RetroBlast! Review: "The Warrior" Joystick Handles by Dragon Joysticks
Review by Mitch Gerson
The lowly Joystick bat.
Is it the chic fashion statement that it appears to be….considering the number of choices that we seem to have lately?
Or is a Joystick handle just a joystick handle and it’s all about the mechanics of the stick itself including the switches ? DON’T even get me started over the whole Microswitch vs. Wico style contact switches.
The stick itself have become a subject of debate among gaming purists including such lively topics as: Bat Vs. Classic Ball Top, Sanwa Style Ball top vs. Ms. Pac Style 4 ways, Original Wico’s vs. EVERYONE etc. etc. etc.
Then….there is the whole new category of the metal stick replacements.
The latest entrant into this area is Dragonjoystick.com with their all “aircraft aluminum” sticks in black or silver serving as replacements for the Happ Competition (as of now they are only making handles as replacement for those only). (Happ Competition Joysticks exploded view: Happ Competition Detailed View)
Really. These sticks are truly beautiful. They’re light, super smooth and super shiny. I was really impressed in particular with the finish on the black handle and to the consistency of the color/shine.
Dragon Joysticks can be ordered in black or silver.
As per their website---
“They are made from 7075 aircraft aluminum. These joysticks snap back to center faster than your original HAPP competition sticks due to their lightweight. The slimmer form factor allows tighter control for games like Street Fighter II. All Joysticks come powder coated. So they are easy to keep looking new for a long time.“
They feel about the same as the existing Competition Bat Handle from Happ but I didn’t weigh them. They are the exact same length as you would expect as the Competition Handles from Happ but the diameter of the stick is smaller than the Happ making it a slimmer handle.
Side by side comparison of the black handle next to a stock competition handle.
It only takes a few seconds to swap out the existing bat handle with the dragon one. The hardest part as always is making sure you don’t lose track of that darn e-clip!
Competition Joystick e-clip assembly.
I installed mine into a custom controller I’ve built using a X-Arcade solo as the physical housing. I had swapped out the X-Arcade stick for a Happ Competition months ago so this was perfect for my play testing.
Silver Dragon Joystick Installed and ready to play!
They are cold to the touch (they are metal after all) and it does feel “different” from the Happ because it’s slightly slimmer….but I really like them and the look they give my control panel.
Game play is pretty much identical as you would expect to the original Happ handles (again they are a bit slimmer so they “feel” different) and since this is a cosmetic change you can easily change it back if you want to at any time.
These aren’t cheap considering that a brand new complete Competition Joystick from Happ runs $13.95 with a choice of colors, but you can’t knock the craftsmanship on these at all.
If you’re looking for a neat piece of home arcade “bling” this is it as far as I’m concerned.
The sticks are priced out as follows---
“The Warrior” bat handle
(silver or black)
Go ahead and treat yourself to at least one. Doesn’t your machine deserve the best?
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