What are gaming peripherals? These are add on gear to make console and computer video gaming more accessible, more realistic and more fun. Consoles have been doing this for years, for the example the Nintendo Zapper back in the mid 80's, the P5 virtual reality game glove or the disappointing Virtual Boy. Not all gaming peripherals have been bad take for example the widely successful games and the peripherals that went with them like Dance Dance Revolution and the Guitar Hero Series.
But consoles aren't the only systems getting into the gaming peripheral act. Mark Ombrellaro, CEO of TN Games, has designed a new product for his company, the 3rd Space FPS Vest, a sophisticated contraption that you wear which allows you to feel the impact of your enemy's bullets and body slams.
Ombrellaro stated “Once [games] become that real,” he says, “you know you're going to want to interact with them and you're going to want them to interact with you.”
The 3rd Space FPS vest, sells for $169, how it work is that it houses eight contact points that are injected with air from a separate compressor. The effects that are produced are the following: point jabs, pulses and throbs which support events in a given compatible computer video game.
Right now the most compatible game that is coded for the Vest is the company's own Incursion and a special edition of Call of Duty 2.
The 3rd FPS Vest has software drivers that supply limited effects to games such as “Unreal Tournament 3,” “Crysis,” and “Medal of Honor: Airborne,” to name a few.
Another PC peripheral on the market is Phillips Electronics' Philips SGC5102BD amBX 2.1 PC Gaming Speaker System Peripherals ProGamer Kit (Includes 2 free games) which takes a multi sensory approach to pull you the gamer deeper into the game. The system includes two speakers with top mounted ambient light, wall washer desk fans and a rumble wrist. This PC System sells for $300 and can be bought on Amazon.com.
Games for the amBX PC System, include Supreme Commander and Quake 4. How it works is that the effects emanate from the game: red lights flash on the speakers as your character takes damage, wind from the fans buffets your face while you run and the wall behind your monitor glows with colors tuned to the game's environment.
People who tested the 3rd Space vest at first liked it. When first suiting up you might feel a little self-conscious one gamer tells us, “I nearly fell out of my chair after taking my first hit. The twitch in my chest was sharp and surprisingly strong.” The problem became that the sensation to gamers became more distracting and felt to much like a string of muscle spasms.
The Phillips' amBX PC System looks brighter in the gamers eyes. The effects that enhanced gamers experiences the most where the puffs of air from the fans when a character opened a door or a slight shift in the hue of the lighting from behind the monitor to compliment the surroundings in a new game scene.
So will gaming soon become like the commercial that PlayStation did for the fictional PlayStation 9 to advertise the PlayStation 2? Probably not, but the success of this new generation of gaming depends on the thoughtful game design as much as the new gear that comes with it. So if the game design doesn't gel with the new gear, the gear will just be thrown out and be another piece of expensive equipment used as a massive door stop.