Understanding Different Arcade Buttons in 5 Minutes

You’ve probably played an arcade game at some point in your life. Maybe it was a fighting game, racing game, or maybe something else. Maybe you won, maybe you lost. But one thing is for sure: no matter what kind of arcade game you played, you had to use buttons on the cabinet or panel to control the game.

There are lots and lots of different kinds of arcade buttons out there, and they all have different purposes and sizes. Which button should you use when building a custom cabinet or panel?

Arcade Buttons:

There are many different types of arcade buttons, which are also commonly referred to as “Sanwa” or “Happ” buttons. These are the most popular button choice amongst arcade game builders and arcade game enthusiasts. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and feature a metal spring plunger and microswitch.

You will be able to choose from momentary contact pushbuttons, illuminated pushbuttons, and gold leaf push buttons.

The momentary contact pushbuttons stay depressed as long as you keep your finger on them and then return to their original position when you release them. This type of button is usually used for action games such as Street Fighter, where you have to hold down the punch or kick button for an extended period of time to perform a special move.

The illuminated pushbuttons light up when they are depressed and turn off when they are released. This type of button is usually used for pinball machines and other games where the player needs to know exactly when they have pressed the button by seeing a visual indicator.

The gold leaf pushbutton features a metal plunger instead of a plastic plunger like our standard microswitch pushbuttons do.


You will find a wide variety of arcade buttons to choose from. Buttons come in different sizes, colors, and with different numbers of holes for mounting. Choose one that will suit you the best.

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