While the trend may have started any earlier, the NES solidified the change from joysticks to control pads, at least in the home arena. 16-bit consoles continued this trend. While there were a fairly large variety of 3rd party controllers in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, there were few joysticks for consoles and few games that really benefited from having one.
However, there were a few exceptions. Street Fighter II for instance. I think that sometimes people forget just how big a game that was. I think it dominated popular culture more than any game since Pac-Man and produced the closest thing to something like "Pac-Man Fever" since, well, Pac-Man. There were no games more hyped than the 16-bit conversions of Street Fighter II. This was the game that proved to the world that you really could have arcade quality games at home. Sure, there were other near arcade perfect translations but none that equaled the popularity of Street Fighter II.
One of the consequences of this was that a whole industry of 6-button+ controllers was spawned which including arcade quality joysticks. The Super Nintendo already had 6-button controllers of course but two were shoulder buttons which were a little awkward for Street Fighter II. The Genesis was at a bigger disadvantage in that its standard controller had fewer buttons. If you really wanted the arcade experience of Street Fighter II at home then joysticks like the one in this ad were what you wanted. However, they were not cheap. This one doesn't even have a price listed but I imagine it was somewhere in the $80-$120 range depending on the quality of the components. I'm not familiar with this particular one but there were others that used actual arcade switches and they didn't come cheap. This was much higher quality stuff than the Advantage or Super Advantage joysticks that Nintendo produced. I imagine quite a few of those were snapped in half playing Street Fighter II.
Since Street Fighter II spawned a whole fighting game craze that really continues to this day, these joysticks had plenty of potential games to be used with in the coming years. For fighting game fans who wanted the arcade experience I'm sure they were well worth it.
The above ad is from the April 1993 issue of GameFan.
Check out some of my other recent retrogaming and retrocomputing posts!
Zzap!64 / Commodore Force (February 1993)
Batman: The Caped Crusader (Commodore 64)
SWATPro (Fall 1990)
Atari Age (July/August 1982)
Commander (June 1984)
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