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The JunkFood Arcades App Pushes Technological Boundaries


Recently I reviewed the Snack Box Micro by JunkFood Arcades, specifically the EVO edition from EVO 2022. As someone who was engaging in "leverless/stickless/all-buttons" for the first time, I was skeptical about how I would adjust. Thankfully, it was very easy to transition from traditional fight sticks to something that I could easily carry in a small travel case. Gone were the days of lugging a twenty-pound tank on my back to and from my locals, when this little guy could fit in a tote bag. Not only that, but execution barriers I struggled with in the past seemed to be easier to handle the more I played with the Micro.

In the review, I mentioned that in the Micro's current form, the LED lightings were distracting and attention drawing although they were very cool! It's just in a tournament setting, sometimes I just want to feel the immersion of bright LED lights when I'm slapping buttons frantically rather than idle. In previous Snack Box Micros, owners could edit their layout directly from the board itself. However, beginning in the Summer, JunkFood Arcades switched to a new board known as the M2. One of the new features of the M2 board is its wireless connectivity to work in tandem with the app.

You can change the name of your Micro as well to make it easier to detect should you have more than one

At the time, the app was still in development with final touches being made, and was officially submitted for review weeks later. In early October, the app known as JF Connect officially launched on iOS, with the Android version still going through Google's verification process. As someone with an Android, this did me no favors (Yay Google...) but, I did have access to an Apple device I use regularly for work purposes. So I decided to give the JFA app a try and see what new features unlocked for the small but capable Micro.

Right from the beginning, the Snack Box Micro needs to be connected to a power source in order to connect to the app. PlayStation 4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, or PC is fine as all of the changes made to the Micro will be made through the app. After connecting to a power source and entering edit mode, the app will sync and pair with the Micro. If this is your first time, you'll be greeted with a notification saying that the Micro is due for a firmware update. This is where the Micro's wireless capabilities come into play as it can also connect via WiFi.


Entering your WiFi SSID and password, the update process will begin! Or rather, it should begin. I quickly realized that the board is very finicky when it comes to WiFi connections. I tried using the office WiFi and it would connect, but it wouldn't download the firmware update from the app. Going to the JunkFood Arcades Discord for advice I researched that most WiFi securities will make connections with the Micro difficult.

Therefore it was suggested to use a mobile hotspot. After failing to connect even to the iPhone, I decided to use my Android as a hotspot instead. Miraculously (and thankfully because I had a headache after 30 minutes) it connected and the update was complete in less than a minute.

I mentioned that the main draw for me in using the app was adjusting the animations and with the JF Connect app, you can do that much and more. By default, the Micro cycles through all animations when left idle but it can be changed to various types including a "breathing" pattern, a "heartbeat" mode, and a "rainbow" effect.

While the colors for each animation are preset, there's one that uses the Primary color as a base. In the LED color menu, the primary and secondary LED colors can be changed. The primary color is the color of the LED when pressed and the secondary color is what it changes to seconds after it's pressed. Of course, this can also be toggled off by adjusting the brightness anywhere from 0% to 100%.

Lastly, the SOCD settings can be changed from its default setting to 2IP (Something I kept calling "Zip" because I cannot read...) I also mentioned this in the review, but as a refresher SOCD stands for Simultaneous Opposing Cardinal Directions. It's a situation where left and right or up and down are held at the same time, with resolutions differing depending on the setting. Under "Neutral" circumstances, the "Up" direction will always take priority if both buttons are held. If Left and Right are held, the inputs cancel each other out.

The other resolution currently present in the app is 2IP or Second Input Priority. It's also known as Last Input Priority depending on who is mentioning it. Basically, if the Left and Right buttons are held and the Right button is held second (or last), the Right direction takes priority and vice versa. The same effect happens for both the Up and Down buttons, making this resolution an absolute boon for charge characters. Imagine playing Guile and holding back, but pressing forward and using a Sonic Boom while still holding back. You're charging a second Sonic Boom literally on the same frame you let go of the first one.

While the whole "legality" of it all is different shades of grey, coming to a consensus that the neutral SOCD is the legal standard, it's cool that the option to change it is implemented with the push of a button. After testing it out on Tekken 7, I can safely say that the transition between the two modes was clean and instantaneous. As of right now, the Micro defaults to the Neutral SOCD upon changing its power source, but it's fun to mess around with different modes if you're doing say a combo video for example.

Overall, it sucks for Android users that they still have to wait a little bit longer (Yay Google...) but it will be well worth the wait to be able to give your Snack Box Micro the level of customization granted without opening the stick at all. Over time JunkFood Arcades will adjust and add new updates to the JF Connect app and I'll be sure to give a close eye on its progression when I can.

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