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Playtest: The Shaft Virtual Console joystick

Posted by Darren Calvert

As old school gamers on Wii the only thing we missed was a joystick peripheral for that authentic arcade feel

. Back in the days anyone who was serious about Street Fighter II on the SNES would have owned a Super Advantage joystick. The NEO GEO was famed for the quality of its joystick – indeed it was almost as big as the console itself. Why hasn’t Nintendo released an official joystick for the Wii yet?

Worry not retro fans because Overline Gaming have heard your cries and have created the Wii Shaft joystick to bring back the feel of the arcade into your own home. Phallic puns aside, we got our hands on one of these recently and have tested it out with some of our favourite Virtual Console games to see if it was any good.

Sadly the stick is wired so you’ll need to plug it into one of your Gamecube ports on the Wii. The manufacturer claims that this is because wireless controllers can have delays in response times which can cause problems on some games. We haven’t noticed anything like this with the Classic Controller ourselves but we’ll have to give them the benefit of the doubt on that score. At least it won’t chew up lots of batteries! The cable length is around 180cm so I could sit a decent distance away from my TV.

There are six large action buttons which map to Y, X, L, B, A, R. In addition to that there are start, select/Z and a turbo button so you can enable rapid fire on buttons of your choosing. At 28cm x 15cm it is just about the right size also.

The build quality is great and it feels really solid to use. Not only does it work for digital games like SFII which traditionally you controlled with a D-pad but it also works nicely on analogue games such as Mario Kart 64.

So how well did it do in our play test?

Super Mario Bros (NES) - The shaft performs nicely. You can really pound the jump button just like it used to be in the arcade. Happy times.

R-Type (TG16) – The Shaft works like a dream here. Controlling the R9 never felt so good. I even assigned a turbo function to the Y button so I could do rapid fire. I could still use the B button for charge attacks. Back of the net!

Starfox 64 (N64) - The analogue control works great, but there is nothing to use for a C-Stick unlike the classic controller so I can’t somersault or u-turn! FAIL

F-Zero X (N64) - Oh yes, now we’re in business. This game plays nicely with a stick. I got first place easily!

Shinobi III (MD) - The Megadrive button layout felt a little odd at first. B is ninja magic, A is action and X is jump. It would have been nice to swap X for R but once I got used to the layout it didn’t matter. Its not the Shaft’s fault is it?

Super SFII (SNES) - Now this was the true test, could I pull off a chain of hadokens consistently? Despite my joystick skills being a tad rusty I felt I did pretty good with the Shaft, I noticed a marked improvement over my performance with the D-pad. When I rested the stick on a chair and it was much easier to pull uppercuts and fireballs most of the time.

Super Smash Bros Brawl (Wii) - The game plays nicely with the Shaft. I preferred this to just using the Classic Controller which is what I normally use.

Viewtiful Joe (Gamecube) - I always wanted to play this game with a stick and the Shaft does a nice job, much better than the Gamecube controller.

On the whole we can heartily recommend this stick. It is comfortable to use for longer gaming sessions and does what it says on the tin (or plastic packaging!). If you are in the market for buying a joystick for your Wii you can’t go far wrong here.

You can buy the Shaft in white, black and pink colours direct from the Shaft website. They will set you back $39.95 for one or $69.95 for two which isn’t bad value for money we think. Shipping outside the USA is available at extra cost.

The alternatives to the Wii Shaft are the Neo Geo Stick 2 and the Hori Fighting Stick Wii but we haven't used either of those to date so cannot say how they compare.

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User Comments (51)

timp29

#1

timp29 said:

"Phallic puns aside" hahaha
Any old school street fighter player will be drooling over the shaft.

Waxxy

#3

Waxxy said:

I'll wait on the SNK stick. Seriously, who uses WIRED controllers anymore? Dumb.

DazzaAdmin

#4

Dazza said:

@romulo - I can't see the NeoGeo stick being too much use for SFII with only 4 large buttons. However for Neo Geo games it is going to be unbeatable isn't it? :p

Shame there aren't more Neo Geo games on the VC yet!

I don't think you'll be able to use the Hori or SNK joysticks to play Smash Bros Brawl though because it needs analogue controls! :(

Tim

#7

Tim said:

"The manufacturer claims that this is because wireless controllers can have delays in response times..."

Thats probably an excuse and what they really meant to say was its cheaper to get the license to make a gamecube controller than a wii controller or something like that.

I would like it if someone made a cable that would let you hook up the classic controller to the game cube ports so you could play gamecube games with the classic controller.

Ark

#8

Ark said:

@Tim

Actually, I think they are correct about the slowdown. My uncle grew up playing the NES, and "Punch Out!!" was one of his favorites. So I let him use the Wii-mote to play, and he said the timing for dodging was different. The same thing happened in Super Mario Bros. 2 in the bonus game where you stop the roulette. I know how masterful he is when it comes to retro games since he beats Zeldas, Castlevanias, etc. without dying(mainly since he lacked a life in high school :P), and his skill seemed to noticibly slip. He almost beat Mr.Dream though. :P

To me, 40 bucks seems expensive for a joystick like that, but I never felt the authentic experience. Classic fans should go for it. :D

Kelvin

#9

Kelvin said:

Waxxy, I still like to use wired controllers now and then. But then I'm old, and wireless is still futuristic and strange to my ancient eyes. :)

Will

#10

Will said:

Hmmm, while I aprove of an arcade joystick peripheral, Im not too impressed with the design. I like the six big buttons, and steel core stick is a great idea. But Im not feelin this wobbly wavey lookin base. Loved the square Neo-Geo design, but not this. The white looks like crap, but midnight black is pretty cool. $40? I'll pass on this, now if they released a Neo-Geo stick with six buttons and a steel core stick Id be all over that bad boy! :P

morphballer

#11

morphballer said:

lol I chuckled a few times reading that article. I guess it's a good thing the joystick is only available online as I would probably get some weird looks if I were to go to a retail store asking the guy behind the counter if he had a "black shaft" :D

lee1978

#12

lee1978 said:

not sure about the shaft, really like the neogeo stick and the hori stick. i used to have a hori stick for my ps2, and it was probably 1 of the best sticks ive ever used. ill probably get a hori, they are usually very good!

Ian_Daemon

#13

Ian_Daemon said:

The Hori Fighting Stick Wii DOES NOT work with Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Or at least it doesn't at my house.

lee1978

#14

lee1978 said:

oh, never mind, i wanted it more for the old school 2d fighters, street fighter, et al.
apart from not working with smash bros, is it any good?

Ian_Daemon

#15

Ian_Daemon said:

I dunno about the Hori stick. I returned it to the store that sold it to me with Brawl... (I didn't return Brawl. It's freakin' awesome.)

Mirokunite

#16

Mirokunite said:

Thats probably an excuse and what they really meant to say was its cheaper to get the license to make a gamecube controller than a wii controller or something like that.

Eh, not really. Back when wireless controllers where coming out for the PS1, and even the PS2 if the controller used a RF frequency (It may have been IR or something else) it experienced a lag. But either way having cords is not a bad thing. Saves on battery life, and never lags.

Shiryu

#17

Shiryu said:

I wish someone made a Wii addon to USB adpator so we could use all these great stuff on the PC (even the Nunchuk alone would be usefull to me!). Since the NeoGeo Stick only has 4 buttons, the Shaft truly is me #1 choice. I will pick it up ASAP. But I still dream of the SNES Joypad addon first...

Jupiter_Adept

#18

Jupiter_Adept said:

Meh. I wouldn't get it. I don't have enough games that would work well with it, I have 2 CCs, and I think I could get something better with $40.

DJ_Triforce

#22

DJ_Triforce said:

If they were wireless, I would've bought four of them right now... :( Oh well. Hopefully Nintendo releases something similar... and it would be nice if Nintendo release a N64 controller for the Wii... imagine an all white, Wii-styled N64 controller... beautiful.

Master_K

#25

Master_K said:

You guys list Super SFII Turbo (SNES) as one of the games. It doesn't exist! Only Super SFII and SFII Turbo were released for SNES. :P

JaredJ

#27

JaredJ said:

@ Dazza

You guys should do a review of the hori stick, for comparison purposes.

Kawaiipikachu

#28

Kawaiipikachu said:

Well my classic controller is fine by me .
It will most probably be $50..00 here in Australia $60-70.00 once you add the taxes so it would be about over double the classic controllers $29.95au price .

aut0matic

#29

aut0matic said:

will this work with the metal slug anthology for wii? that's a HUGE selling point for me.. if not, will any of the other 2 sticks be compatible?

starlac

#30

starlac said:

I'll quite happily stick with my X-Arcade joystick for these kind of at-the-arcade thrills.

Personally I don't believe a word about the so called "lag" problem, unless the wireless systems they were testing were terrible (or terribly outdated). There shouldn't be any more than about 20 nanoseconds of lag these days, with or without wires, pretty much undetectably for humans but just enough so that the console can process what you'll pressing. Sounds like a marketing ploy. :P

And I hate Blister packaging as well.

SmaMan

#31

SmaMan said:

I'd rather have that Super Famicom Wii controller that you said Play-Asia was going to start preorders for...but it's not there anymore!!! :((

Tim

#32

Tim said:

@ zss_shadow
Well, if your expert NES uncle thinks there is lag I won't argue with him because I'm not an expert myself at NES games. It is possible that after all these years he is a bit rusty if he hasn't been playing recently.(joking)

@ Mirokunite
They used IR prior to the 32bit era which required a clear line of sight like a TV remote. Early RF controllers used the low 900Mhz frequencies which wasn't quite enough for a lag free experience. Ever since they moved on to the higher 2.4Ghz range (WiFi) I think it has become a thing of the past. Unless of course you have a wireless device creating interference with the 2.4Ghz range.

Jace

#33

Jace said:

Reply to Shiryu:

There are a few different programs out there that will let you use your Wii Remote with your PC as long as you have a bluetooth antenna or a bluetooth dongle. Let the power of Google guide you.

Phalyn

#34

Phalyn said:

I got the Hori stick, and it was worth every penny. I just dont like how the Shaft here looks, So unless I get some kind of gift card, ill pass.

Big_Sexy

#35

Big_Sexy said:

Real competitive nuts can notice lags in wireless controllers that use radio frequencies. It becomes an issue particularly in fighting games, where being a half second off can mean the difference between a connected hit or a punishable whiff. (In case you're wondering, yeah. I'm one of them.)

While I enjoy using my WaveBird (I like the grips of the GC controllers) I've switched to using my Classic Controller for Brawl because Bluetooth has a lower lag difference than radio does. I don't notice any lag at all using the CC, even when compared to my wired GC controller. (as opposed to my WaveBird, grr...) So, I don't really understand where this "better than wireless" problem comes in - at least, with a Wiimote enabled hookup, anyway.

Also, the lag on Punchout!! is rather odd. I always assumed it was because I was used to Mike Tyson's Punchout!!, but it may be something else altogether. I doubt it's the controller's fault, but it could very well be.

Tim

#36

Tim said:

@Big=Sexy

Bluetooth operates in the 2.4Ghz range. The first Wavebirds released operated in the 900Mhz range. Maybe you have one of those. Nintendo eventually switch the Wavebird over to 2.4Ghz later on in its life cycle.

Clayfrd

#37

Clayfrd said:

@Dazza-
In sticking with tradition, I'd like to correct you. "Well I am a little rusty so I would say I did pretty good..." should say, "Well*,* I am a little rusty*,* so I would say I did pretty well." It's all in good fun! Anyway, the shaft looks very nice. Perhaps I can slip a birthday hint to someone... I would really like to play F-Zero X with it. Have you tried plugging it into a GCN?

DazzaAdmin

#38

Dazza said:

@Clayfrd - An American correcting my grammar again! I definitely need to resit my GCSE English exam now. :D

I don't have a GCN laying around to plug it into anymore but I am sure it will work just fine as it is essentially a Gamecube controller.

sailingtheseaoffools

#40

sailingtheseaoffools said:

For the one saying Punch out is lagging what av inputs are you using plus what type of TV? HDTVs have lag issues unless you use the right inputs plus certain ones have a game mode that disables what causes the lag or you have to do it yourself if the tv manufactorer allowed you to.

sailingtheseaoffools

#41

sailingtheseaoffools said:

" wonder how playing Resident Evil 4 would feel like?"

Wii version blows the old style controls out of the way. So why bother?

Clayfrd

#42

Clayfrd said:

@Dazza- Easy! I might just have to correct your morals! You ought not to stereotype! As you know, we Americans have a very clean history in terms of treating others equally. Alas, that is not true. Many of my fellow countrymen probably couldn't tell Mario from one of "those dern tuhrrists." Perhaps I am not helping my country's image by bashing it. That said, let it be known that not every American is as corrupt and "ill-advised" as our President!
I would also like to suggest that you improve your grammar if you want to continue being an internet journalist! I suppose I will have to let you off with a warning. I have been called "The English Language Cop" by a few of my friends and relatives, by the way. The main reason I am letting you off with a warning is because you seem to be awfully busy. Almost all of the recent articles have been written by you, unless I am mistaken. I believe I will have to correct my own mistake! My parallelism is awful! How could I change from active to passive voice like that? I digress.

I do not intend to be rude. Keep up the good work, and continue to keep us posted. By the way, have you heard about the next Mortal Kombat? It looks atrocious! Look it up if you haven't already. MKII would be a good game to use with the Shaft.

Bensei

#44

Bensei said:

Did it really take 5 months to get your shaft or do you think it won't take that long now?

DazzaAdmin

#45

Dazza said:

The Shaft had some delays in production but from what I understand they are now in stock and shipping normally.

Big_Sexy

#46

Big_Sexy said:

@Tim:
Well, no wonder. That's what I get for expecting things to be fine out the gate. This happened with Melee, too. Stupid Player's Choice edition.

...I hope it's not a trend.

stinssd

#48

stinssd said:

I'm waiting for an actual Wii-Zapper that plugs in through a GC port and looks something like an actual zapper, not an assault rifle. ;)

dark_moogle

#49

dark_moogle said:

Woo, love that this stick works with Gamecube games, since I'd rather play my disc copy of F Zero GX than download F Zero X. However, will Aussie see any of these arcade sticks in our stores (complete with over inflated Aus prices) or are we doomed to online purchasing?

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