Racing games and wheel controllers?

November 24th, 2007 · No Comments

During last year’s holiday season, Kimberly and I bought a PS/2 console after having visited her sister and playing Karaoke Revolution: Party! and having a blast. Our PS/2 console package included a game called Gran Turismo 4, which kind of languished in the back of a cabinet for quite a while. While cleaning up the media room, testing the new projector, etc. this came out and got inserted into the console because it’s one of the few games that we have that claims to output HD from the PS/2.

While it doesn’t really do 1080i HD, it turned out to be a pretty fun little time-waster of buying cars and racing them across various tracks. It seems quite a bit more like a ‘racing simulator’ than it does a ‘game’. They’ve put in lots of vehicle physics with variables like tire wear, tire temperature, friction, mileage, car weight, torque vs power curves, etc. Bumping off walls definitely does not get you the fastest time around the track! I’ve got a little campaign going where I’ve earned various racing licenses and competed in a couple race series and won some ‘prize’ cars. All this accomplished using the standard PS/2 controller. Believe me, it isn’t so easy to drive when all you have control of are accelerator on/off, braking on/off, turn left on/off, and turn right on/off. While it IS possible, it just isn’t easy, and Kimberly refused to play because of that difficulty.

Since we both like cars and motorcycles, and this game looks like it has potential, I went looking for a wheel and pedal controller for the PS/2. This led to a deep immersion in the world of Gran Turismo where I was shocked by the fact that the highly recommend Logitech wheel and pedal controller is $300! Not to mention the custom cockpit setups some people build out that include racing seats, windscreens, dashboards, and even cup holders! I ended up starting small and went with a Ferarri GT Thrustmaster controller that was on sale at Dell for $25. It doesn’t do 900 degress of range turn-lock to turn-lock, but it does have the force feedback feature and it isn’t too expensive to try out and see if it makes the ‘simulator’ easier to drive.

When it arrives, we’ll see how it effects the game experience. If it turns out well, perhaps Kimberly will like to play the game and we’ll end up doing something other than karaoke for once!

Tags: Games

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