Friday, January 23, 2009

My First Foray into Gaming Accessories

As my nerd-dom continues to grow exponentially like a lizard exposed to gamma radiation I’m constantly seeking out new and interesting ways to expand on my gaming habits. So due to that and Circuit City liquidating their inventory I found myself the proud owner of my new Microsoft Sidewinder gaming mouse. I’ve never owned a PC gaming peripheral before and have been meaning to check out what all the hype is about. So once I got home I shined with delight as my new mouse’s LED lights glowed like the fires of PC hell and damnation ready to consume my foes. I now had a fearsome new gaming weapon, I would never run out of ammo, I would kill every boss, I could never die, I had an 80$ mouse.

At first I was happy that I had a “customizable” mouse in the sense that I could add or subtract small weights from an inner compartment to adjust the mouse’s weight and heft as well as replace the pads on the bottom to adjust its speed and tension as it moves over my mouse pad but after a couple of days I realized that I really genuinely do not care about those features. It’s a mouse; I will get acclimated to its heft without sending me into a frenzy over not being able to add 10 grams to it. As for the variable sliding pads I couldn’t notice any difference so I just put the black ones on since black is always your most badass option. Following the customization attempts I dug into programming its keys to suit my nerdy purposes. This may be the only time I’ll ever admit something like this but maybe I just don’t understand what the purpose of changing the left and right buttons to be anything other than left and right click? Is there really a need to have your primary button function as the space bar or some other pointless option? So I spent the better part of an hour learning how to set the macros for the only two (out of the advertised five) buttons worth programming and I have to say it’s not the best system. You set them as hotkeys for whatever other keys or commands you want and that’s it. Simple enough really except that the hotkeys that I want when I’m browsing the web are not the hotkeys I want when I’m playing game, or working on Photoshop. And while the concept of having a hotkey on my mouse that dumped my screen instantly to the desktop to hide any potential pornography in case my mother randomly decided to visit my house and lurk outside my window intrigued me, a button like that will only cause me headaches in the middle of a boss fight when suddenly I’m no longer engaging in an epic battle but am staring at my desktop art of Stargate Worlds concept art drawings. Basically what I want is programmable button groups. So I set it to group A and my two hotkeys go to the windows hotkeys, then group B is the gaming hotkeys and so forth. Now the three rapid change buttons the mouse comes with only affect the DPI setting which is nowhere near as useful as cycling between potential hotkey groupings. I change between my DPI settings in a neurotic attempt to justify owning this mouse and every time I do I quickly realize that I don’t need to adjust those settings. That’s never been an issue in the 20+ years I’ve been using computers.

So yeah, I own a “gaming mouse” now and while I have grown to enjoy the feel of it in my hand (that’s what she said) and enjoy it’s LED lights I don’t really understand the draw of “gaming” peripherals. Also, it’s LED lights don’t match the ones on my PC case… it’s embarrassing to be seen in public all mismatched like that.


aaron said...

Most peripherals seem silly and a waste of time, but I got an n52 game pad that I use to play WoW and I LOVE it! Been using it for 2 years now and can't imagine playing without it!

Epic Fail said...

I looked into stuff like that for my WoW'ing but ended up passing. Is there a pretty steep learning curve to get used to with those? For some reason I also like making WoW harder for myself than necessary. I have proudly played mod-free since the beginning.

aaron said...

It took me about 10 minutes to set the keys to how I like em, but that was it. It's really easy to set up and use, and it really does make a difference IMO. If not that, then try a Z-Board with a WoW keyset. I have one of those also and it's pretty good.