The Pokémon Arcade Fighter Has a Dumb Controller

Geez. I know that Namco is trying to make Pokkén accessible to lots of players, but a control pad? For a fighting game you play in arcades? Really?


Recently, Kotaku introduced this controller, along with several other new things revealed about the game.

According to Namco's Katsuhiro Harada, who heads up the Tekken team, the Pokkén controller is still in development. It has four face buttons, a directional pad, a start button, and L and R buttons. The red part of the controller lights up.

"We made it like this for people who like Pokémon and want to enjoy action like this, but might find it hard to use a joystick," said Harada.

Hard to use a joystick? I've never thought of one as being particular daunting, but perhaps that's just me... Or maybe it's the combination of a joystick and buttons? But still...


"It's easier to use [this controller] than you'd think," Harada added. "Usually, I play using a fight stick, but the controller suits this game."

If anything, the controller seems like it will make life easier for Namco to port the game.


Okay, to be fair, it's hard to say without testing out the controller. Also, Pokkén isn't a traditional one-on-one fighter.

But, even when the game was first announced last year, Namco's Harada said, "Whether you are a casual player, a regular player or a hardcore player, anyone who likes Pokémon can have fun." The game has been described as a Pokémon game for adults.


Joysticks are a huge part of arcade fighters and deeply ingrained as part of arcade culture. So, why combine Pokémon with Tekken if you're not going to provide a proper arcade experience? What's the point? Just to make it easier to port the game to consoles? Then, why release it in arcades?


Racking my brain, I can't think of an arcade game that uses a wired D-pad controller (if you know of one, please mention it in the comments). Ditching joysticks in favor of a pad is off-putting in an arcade environment. It's unnatural. Wired controllers are more of a demo kiosk thing, which makes Pokkén seem like it will be a demo you pay to play before the inevitable home console release.

To contact the author of this post, write to or find him on Twitter@Brian_Ashcraft.


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I for one do not use a Joystick/Analogue stick to play fighting games. I find the D-Pad a lot better since I don't inadvertently jump when I don't want to. The only game I use the Analogue stick for is Smash. That's only because the specials are simplified. I cannot pull of specials in games like Street Fighter with analogue. I see the benefits of this controller for people like me. At the arcade the Joystick feels more precise & maybe that's because I'm gripping the whole thing with my hand.....a home console analogue stick? Not so much!