The best all around solution I've found on the 360 has been the MadCatz SFIV pad. It has worked well for me in things like Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, Namco Museum Virtual Arcade, the Raiden Fighters Aces compilation, Raiden IV, the Game Room app, and a range of XBLA releases. Handles 8 way games just fine and is precise enough to navigate things like Amidar on the Game Room app without any issues.
Don't often even bother with my Hori 360 stick or my X-Arcade (Which is especially a pain to use on a 360) these days since the MadCatz gamepad is so much more convenient. In fact I like it so much that I also own a PS3 version and play nearly all my games that rely on digital control from the PSOne era into the PS3 era with it (Unlike you, I never liked Sony's d-pad design and often found it less than ideal).
[QUOTE=michaeld]Sounds to me like the new 360 controller with the transitional D-Pad is the best way to go. You get the better D-pad, an officially licensed product that's probably less likely to go bad quickly and, though you're not exactly looking for it, another full functioning 360 controller to use for all the games you may play on it. That, and it's probably cheaper than an arcade stick if cost is a factor.[/QUOTE]The only change MS made to the d-pad was the ability to change the shape of the surface you touch (The traditional MS style or a d-pad that resembles a Nintendo d-pad). The internals are identical and the reasons they don't work well reside there, not with the surface your thumb comes in contact with. That's also why interest in the thing pretty much deflated almost immediately after release when people realized it wasn't any better than what they already had.
After using it for awhile I noticed that the controls were not as tight as I remembered.So I went back to the 360 controller as a universal emulation controller,and I have to admit that new D pad is great for classic console emulation.I also find it much better then the original controllers D pad.And so do most people that some over and have tried it.
As far as a arcade stick for the 360 thats a tough one.You are not going to get quality with one of those pack in with a game sticks.I have heard the SF4 stick is ok,but im not a mad catz fan.Look to spending at least $150 for something of quality
I had a Hori Tekken 6 360 stick and it was terrible.Cheap construction,even cheaper parts.I ended up taking it apart and building my own homemade hitbox.It works with the 360 (obviously) but also works for MAME via the 360 wireless pc adapter.I will post a pic of it after.
[QUOTE=mesk]So I went back to the 360 controller as a universal emulation controller,and I have to admit that new D pad is great for classic console emulation.I also find it much better then the original controllers D pad.And so do most people that some over and have tried it.
And tear downs of it have confirmed that the internals are identical which means the lack of reliability will still be there. Go to an onscreen keyboard and use it for inputting characters. Every 360 gamepad I ever had couldn't be reliably expected to do more than 3-4 inputs in a row before not recognizing one. Not a big deal when inputting a redemption code with an onscreen keyboard, but a game killer when you want to use it for something like the XBLA release of Frogger when you see an opening and want to quickly cross 4 or 5 lanes of traffic.
On the off chance we're talking about two different things here, which new d-pad are you talking about? The transforming one or the other new one they had out for a while with 16 directions (Edit - Actually I think it was 64 directions come to think of it, never tried one since it saw a very limited release). I've been talking about the transforming one.
[QUOTE=mesk]As far as a arcade stick for the 360 thats a tough one.You are not going to get quality with one of those pack in with a game sticks.I have heard the SF4 stick is ok,but im not a mad catz fan.Look to spending at least $150 for something of quality[/QUOTE]
MadCatz builds quality stuff these days (At least with some of their product range). The more expensive version of the SF4 stick uses genuine arcade components, as do several other stick options for the 360.
[QUOTE=mesk]I had a Hori Tekken 6 360 stick and it was terrible.Cheap construction,even cheaper parts.[/QUOTE]
Yep, I have the same stick with DOA branding and was equally disappointed. Also saw releases with Virtua Fighter branding and without any game graphics. Best to stay away from this stick (I believe the company designation was EX2).
Most arcade stick options are of much higher quality than that on the 360. There are easily 4 or 5 options these days that will offer up things like utilizing actual arcade components, offer ease of upgrading, etc.