Video game fans from the 90s and beyond will fondly remember the name Mad Catz, for cheap controllers and for arcade sticks that didn’t break your bank (or your parents). They were the controllers and sticks you gave to your friend when they came over as player 2. They were the people who made gaming accessible, rather than a luxury and we will miss them dearly. Sad news passed that they filed for bankruptcy on Friday, so alas, the time has come to shut the door on their peripherals. You’ll still be able to get them for a little while, so grab some while you can. Here’s a reminder of what Mad Catz have done for the games industry and how much we’re going to miss them in the process. We’re going to need a new Mad Catz like company to come and fill this rather sad void…
When the news of Mad Catz bankruptcy broke, I told Joel who immediately said “I always wanted a Mad Catz Rat.” I remember these things were simply the bees knees of gaming mice. They were indeed pretty special, if a little over-engineered. Take the R.A.T.5 (pictured above) for instance; It’s hugely overengineered, but actually it’s a damn cool looking gaming mouse, with lots of extra buttons to give you the edge in your gaming. Well worth the investment!
This might be the meat and potatoes of what Mad Catz were well known for; their fight sticks were affordable and downright awesome to look at. These sticks didn’t do anything that broke the mould per se, but they were brilliant quality. These would last, but the price basically said as much – The most recent Tekken fight stick, the Tekken 7 TE 2+ costs a staggering $229.99 on pre-order right now. But as you can see above, it just looks fantastic. Different games had different fight sticks, specifically designed for that fighting game franchise. Honestly, if nothing else, the elite gamer in me would love to have one… But a gamepad does me just fine.
Speaking of gamepads, Mad Catz were well known for producing relatively cheap gamepads. This stopped later in their life, however back in the days of the PS2, you were able to pick up a gamepad for about £15 brand new from Mad Catz, compared to the £25-£30 you would normally have had to have paid for one. As such, they were a cheap alternative, so you could go and get yourself a player two over to play that new beat em up that you’ve oh so desperately wanted to play… Or more likely, to play a Tony Hawks game together.
Somewhat less memorable for Mad Catz were their headsets, which isn’t indictive of their quality. The headsets they produced were in fact very good; it’s just that they weren’t anything special. They were budget enough, but some of them were actually really good. Take for instance the Tritton ARK 100 series – Seriously good bits of kit and you paid a good price for them. The quality was superb and they also looked great. Between the PS4, XBox One and the PC models, you could look to spend between ~£55-£80 for one. But you can also go budget with Madcatz: F.R.E.Q.M headsets from £9.99? Bargain – Although when they first came out, they were pretty expensive!
Rock Band 4
The death knell for Mad Catz weirdly comes in the form of one of the most popular peripheral based games ever released. When Rock Band 4 was announced, Mad Catz worked in partnership with them to produce the peripherals – From the ‘replica’ guitars, to the drum kits. Rock Band had a good ally in making solid pieces of equipment which would last for a long time and Mad Catz seemingly had a major franchise to work with. The Mad Catz name might not litter your house completely, but at least they have been around for a long time to where most hardcore gamers will say “yeah, I remember them.” So it seemed like a match made in heaven. But as Mad Catz themselves said, their venture with Harmonix Rock Band was ‘incredibly disappointing’.
So that’s it – Another gaming legend is now gone. Sure, this isn’t going to hit the big headlines in gaming, at least whilst games like Mass Effect: Andromeda, Horizon Zero Dawn and consoles like the Nintendo Switch are still making waves. But there was something satisfying about Mad Catz – They made it so gaming was easy enough for everyone to entertain themselves and their friends with. Hopefully this article let you see what Mad Catz were all about, but if you also fondly remember their products, for better or worse, then why not share your thoughts in the comments below, or over n Facebook, Twitter or Reddit?