E3 isn't just a time for reviewing software; it's a time for seeing the latest and greatest in videogame accessories and hardware as well.
My visit to Power A was not only enlightening, it also provided me a chance to open my mind a little bit about third-party accessories and the very real benefit they can provide to the gaming community.
First up with Power A was the new FUS1ON Tournament Controller for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Now here's a controller I love to have in my hands. As a gamer with a ton of joint problems, I immediately appreciated how light and compact the FUS1ON feels.
The buttons are repositioned in a more efficient layout that lessens hand strain simply by reducing the distance your fingers are constantly having to travel from button to button. Not only are the buttons closer together, but the stems on the analog sticks are shorter, too.
While I did not get to try the controller out on a fighting game, I can see how it would greatly improve performance simply by eliminating much of the time needed for the player's fingers to move between buttons. I think it stands to reason that other people with joint issues like my own will greatly appreciate the design.
While I was there, I decided to also check out the Moga, a new mobile phone attachment that adds a gamepad to your Android device. Five publishers have paired with Power A to distribute content that utilizes the gamepad: Sega, Namco Bandai, Gameloft (the folks behind this gem, and Six Guns, which I actually demoed with the Moga on a tablet), Atari, and Machineworks.
It can connect wirelessly to a tablet, and features a lightweight and easy to grip design, with a 24-hour battery life. It also fits easily in your pocket and can accommodate even the biggest Android phones at 78mm wide. Additionally, they will be featuring a Google Play app that will direct you specifically to the Moga-compatible titles. Sadly, they do not have a way to utilize backwards compatibility with games not yet adapted to Moga, unlike an upcoming device from Nyko.
The feel of the device is just about perfect: as it turns out, sometimes smaller is better. I played a few minutes of Virtua Tennis Challenge and loved the efficiency of the button layout. While the analog sticks could stand to rotate a bit more smoothly, that appears to be a problem they're working on. I found the side grips to be comfortable as well as useful. I also am just a bit too giddy about using a tablet as a game screen and wirelessly connecting the controller through Bluetooth. It works beautifully and changes my entire perception of the range of uses for a tablet.
This tool is very interesting to me not only as a person who'd like to see mobile games have options for a more fully fleshed out control scheme, but as someone who also is working on a mobile game in her spare time. The format and concept behind my game was chosen in part to skirt the lack of control options, and with Power A's new system, I could negate that all together.
This opens an entire new world of possibilities for mobile gamers. In general, I'd recommend looking at the Power A line-up and seeing if there's something for you. I would suggest starting with their new mini controllers.