Hooked on Peripherals

Hooked on Peripherals

Okay. We all love when a game has smooth and responsive controls that are easy to grasp. And let’s face it, the Xbox One controller may just be the best control pad design ever. However, for that extra layer of immersion nothing is more fun than a good peripheral controller. Peripherals are nothing new and they aren’t all created equal either. They come in all shapes and sizes too. I remember back in my Atari days playing a game called Star Raiders. Clearly inspired by both Star Wars and Star Trek, Star Raiders utilized a joystick paired with a numerical keypad with a plastic overlay to access different systems of your spaceship’s computer system.

Navigation, shields, warp speed and more were all at the touch of your fingertips. Moving onto the Nintendo Entertainment System, Duck Hunt would have been a boring disaster if it wasn’t packaged with Nintendo’s Zapper light gun peripheral. The unfortunate aspect of peripheral controllers is that they are often very expensive while being completely one dimensional. I remember another game on the NES that made use of the light gun in not such a good way. Gumshoe was a side scrolling adventure where not only did you have to shoot enemies but you also had to shoot your own character to cause him to jump.

It was a strange mechanic to be sure. But let’s fast forward to modern peripherals. The quality and precision has come a long way from game systems of the past. I’ll admit that I was never sold on the attraction to peripherals simply because the expense versus the singular nature of the device always seemed to be too much. Recently Thrustmaster sent us their Hands on Throttle and Stick for the game Elite Dangerous for a review. Elite Dangerous is a fantastic game that plays well on a controller, especially Xbox’s Elite Controller with the paddles on the back. But after playing Elite Dangerous with the HoTaS One I won’t ever play it on a handheld controller again. After making the switch I’ve fallen in love with how much more of an immersive experience it is.

Flying Tigers now supports the HoTaS and Ace Combat 7 is looking over the horizon. So in my opinion shelling out the extra dough for the added immersion is worth the investment. I was so impressed with Thrustmasters flight peripheral that I actually went and splurged on their TMX Pro force feedback racing wheel. Again I was not disappointed. There are a fair amount of racing wheels available on the Xbox one so be sure and do your research as they vary quite a bit in terms of build quality, feature functionality, and so on. But even at the lowest of the low it will be quite a different experience from playing on the controller. There are quite a number of games that may seem ripe for a peripheral.

If there was a rod and reel controller I might even be tempted to play that fishing game that is currently on the Xbox Game Pass. Eurofishing I think it is? Anyway. Fishing just doesn’t sound appealing with a standard controller. In my opinion anyway. Ok now I know this is beating a dead horse but I really loved Kinect Sports. Every iteration. I’m not sure if the motion sensor actually qualifies as a peripheral controller but as with many of the other controller types I mentioned some games are truly gems while others seriously fall flat.

More often than not this is due to programming rather than the hardware itself. And/or user error. For now I’ve got my hopes up for Microsoft’s Hololens. I’ve got prayers that Microsoft resurrects the cancelled illumiroom project. And I’m hoping my wife will let me get a Simpit after I clean out the basement. What games did you love that used an alternate method of control rather than the standard game pad? Let us know in the comments below. And as always, happy gaming from all of us here at the Tavern

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Written by
Born in New Jersey across the Hudson from Manhattan, I've been playing games for over 30 years. I can confidently say that I've played at least one game on every console ever made. An accomplished Forza artist, I enjoy racing games, platformer/puzzlers, adventure/RPG's, sports titles, and arcade shooters, although I have been known to play some FPS's on occasion. JPep715 on Xbox and jpepek715 on Twitch, feel free to add or give me a follow.

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