The Wikipad GameVice straps to the sides of your iPad mini, adding buttons to your large screen. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
As a gamer, I want a controller with buttons. I lust after this new product category like I do any new gadget that I think will improve my gaming experience. I think that if you play games with any frequency, you’ll want them too.
Unfortunately, I also think the majority of mobile gamers are making do just fine with touch interfaces, thank you very much, and that these lust-worthy devices will soon find their way to the dustbin for most who buy them. Not because the controllers, including one that straps to the sides of your iPad mini like the loving embrace of an alien face-hugger, aren’t any good. On the contrary, these are solid, high-quality gaming peripherals that will make certain types of console-like games (platformers, open-world sandbox games, first-person shooters) much easier to play.
Microsoft brings the boom to E3 2014. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
LOS ANGELES — Microsoft has faced a perception problem ever since last year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. At this year’s E3 media briefing, however, everything the company said, did or showed was aimed squarely at fixing things.
“We listened to you, the gamers,” said Xbox director Phil Spencer to the crowd gathered here Monday. “This year, we’re only focusing on games.”
The next 90 minutes brought a fast-paced, booming litany of games, games, games. The wristbands given to every attendee at the Galen Auditorium flashed with colored lights to complement the onscreen demos and video game trailers. The speakers filled the room with so much sound that the hairs on the sides of my head moved when the explosions happened. And there were a lot of explosions.
The awe you feel will be cut fairly short. Photo: Sergey Galyonkin/CC
When my kids and I walked into a coffee shop one sunny day last month, we were greeted by a row of tables holding laptops with gaming demos.
My son gravitated toward the biggest display, a huge TV screen with a giant, face-obscuring set of goggles set in front of it. This was the Oculus Rift, the latest fad gaming device that places two stereoscopic images in front of your eyes to simulate virtual reality.
He slid the massive black eyewear onto his face, picked up the connected Xbox controller, and started moving his head around. The rest of us could see the game on the TV — an abstract shooting gallery in three dimensions, with my boy at the center, first-person style.
After about five minutes of waving his head around and pressing buttons on the controller, my son pushed the goggles up and off his head and said, “Dad, I think I’m going to be sick.”