X-Arcade Joystick

Many may argue with me, but I think you can trace the origin of LAN Parties to the arcade. Some would point to multiplayer Doom or some could reach back as far as pong. Wherever you draw the line, LAN parties are about social gaming, and I think that first exploded with the mall arcade.

Everyone's scenario was different, but after begging my Mother to drop me and my friends off at the local arcade I would spend hours dropping quarters into large wood and Plexiglas boxes. 90% of my time in there was spent either watching others play or trying to kick the trash out of my opponent. These heated matches, usually over Street Fighter II in my case, were where trash talking was born.

There was a special etiquette that had to be observed: Your friends with whom you'd come could shout encouragement and make snide remarks about your opponents skills, but you yourself could say nothing, lest real fighting ensued. Your only means of expression during the game, besides gritted teeth and the steely-eyed look of total concentration, was the jerks of the stick and the pounding of the buttons.

Frustration after a lost game was only allowed, per the unwritten social rules of the rcade, to be expressed directly at the machine who's fault you were sure it was that you lost. Your friends could make remarks about the opponent, but only in the third person. You had to stick with repeated kicks to the machine itself, punches to the keys, and the final hard swat at the stick itself as you turned away.

This thing is designed to take a beating!

Why am I rehashing the violence of competitive arcade video gaming? Because during my review of Xgaming's X-Arcade stick, the feature I was most impressed with was its ability to deal with my frustration. Not my frustration at the stick itself, my frustration at the games ...which were the reason for my poor performance in the game, not my skill, of course.