Racing wheels, musical instruments, fighting sticks, dance mats and gun sticks are all items which have attempted to improve gaming by bringing it to a realistic level, away from the otherwise virtual gaming experience. Some are brought out as a means of making money and some are brought out to enhance the way in which we play and view video gaming as a whole. Which of these accessories have been a success though and which have truly changed the way in which we played games? I go through my top peripherals through my many years of gaming.
For me, racing wheels have always been very fun. The first ever racing wheel I ever owned was a standard model which featured two pedals, a steering wheel and a few buttons. Now though, you can almost buy every type of steering wheel imaginable such as Ferrari, Lamborghini or one mounted alongside bucket seats.
The first time I had experienced playing a racing game with a steering wheel, I was mesmerised. I was around 10 years old and was nowhere near old enough to drive a car. The thrill I got when I turned a corner, as unrealistic as it was in the PSOne days, was amazing and unlike anything I had ever played before. With racing games becoming far more realistic, games such as Forza and Gran Turismo feel more like driving than ever. Fun accessories for games such as Mario Kart are also extremely fun too and I believe that racing wheels take driving games onto a whole new level of fun.
To many, gaming made its name in Arcades. Arcades were a place to spend your loose change or your prized pocket money to prove to your friends and peers that you were the best at a certain game. It is no wonder that even today, many fans of fighting series such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat and Tekken still use fight sticks. Bringing the arcade into your home seems to be the chosen option for experienced or competitive fighting-fan gamers.
The way in which fighting games work, the fighting stick is far more suited to the movement you have to achieve. The 2D view and the way in which you can only move up, down, left or right prove that even with all the modern technology we find in gaming, the classic way of the fighting styles still have a place this generation and probably the next generation too.
If you have read some of my other articles, you will know that I was once an avid and occasional competitive Guitar Hero player. Even now I occasionally don the worn away Fender Stratocaster and play away to my favourite Green Day and Beatles songs. Of most families I know of, there has been at least one instance where they have experienced the entire Rock Band setup with drums and microphone or at least a guitar. The concept was extremely popular and why wouldn’t it be? It was a great game to learn, combining the love of music with video games and was brilliant to play with company also.
I believe that Rock band have created one of the best franchises of all time with their titles. The importing songs feature, constantly updating their downloadable content and also releasing different hardware to accommodate the player with more peripherals (although many never made it to the United Kingdom). Even if the genre is fading slightly, guitars, drums and microphones are still some of the best peripherals ever created.
Although my relationship with my Nintendo Wii was short lived, I could still appreciate one accessory which was brilliant. The console wasn’t for me. It seemed to be aimed at a younger generation, although Resident Evil 4 was released for the Wii and it is one of my favourite games of all time and was all because of the console. Although the gun wasn’t ideal for RE4, other games for the Wii were brilliant for Nintendo’s gun stick including House of the Dead, Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles and a few others.
Time Crisis also featured very good gun controllers but are mostly spoiled these days with a lack of variety in the gameplay. Not much has changed since the 90’s for the series. Even so, replica guns which you could shoot at your screen have always been a great variety in gaming, rather than left trigger to aim and right trigger to shoot.
Most of the examples of great gaming peripherals I have provided here began life in arcades. Maybe that says a thing or two about what’s missing these days in gaming. Far too much is focused on multiplayer, downloadable content and online passes. Perhaps we need to get into more about the fun aspect of gaming instead of the same old games clouding up our sunny skies.