Shika Arcades Sozu.S1 Review

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What is the Shika Arcades Sozu.S1?

Arcade sticks have been a part of the online game accent scene for the reason that early days of the . Today, purists will assume nothing of spending jaw-dropping quantities to attain the “good” interface expertise for titles resembling Street Fighter V, Dragon Ball FighterZ and Soulcalibur VI. However, the Sozu.S1 arcade stick – created by fledgling UK firm Shika Arcades – takes this admirable dedication to a complete new stage.

Constructed from architectural-grade bamboo and boasting industry-leading arcade componentry, it’s designed to be not solely the last word controller for the 16-bit Super Nintendo, but additionally a chunk of restricted version artwork that may gracefully age over time and enhance in worth. Precision-engineered and completed by hand, such decadence predictably doesn’t come low-cost; the Sozu.S1 prices an eye-watering £395.

Shika Arcades Sozu.S1 – Design

It isn’t on a regular basis you see a controller that’s made out of wooden, however the Sozu.S1 has been designed with greater than mere performance in thoughts; that is imagined to be an object of creative magnificence. Bamboo has been specifically chosen for its rugged traits, and has been CNC machined and hand-sanded for a really attractive appear and feel. It’s completed with a wax coating that retains moisture out of your sweaty palms at bay.

The Sozu.S1 is out there in two color schemes – Duotone and Natural – however the first batch of 100 is Duotone solely, so that you’ll have to attend till Shika Arcades has completed manufacturing and delivery these ‘First Edition’ models earlier than you may get your fingers on the opposite possibility.

The Duotone mannequin makes use of carbonised bamboo for a contrasting look, however irrespective of which you select, no two Sozu.S1 sticks shall be an identical. Each one is exclusive, as a result of that is bamboo we’re speaking about right here – you’ll be able to’t mass-produce that in a manufacturing facility.

On the highest of the controller you’ll discover six Sanwa-made motion buttons – organized within the tried-and-tested two-row configuration made well-known by Capcom’s Street Fighter II – in addition to a row of three switches that can help you toggle the button structure on the fly. There’s a Start and Select button, in addition to a Master Turbo dial. Recessed within the bottom-left nook is a brass Shika Arcades token, which is identical dimension as a 100 Yen coin.


On the underside of the Sozu.S1 are 4 rubber ft, which give the unit very good stability when it’s resting on a flat floor, in addition to a steel panel that shows the serial quantity. The cable that connects the controller to your SNES (or Japanese Super Famicom) is roofed in super-tough crimson braiding, and there’s a protecting cowl the place it joins the plug, for added energy.

Shika Arcades Sozu.S1 – Features

The Sozu.S1’s stick and buttons use super-responsive and hard-wearing micro-switched connections which are frequent within the arcade scene. Manufactured by Sanwa – a Japanese firm which, amongst different issues, specialises in coin-op and controller parts – they’re exact, sturdy and really, very noisy. Each push of the stick or press of a button ends in an audible “click on” because the micro-switch connects. It’s a sound that shall be immediately acquainted to anybody who remembers the golden period of arcades, however should you’re used to fashionable controllers then it is perhaps a bit overwhelming.

Noisiness apart, the Sanwa elements make sure that each motion and button enter feels unbelievable; the stick actually comes into its personal when taking part in fast-paced titles resembling Street Fighter II, Contra III or Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts.

If you’re taking part in an arcade shooter then the “Master Turbo” system shall be of curiosity. You can allow it with the flick of a swap and management the velocity with the CNC lathed aluminium management dial. The different row of switches – situated above the principle motion buttons – allow you to remap the controls, which is helpful if you would like a barely totally different structure for sure video games. The stick comes with a good set of directions that specify precisely how these options work.


When you’re spending the very best a part of £400 on a controller, you ideally need it to be appropriate with as many programs as potential – however the Sozu.S1 will solely connect with the SNES (and its Japanese equal, the Super Famicom). The plug is an identical to the one you’ll discover on these consoles – a very proprietary connection created by Nintendo – so there’s no likelihood of utilizing it along with your different retro programs (the Mega Drive, for instance, used an off-the-shelf 9-pin connector that was additionally discovered on the Master System, Amiga, C64 and different programs).

Had Shika Arcades gone for a multi-plug connector – and even included a USB possibility – then the Sozu.S1 could be extra interesting, however the firm has said its goal was to create the very best controller for the SNES. On the flip facet, had extra programs been supported, then the price of buy would have risen dramatically.


Usually, we’d scoff on the thought of spending £400 on a controller that may solely be used with a single (outdated) console, however the Sozu.S1 is rather more than only a easy gaming interface. It’s an funding that won’t solely enhance in worth as time goes on, however it can additionally age fantastically. In brief, it’s positive to grow to be the centerpiece of your classic gaming assortment.

Nevertheless, the price of entry is astronomical and it’s clear this isn’t going to be a product for everybody. If you’re fairly comfy experiencing the 16-bit golden period in your SNES Classic Edition, and don’t see the necessity to use authentic , you’re unlikely to see the attraction of a wood arcade stick that prices as a lot as a PS4 Pro.

However, retro gaming purists are prone to have positioned their preorder weeks in the past. The price could also be actually formidable, however this actually is the very best controller you may get for the unique SNES – a distinct segment accolade if ever there was one.

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