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Should Hit Box controllers be banned in competitive fighting game tournaments?

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • September 1, 2022 at 1:10 p.m. PDT • Comments: 95

They've been around for over 10 years at this point, but Hit Box controllers have flared up as one of the fighting game community's hottest topics in recent times. As is usually the case, as popularity increases, so does scrutiny, and now that we're seeing more and more pro players sing the praises of and use these stick-less controllers at competitive events, cries for banning them have begun ringing out louder than ever.

Catalyst and I are tossing our two cents into the discussion with the latest episode of Talk and Block as we consider the reasons why some are calling for these new age controllers to be kept out of the tournament space, offer our personal thoughts on them as long time fighting game players, and more.

Hit Box controllers were a garage passion project created by a pair of Southern California brothers (you can read the full story right here) around 2010. They follow the same basic blueprint of an arcade stick, save for the stick itself which is replaced by buttons mapped to directional inputs.

There really is no denying that Hit Boxes do offer an advantage in speed, as the time it takes to press buttons is naturally shorter than the time it takes for a stick to travel from gate to gate. This advantage was recently highlighted to the public in this quick clip from Hit Box Dustin, one of the two brothers, himself:

This isn't technically new news, but it is the first time many in the FGC have seen this potential from the unique controller. Compare this four frame potential to the average speed one might pull off this same maneuver on a traditional fight stick (roughly 10-15 frames) and it's easy to see the advantage of one over the other.

Notable pros like BST|Daigo Umehara, BST|Fuudo, and Rohto|Tokido have also publicly acknowledged the advantages the Hit Box offers, causing more heads still to turn in the direction of the discussion.

The question now seems to stand as something along the lines of "Are the Hit Box advantages enough to warrant a ban?" or "Are these advantages so consistently strong that they detract from the significance of the competition?"

Add in the fact that there have been reports about players experiencing stress injuries after using Hit Boxes for extended periods, and it becomes even more apparent as to why this has become such a hot button issue as of late.

Check out the latest episode of Talk and Block via the embed below and let us know what you think about all of this afterwards. We'd greatly appreciate comments directly on the YouTube video (as well as a Like and Subscribe if you enjoy the content) but are happy to read them here as well.

Timestamps
00:00 - Intro, Ryu's 4 frame Critical Art
04:50 - Should we ban Hitboxes?
06:30 - Jumping to conclusions
11:40 - Advantages to playing on stick/pad vs. Hitbox
16:41 - Are we planning on making the jump to Hitbox?

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