Nyko's Free Fighter joystick was unveiled earlier today, and now that E3 2012 has officially begun, we decided we'd head out to the show floor and get our grubby mitts on the thing in person. Anyone who's spent time in an arcade will feel right at home laying hands on Free Fighter, as it uses authentic Sanwa Denshi components -- the buttons provide a pleasant, loose clicking sensation when pressed, and the stick itself is fluid, yet precise. We got a chance to play a bit of Soul Caliber with a pair of Nyko's controllers, where we found the programmable macros and turbo functions to be quite useful, given our meager digital fighting skills.
Setting macros up is easy peasy: simply press and hold one of the keys until it changes color from red to blue, then input over 20 directional or button commands as you like. Custom turbo creation is similarly simple, just press both the turbo key and button you want turbo-fied, then tap chosen button up to five times in the cadence of your choosing and you're good to go. These two features will appeal to novices, as they make fighting games more accessible, but it'll also help pros rack up combos, too. And for those who aren't into one-on-one combat, Nyko informed us that because of the Free Fighter's modular design, the company may make a compatible flight stick or other controller modules in the future.