would be almost impossible to play with the Tankstick without the analog sticks. You can however change the digital stick to act as an analog stick for other games connected to game consoles (except PC) that don't utilize the right stick on the gamepad. The trackball is a priceless edition for the Tankstick as it allows you to play the classics (ex: Frogger, Centipede, etc.) that utilized the trackball decades ago.

 

Another important difference between the two, is that the X-Arcade Tankstick button inputs act like a keyboard rather then a traditional Windows compatible game controller. This means that if you press a button or move the digital stick to a direction on the Tankstick, the computer will think you pressed a letter on the keyboard. We find this method to be quite primitive nowadays. It proves the fact that buttons are not pressure sensitive (for gaming consoles as well).

 

The button programming feature on the Tankstick is only for the PC. Again, since the Tankstick acts as a keyboard, sometimes people would want a certain button to act as a different letter on the keyboard. The feature is not for connecting other game consoles. At the same time, since the QuasiCON acts as a game controller (most efficient method), the button programming is completely unnecessary.

 

The last thing the QuasiCON lacks is side buttons. The Tankstick has 2 side buttons on both sides of the arcade stick for Pinball games, etc. This can prove to be a better arcade feel for those types of games.

 

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The following images above give you the best comparison on the button heights for both arcade sticks. As you can see the QuasiCON buttons are much higher in comparison to the Tankstick for pressure sensitivity.

 

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One problem I have with the X-Arcade Tankstick is that there are 2 dangling wires coming out of the stick. I find this to be a nuisance if I ever want to move the arcade stick. However, with the QuasiCON, you can completely disconnect all wires from the back of the serial ports -- much like a PC monitor.

 

Yet, another difference I noticed was the height of both the units off the ground. The QuasiCON measures about 6 inches (15.24 centimeters) from the ground whereas the Tankstick measures about 5 inches (12.7 centimeters). Even though it was an inch, I really felt the difference, and had to adjust my chair accordingly.

 

If you do the math, and ignore the major differences in the sticks, the QuasiCON is $10 less than the Tankstick. If you were to get the X-Arcade Tankstick with the extra adapters (XBOX, PS1/PS2, GameCube/Wii) – the price of the unit would approximately jump to $260. ($260-$250 = $10)

 

As of the September 2007 newsletter of XGaming, manufacture of X-Arcade products, there will be no XBOX 360 gaming adapters available due to Microsoft licensing issues. However, as we have mentioned in the introduction, Quasimoto are selling XBOX 360 adapters for their QuasiCON. I have been told that the XBOX 360 adapter is relatively more expensive than all of their other adapters because of its complexity. If you’re concerned about the Playstation 3, both companies offer the adapters for it at their regular price.

 

Although this is a review for the QuasiCON, both sticks have a lifetime warranty (although a little different in the fine print), and are wonderful products. In the end, it matters on what your wants are in an arcade stick!

 

- Notes -

 

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For the particular unit we received, there was unfortunately a crack on the side of the QuasiCON. Personally, I think it was a minor production issue because it doesn't look like it occurred during shipping by the way the wood is protruding outward (and not inward). But after talking to Christopher Gerding, he mentioned there is a possibility that we received a refurbished unit or it was damaged during shipping. If we did receive a refurbished unit, (besides the crack) it was completely un-noticeable.

 

- Conclusion -

 

Price: 8.0

The price of the product is very expensive. However, you're also getting everything you need in an arcade stick. We hope we'll see the 2-Player sticks eventually drop in price. If you can't afford it for $250, Quasimoto offers their 1-Player QuasiCON for $150.

 

Quality: 9.0

The quality of the arcade stick is superb. Made of very tough wood, you can lean on it as much as you want! However, we noticed that over the last 2 months, the buttons have been loosening. This is a common problem with arcade sticks and it is prevalent in our X-Arcade Tankstick as well. Luckily, it's an easy problem to fix by simply opening up the back of the arcade stick and tightening the button knobs.

 

Compatibility: 10

What makes the QuasiCON so spectacular is that it's compatible with virtually every game console mostly still selling. Those game consoles are the XBOX, XBOX 360, GameCube, Wii, Playstation 1, Playstation 2, and Playstation 3! Such fabulous compatibility can deserve nothing lower than a 10!

 

Design: 8.5

Although many find the design of the arcade stick a bit unorthodox, it was built with a lot of reason. Remember, this is the only arcade stick that was built to be handicap friendly. You will not find any other arcade stick with analog sticks (2 for that matter) as well! Many think that perhaps your arm will clash with other buttons or sticks while playing this unit, but it has never happened to us. We were also very pleased with the addition of the gaming card lid and the XBOX Memory Unit slots. However, the resistance (for 256 degrees of pressure) and height of the buttons were unfortunately not pleasant and caused rapid fatigue while playing fighting games. And again, the pressure sensitivity is not for PC/MAME.

 

Features: 9.5

The features of this arcade stick are completely 21st century. The buttons inhibit 256 degrees of pressure when the QuasiCON is connected to any game console except the PC. The analog sticks allow you to play games like Halo and Bioshock which has never been possible before with an arcade stick. It also includes the classic, conventional 8-way digital stick. It comes with 2 gaming adapters (per player) for the XBOX, PS1/PS2, and PC. The only thing one might find it lacks is a trackball and side buttons for pinball games.

 

# Final Rating (rounded) #

 

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Special thanks to Agozer, iq_132, Robert, and Wizard for proofreading the review!

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nice review

 

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the part about the methods of input. In this day an age, the reality is that it doesn't matter at all, every program is compatible with either method but TECHNICALLY the keyboard method is better, simply because it will allow you to use the controller with any application/old games that don't support controller inputs. You probably remember back in the Windows 95 days when you went to play a game and you had to check to see if it supported joysticks. Same thing. But again, all a moot point being that emulators support either way.

 

Still on the fence over this or the x-arcade, i like the build quality and the look of the Quasi much better, But i was thinking more the 2 player x-arcade stick, I wish Quasi made a more basic arcade stick without the analogs and all that other stuff.

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nice review

 

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the part about the methods of input. In this day an age, the reality is that it doesn't matter at all, every program is compatible with either method but TECHNICALLY the keyboard method is better, simply because it will allow you to use the controller with any application/old games that don't support controller inputs. You probably remember back in the Windows 95 days when you went to play a game and you had to check to see if it supported joysticks. Same thing. But again, all a moot point being that emulators support either way.

 

Still on the fence over this or the x-arcade, i like the build quality and the look of the Quasi much better, But i was thinking more the 2 player x-arcade stick, I wish Quasi made a more basic arcade stick without the analogs and all that other stuff.

I was thinking about that ... especially with being able to use Joy2Key. However, I still believe it's a primitive way of doing things. I also wouldn't be surprised if there is a program out there that would convert game controller inputs to keyboard inputs. :P

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Why no DreamCast connectivity??? They have PS1 and left out DC???

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Why no DreamCast connectivity??? They have PS1 and left out DC???

Sorry, Quasimoto doesn't offer any DreamCast adapters.

 

However, XGaming does offer it for the X-Arcade and you can check it out here.

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/me pimp slaps the price and forced bundling of adapters that would otherwise lower the price.

 

What if I don't want all those adapters? Why should I pay for them.

 

Also, there is no need for a digital stick in addition to 2 analog sticks, there are dual mode sticks out there. Put a dual mode on the left stick, voila. This would also lower the price, even if not by a significant amount.

 

P.S. The "clicking" in joysticks, is due to the use of cherry microswitches. I prefer to hear that click, and know that my switches are still in good working order. No click, me need new switch.

 

P.S.S. The crack in the unit looks like it has been dropped on that corner, with the T-Moulding saving impact damage to the corner, but cracking the wood on the side.

 

FN: Optional adapters, dual mode sticks and no pressure sensitive buttons (I'm sorry, but GTFO......nobody uses them on current or past consoles, they just don't work as intended!) would lower the price enough to make this unit far more attractive than the Tankstick.

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Also, there is no need for a digital stick in addition to 2 analog sticks, there are dual mode sticks out there. Put a dual mode on the left stick, voila. This would also lower the price, even if not by a significant amount.

As I stated in the review, you can switch the X-Arcade digital stick to act as an analog stick while connecting to to other game consoles, except the PC. However, this still doesn't enable you to play games like Halo and such because you still need to emulate (err.. give me another word) the right stick! Therefore, that is the reason for the 2 analog sticks on the QuasiCON.

 

But you're right, if they wanted to, they could have put 1 analog stick and made the digital stick a dual mode stick like the X-Arcade. However, I personally like it better with 2 analog sticks as it matches the gamepad idea more precisely (1 D-Pad, 2 Analog Joysticks). And remember, Quasimoto is also trying to appeal to handicaps as well.

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It's just better to say the bad pun then to avoid it at all.

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It's just better to say the bad pun then to avoid it at all.

I respect everyone's opinion and only question what is necessary.

 

There is no need for me to address it. :)

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Nice review there GC. A bit pricey but a nice controller none the less. I just may buy me one.

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