Everywhere you look today, games are striving to increase the player’s immersion. 3D accelerators are being made as fast and versatile as possible to power the most spectacular and realistic of graphics in today’s PC titles. Games are also taking advantage of 3D-positional audio enhancements designed to give the player the experience of having a full environment around him/her. Input devices now are even becoming input and output devices, as they provide tactile motion feedback, jerking and vibrating in response to events occurring in the game.
Some people feel that the force-feedback phenomenon has gone to slight extremes, judging by some of the devices we see on the market today. Aura Interactive, for instance, markets a line of seating pads that take audio feedback and scan the frequencies to provide force-feedback…well…to your rump. Now, when people say they’re kicking your ass in Unreal Tournament, they mean it. Even more bizarre is the iFeel mouse produced by Logitech. The iFeel mouse is designed for both the productivity-oriented and the gamer. Still, most hardcore gamers, myself included, scoff at the notion of a “force feedback mouse”. I’m more than willing for Logitech to prove me wrong, though. *hint* *hint*
Of all the force-feedback devices I’ve seen or heard of on the market, Evergreen’s RumbleFX headphones most took me by surprise. Upon hearing about this product, I suddenly had visions of myself wearing a neck brace. Thankfully, the RumbleFX headphones took me completely by surprise, in that not only were they orthopedically harmless, but they actually did enhance the game experience when I used them!