A New Way To Fight: A Look At hitBOX
In August, fellow writer Lucy Niess and myself went to ReveLAtions 2012. For those of you who do not know what ReveLAtions 2012 was, it was a fighting game tournament that took place in Santa Monica, California. On the first day of the competition Lucy and I were sitting at a table drafting up our coverage strategy. We did notice one thing while figuring out our plans: the table we were using had a banner for a company called hitBOX. Naturally, our curiosities were sparked. We asked one of the tournament organizers what hitBOX sold and he told us it was a fight stick. We went back to formulating our plan of attack, assuming hitBOX was just another typical fight stick. Later when the representatives for hitBOX came up, all expectations were shattered. It was unlike anything we had ever seen.
(Uh? Where’s the stick?)
It was a stick-less fighting stick! Our minds were officially blown. Tons of questions raced through our head, but the main one was how does this thing work? The people who were running the booth said that later when they had set up we could give it a test drive. Score! Later on that day, Lucy and I were able to get in to the venue early as press. We went straight to the table where we had a hands-on look at this innovative product.
(Pokemon Fighting Game FTW!)
At first it was really funky to try to get used too. I had been a pad and stick player all my life, but I could tell that they were onto something here. After a while, combos flowed easier and I was able to pull of things more constantly. After playing around on UMVC3, Lucy and I asked the creators of this stick some questions. The first thing we asked was how they came up with the idea for this stick. He told us that he literally started the company from the ground up tinkering in his garage on arcade sticks. He came up with the idea from computer games, saying why not use keyboard style controls on a fighting game. Many fighting game players can tell you how frustrating it is to drop a combo because the stick registered a fireball motion (quarter circle) as opposed to a dragon punch (z motion).
(Stupid Ryu, you were supposed to do a Shoryuken!)
I can honestly say that after getting used to the control scheme, I never dropped a combo due to a misread input. This “arcade stick” truly puts the power in the players hands, as it does its best to remove that element of was it me or the stick? I would definitely give it a try, as I can foresee myself buying one in the future. The company offers two different models: one for PS3/Xbox360 and a dual model capable of playing on both. They also provide tutorials via YouTube. For those who want to up their game or try something new, the company’s website is here. For more information on fighting games and gaming peripherals, keep an eye out on Velocity Gamer in the future.