You ever see cool technology that you go "oh awesome!" but never bother to buy? Maybe a fancy mouse for your computer? A surround sound system? A fight stick or race wheel? Anything? Cause i have. I imagine everyone has. Except, i started buying them.
I'm probably about 15 years in to my gaming hobby, give or take a few years. I started gaming on the NES, continued with genesis, on to the Nintendo 64, then the PS2, Xbox, Gamecube, PC, 360, PS3, Wii, PSP, and sometimes the DS. Maybe not exactly in that order. I'd gone from being blown away by the realistic graphics of Mortal Kombat and Primal rage, to the amazing set pieces of Vanquish and Uncharted 2, and all in glorious HD. It's been a pretty good run so far, and one i don't see me easing up on anytime soons. Games and Swanny go hand in hand. So it is, and so shall it be.
It was however, only about a year and a half to two years ago (dunno exact date, don't care to look) when Street Fighter 4 was coming out and my excitement was rising, when I saw madcatz fight sticks and had an epiphany. I was over a decade deep in video games, and I'd spent every year of it, playing a game with a controller. So i decided, fuck it, It's time to change it up. I decided to buy the arcade sticks, order some parts to swap i out with, and played the hell out of street fighter! It quickly turned in to one of the most entertaining things I had done at the time as far as games go. I felt like i was discovering games again. It was new, exciting, fresh for me. I loved it. I was and still am mediocre at the best of times at street fighter, but it didn't stop me from playing it for almost 100 hours. (which is pretty rare for me)
So a little while after that, Forza 3 was on it's way out, and i was watching some videos for it and was eyeballin the steering wheels a bit. I figured, as much as i enjoyed the change of pace with a fighting game, a racing game with a wheel would probably be fantastic. And I was even more excited because i never really got to even do racing games at arcades too often. I looked in to it, decided I'd just buy the Microsoft wheel as the only other option was very expensive. I bought it, modified it with a steel ball bearing so that the wheel performed better in a number of ways, and had it ready to go for Forza 3's release.
Game came out, and i had a blast with it. I felt the cars now. It gave me feedback i never imagined, it was great! A little while after i decided to try driving the cars in manual, and so i took my Gallardo out to Nürburgring, and after a few moments, had one of the most exciting gaming experiences of my life. I had another refresher, when i decided to do manual with clutch, instead of just sequential. (the Microsoft wheel only had paddle shifters, so it's always sequential to an extent, but the clutch let me shift faster anyway) Recently F1 2010 landed, i picked it up, and again, new, exciting, and tense. And it really showed me how much i can enjoy a good racing game. Especially with the wheel.
So it was with a small amount of trepidation, i decided to go all out ($350) while i still could, and order a limited edition Fanatec race wheel that worked on Xbox, ps3, and Pc, and had all the bells and whistles that the Microsoft wheel didn't. Larger rotation radius, better force feedback, quieter wheel, the list goes on and on.
This bad boy...
Most people might find themselves wondering what makes, essentially, a toy racing wheel worth the price of a new console, or small tv. I can argue the things I mentioned above, which amount to it just being a damn impressive little bit of fun. Or the fact that it works on both consoles and pc, so I can in theory be using it for the next 5 years or more. But what ultimately sold me, is that the thing just looks fun!
I'm so excited to be able to race and have to actually shift. I'm excited to be able to go from 4th gear to 2nd immediately. I'm thrilled that i can spin the wheel 900º! And why? Outside just enjoying racing games a lot, it's because it's new and exciting to me!
You'd think this mindset might lead to me being all over Move, and Kinect and Wii's motion controls, but the short of it is no. I find em kinda foolish, and more than anything else fairly impractical for the most part. Especially Kinect, as far as it's gaming abilities at the moment.
Basically this boils down to as I've gotten older, and I've become more and more familiar with games, these toys have come to be a beautiful shot of fresh fun. It takes a step past the status quo, and puts my entertainment in a different place for me than it would normally be. It helps break the games up, and make them each a bit more unique.
I mean hell, one of my favorite purchases ever, was an almost hundred dollar mouse from logitech that works on any service, the most impressive of which, is glass. I bought it because i hate the fuck out of mousepads. And I've never looked back. It's great, love everything about it. I do however understand that some people might not put that much value in to their entertainment or tools. Or they might simply not be able to afford it. No one's made out of money, well...at least no one reading this is probably.
But, if you found yourself with some extra cash at some point, or with a few less responsibilities, and want to kick your fun back up a notch I gotta say, buy something! Whether it's a new hdtv, a nicer chair, whatever, do it! You just gotta go all out sometimes, if
Just...don't forget to feed the kid or something. read