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Seimitsu vs Sanwa vs Happ - A Look at Arcade Buttons & Joysticks!


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Growing up playing games in Chuck E. Cheese's, Tower Pizza and my local arcade, I always loved the responsive feel of the leaf spring buttons and joysticks on arcade games. It wasn't just the feel of pizza grease on the joystick, it was that nice, solid "click" that you felt with these machines. The responsiveness, the click, the firmness of the extra strong springs. Most of these buttons, as I would come to find out later in life, were Happ buttons. As I began to play a greater variety of arcade games, particularly the Japanese "Candy Cabs", I noticed a distinct difference in buttons and joysticks.

If you own an arcade machine or have ever built or modified your own arcade stick, you're probably familiar with the different feel and responsiveness of these buttons - and why what might work great for one game, may not be the best choice for another! If you're new to arcade sticks or arcade machines, this will be useful!

Let's take a look at a side-by-side comparison of the differences between joysticks and buttons offered by the three major manufacturers: Seimitsu, Sanwa, and Suzo-Happ:



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I've built joysticks using Gamerfinger https://shop.gamerfinger.com/, Seimitsu, Sanwa, Crown, Hori, Suzo-Happ and iL (Industries Lorenzo) and I've experimented with different grams of force micro switches with the Suzo/Happ and iL buttons. Personally I like Crown SDB-202MX and Seimitsu PS-14 and PS-15 buttons the best.

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Industries Lorenzo (iL) used to manufacture the Happ buttons for many years. Unfortunately Suzo-Happ ended that relationship and has their new buttons made in China which are of a lesser quality. Of the two, I prefer the Industries Lorenzo buttons.

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iL joysticks and buttons are much higher quality built than Suzo/Happ. I improved my Happ Competition by replacing  the Actuator, Pivot & Z-Stop with iL parts that are made of nylon instead of the cheap PVC now used in the Suzo/Happ . It is now as silky smooth as my iL Eurosticks. Atari5200Guy, building joysticks with real arcade parts for your Atari 2600/7800 and A8s is easy as long as you can solder and have moderate mechanical skills. I've built many. The 8 ball stick has a OEM SMS controller board with a Seimitsu LS-32 joystick and Crown SDB 202MX buttons. I use it on my A5200 with Edladdin's Seagull adapter. The twin stick is for my A7800 and Genesis. It has 2 Sanwa JLW joysticks and Crown SDB-202MX buttons using Edladdin's Easy 7800 PCB kit and a Genesis MK-1470 controller PCB with the Seagull 78 adapter. The 8 Ball stick matches my CX53 which I've modified with 2 Seimitsu P-14 buttons to replace the original crappy dome switch buttons. I've been collecting arcade/fightsticks since 1982 and currently have 97, 41 of them which are modified with authentic arcade parts.


MitchStick 8-Ball Edition.jpg


Twin Stick Genesis-Atari 7800.jpg

8 ball Atari CX53.jpg

Edited by intellicolecovisonary
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