New hardware for Nintendo,
By Michael Ahlf
Daily Cougar Staff
Time to bring in reviews on something new,
a definite luxury: computer hardware. For this column, the focus is strictly
on gaming accessories -- the two best items out there for computer gamers
looking for the high end. These are items that couldnit disappoint gamers
no matter what, but be warned: they do cost a little more than standard
First up is the Hammerhead FX from Interact.
This is a high-feature gamepad fairly reminiscent of the PlayStation dual
shock line. It features a fully functional D-pad, two analog thumbsticks,
and 10 buttons. Itis not quite a dual shock pad, however, because itis
actually got more.
The Hammerheadis button configuration is
a mix between the N64 and PlayStation style: it has two up-top buttons,
two trigger-style (think the N64is Z-button), and six in the standard controller
If you have two AAA batteries, the Hammerheadis
best feature is enabled. It has two-channel rumble feedback, which works
with any force feedback game. The pad is a durable design, with heavier
plastic and much better construction than most PC gamepads available.
While the drivers that come with the Hammerhead
include a button re-mapping utility, I found that to be nearly useless.
The pad is versatile enough with the options between digital and analog
controls to handle anything from fighting/platform games to racing simulations
to flight simulations. Grade: B+
Next is the AirStik 2000 from VRStandard.
This is a standard flightstick with a new twist. It features a normal trigger
button, two side-mounted fire buttons, centrally located top hat and throttle
slider, and one more fire button right below the throttle.
On the right are another two buttons, corresponding
to left and right rudder movement for flight simulation games. The stick
has a six-foot-long USB connector, so it doesnit have to be placed anywhere
near the main computer module.
It also runs off of standard Microsoft
drivers, making it the only stick Iive ever seen to be completely compatible
with any game.
The form factor has one serious advantage
over Microsoft and Gravisi latest offerings: itis designed to be ambidextrous.
Lefties can pick this up without fear. The pad also has a very heavy base,
so users can feel free to be fairly rough with it on the stand without
fear that the stick will slide around.
The new touch VRStandard brought to the
stick was something completely new: it can be used in midair. Instead of
using the traditional stick sensors, they put sensors into the stick portion
that sense the tilt of the stick with relation to gravity.
This lets players get right into the action
of games. It also prevents a lot of strain normally associated with a flightstick:
taking the stick off its base, I could hold it out like a gun, rest my
arm on the desk, or find any other comfortable way to set it up so that
game play wasnit tiring.
The stick itself, in contrast to the base,
is incredibly light. This is good: it takes about three hours for players
to get tired from using it off the base.
Thereis almost no way a player could be
dissatisfied with the AirStik. Grade: A