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by Billy Berghammer - August 27, 2002, 8:48 am EDT


Round 2...FIGHT! Billy takes the X-Arcade through the paces. Is it the ultimate arcade/fighting setup?

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I’ve been searching for the ultimate fighting stick solution for about a

year now, and haven’t been able to find something that was worth it. I love

fighting games in the arcade, but rarely at home due to the fact that I think

fighters are lacking on basic console controllers. So looking at the options at

stores, most available sticks only work on one system, or they’re cheap and

wouldn’t withstand severe playtime. With fighters like Soul Calibur 2, Capcom

Vs. SNK 2, and Tekken 4 on the way, I want to make sure I’m well prepared.

At the Twin Galaxies Video Game Festival, I met up with the people of

X-Gaming who make a home arcade unit called the X-Arcade. After playing Soul

Calibur and Virtua Fighter 4 for a couple minutes I was hooked. Note: I was

provided a beta-version of their GameCube adapter for this review.

The X-Arcade is a hefty unit. It’s over 2 feet long, and weighs around 10

pounds. It looks and feels like a real arcade part, because it is. The sticks

and buttons are sturdy arcade-grade parts, and for the most part act and feel

just like their arcade brethren. The buttons and stick are very comfortable. I

have the unit on my coffee table, and just lean over from the couch and can

comfortably play. Two-player is a bit cramped if you’re both sitting, but if

you are standing (and the X-arcade is on a platform of some sort) it’s more


For GameCube play, you attach the GameCube adapter to the serial cable, and

plug in the controller cables. You do have the option of using only one side if

you desire. The X-Arcade is only programmable when plugged into the PC, but for

console systems, there is a fixed button layout. Here’s how the GameCube

buttons map out:

X-Arcade GameCube layout

A, B, X, Y and Z are self explanatory, but the shoulder buttons are separated

with the shoulder button press, and the actual digital click (VR/SW buttons).

You can also toggle the stick to the D-pad (Z+R-VR), or even the C-stick (Z+R-SW).

Due to hardware limitations, you cannot make the right stick act as the C-stick.

This is unfortunate, because switching on the fly between the Analog to the

C-stick is too awkward to repeatedly. It can be done if necessary, but with

games like Super Mario Sunshine or Luigi’s Mansion, it’s a pain.

My main gripe is the GameCube button layout. This is the layout I would have


Y, X, L

B, A, R


For fighting games, I’d like the Z-trigger on the face instead of the side,

so I’d have the option of mapping something to it. With having the Z-trigger

on the side (left or right pinball buttons), it’s rendered worthless. The

GameCube controller already has less buttons than other consoles, so to be the

most efficient, I would toss out the click-actions and drop the Z-button on the

face of the X-Arcade. I prefer having the B and A buttons on the lower 3 as

well, so if I decide to play non-fighting style games with the X-arcade, the

layout would be closer to the GameCube layout.

I’ve tested the X-arcade with all types of games, but I think it mainly

excels with fighting games, with the exception of Super Smash Bros Melee. With

the current configuration, throws are difficult to do since the Z-trigger is the

side pinball button. It makes the game more difficult to play.

Unfortunately, the GameCube doesn’t have that many fighting games available

yet, but I did test it with both Bloody Roar: Primal Fury and Capcom Vs. SNK 2

EO. The X-Arcade performed well, but not entirely as I had hoped. In Bloody Roar

the shoulder buttons are used for strafing right or left. It’s not terrible,

but it’s not as fluid as the GameCube controller, since the game was designed

to be played with the GameCube controller. In the case of Capcom VS SNK 2 EO,

you lose one button to program something to, due to the fact that the Z-trigger

is on the left side of the unit. Either way, with some adjustments I feel that

the buttons are more responsive than the GameCube controller. Bloody Roar is ok,

and Capcom Vs. SNK EO plays really well, but would play even better with a

different button layout.

Arcade-style games like Beach Spikers, NFL Blitz, and NFL Hitz were also fun

and played like they would in the arcade, but adapting your skills, or the games

themselves, to the stick may take some extra time. Since the X-Arcade isn’t

programmable on consoles, it’s up to the games themselves to have complete

button configuration. Fighting games usually have full button configuration, but

many of the other non-fighting games don’t, so it’s really hit and miss when

it comes to other games. Obviously playing games like Super Mario Sunshine is

possible, but whether you really want to try it or not is up to you.

X-Gaming is currently in the process of redesigning the GameCube adapter to

make it more functional, and with a better button layout. If you are seriously

considering getting this peripheral, in a couple weeks this new design should be

available in stores, or directly from X-Gaming. I personally cannot wait.

With other consoles like the Dreamcast, Playstation 2, and the X-Arcade is an

absolute dream. I actually like playing the X-Arcade on my other consoles

outside of GameCube more due to the fact that the button layouts are different,

and there’s more mapping possibilities with Dreamcast, Playstation 2, and

X-Box controllers. All my old DC fighters have new life. Virtua Fighter 4 is now

tolerable to play, even with the horrific pixelization. I don’t have the X-Box

adapter yet, but I cannot wait to play Dead or Alive 3 with the X-Arcade. Not to

mention the countless arcade classics begging to be played with a solid Arcade


We don’t advocate emulation on Planet GameCube, but the X-Arcade is

basically your MAME (arcade emulation) or ZSNES (Super Nintendo Emulation) wet

dream. As I stated earlier, the X-Arcade is fully programmable when you plug it

in to your PC because it basically acts as a keyboard. All of your emulated

games, as you can imagine, play like an arcade would play them.

All of this comes at a price though. The X-Arcade with GameCube adapter

retails for $169.95, and separate adapters are around $29.95. It is a rather

large price tag, but it’s an investment in a product that has future

expandability. If the buttons or stick breaks, you can get a new part and

replace it. It’s more of a long-term investment in hardware, than just a

controller purchase. Personally I’m glad I have one, because I know I’ll

never need a fighting game/or arcade setup.

Even though it’s rather spendy, if you’re serious about your hardware,

the X-Arcade is a sweet setup. I’ve seen other similar devices designed just

for the PC that were more expensive. For GameCube-only owners, I’d wait for

the re-design of the adapter. The current layout works all right, but it could

work better and more efficiently. If you own multiple consoles, and you’re

into fighting games, or emulation, it’s a no brainer. X-Arcade truly brings

the arcade experience to your console.

Review Update:

I've just received the new design of the GameCube adapter with a much

improved button layout.  Here's how the new version looks:

After playing for a couple hours with Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance,

Ikaruga, and Capcom Vs. SNK EO, I'm absolutely thrilled with the redesign. 

This controller works flawlessly with the GameCube.  Especially for a title

like MK:DA, in comparison to using the GameCube's puny D-pad, you have a fully

functional arcade stick.  It's a fighters dream.

The only thing lacking

from making this unit perfect is the fact that it's not programmable.  Even

without the programmability, The X-arcade is the only way to play fighters and

arcade-style games on the GameCube, all other consoles, and your PC.  If

you've got the cash, the X-Arcade cannot be beat.


Appearance Comfort Quality Value Construction Final
8.5 9 10 10 8.5 9.5

Extremely simple styling. The unit is mainly black, but clean looking and not overly gaudy.


It’s very comfortable single player, but may be slightly cramped two-player. The sticks and overall button layout are solid.


The X-Arcade is a very sturdy and solid controller. If you or your friends are “button mashers” this unit can handle it. The parts are arcade grade, and can be replaced if necessary. The adapters are plastic, but aren’t flimsy or cheap.


A very well built controller, with high quality arcade parts. The unit is built well enough you could build a home arcade around it.


At $169.95 the X-Arcade is rather expensive, especially when you add two or more console adapters. Multiple console owners with some money to burn will get one of the best arcade setups available.


I really like the X-Arcade. I absolutely love this unit with my GameCube, PS2, and DC fighting games. At the end of the day, with its many uses and future expandability, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better home arcade setup.


  • Feels just like the arcade
  • High quality arcade parts
  • Tough and sturdy unit
  • Usable with all next-gen platforms, and PC
  • High price tag
Review Page 2: Conclusion

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Developer XGaming

Worldwide Releases

na: X-Arcade
Release Q3 2002

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