Mousegun!

By Alec Meer on October 10th, 2008 at 5:42 pm.

You know what’s wrong with mice? They’re not enough like guns. An object designed to be moved across a flat surface isn’t much like an object designed to be waved in the air and fired at a man. Imagine!

Sporadically, well-intentioned (or money-intentioned) hardware designers attempt to correct this shocking disparity. A couple of years back, we had the Monster Gecko PistolMouse FPS, which was basically a toy gun glued to the top of a mouse. Well done, Gecko. Using it – for I have had the pleasure – proved even less like wielding a gun than did a normal mouse, as the placement of the sensor in the base meant the direction you moved the cursor in had essentially no bearing on where the gun muzzle was pointing. Aiming a gun and moving a mouse = completely different. Today though, I’ve been playing with another take on the concept, Zalman’s FPSGUN.

Now, Zalman usually specialise in PC cooling equipment – they do some splendidly effective CPU fans – and, to be a bit bastardly, I’m going to say they should probably stick to heatsinks from now on. Leave the mice to mice-makers, guys.

Superficially, FPSGUN at least understands that pistol’n'mouse are not two peas in a pod. Rather than going for Gecko’s ridiculous, if more masculine, novelty lighter look, it’s designed as a sort of upside-down space pistol (it sort of looks like a Shockwave bootleg), so mercifully the sensor is integrated into the ‘muzzle’ rather than being off in different parts of the mouse that don’t affect each other.

It’s not actually a bad design, and the fact that the sensor is some distance away from the grip – i.e. the part of the mouse you’re holding – does mean you can achieve larger turns with less hand movement. Plus the scroll wheel’s good and chunky, and changes colour when you change the DPI settings. I love things that change colour, me.

Unfortunately, I can barely type after using the thing, as it’s clearly been designed either by someone who’s never held anything in his hand before, or by someone with a vicious vendetta against PC gamers. The buttons, designed as handgrip-mounted triggers, are angular protrusions that dig into the fingers, the necessity for a constant claw-grip adds its own aches after a few minutes of use, and then there’s this:

OW

Whoever thought that putting this little ridged finger rest (or whatever the hell it’s supposed to be) here was a good idea should not be designing mice. Hell, they shouldn’t be allowed to even communicate with another human being, as they clearly have monstrous intentions to bring about extreme suffering. Only a child’s little finger could wrap around that, and only a kitten’s little finger could rest on it. So all it amounts to is a painful, pointless plastic lump forever pressing into your frail flesh. It’s a decent enough gaming mouse, responsitivity-wise. I played some Quake 3 and TF2 with this mouse, and frankly I didn’t do half badly, if I say so myself. But I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever use it again, because I’m now in genuine physical pain.

Mice are shaped as they are for a reason. Don’t screw with the classics, dammit.

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16 Comments »

  1. Rook says:

    Novint Falcon would probably be more suitable a mousegun design
    http://home.novint.com/

  2. mandrill says:

    After staring at the pictures for a while, rotating my head to bizarre angles and squinting at it sideways from 4 feet away, I still can’t figure out how you’re meant to hold the thing.
    How about a pic of you, or someone else if you’re feeling especially cruel, holding it so we can undertand how the thing is meant to work?
    Your text description of its use was of no assistance whatsoever.

  3. Dan Harris says:

    Word.

    I use a Logitech G5. They’re actually a bit old now, but still classic. Gotta love the ‘burnt rust’ orange/grey colour, or whatever the hell they called it.

    Oh, and the adjustable weight cartridge you slot in the bottom…LIKE A CLIP IN A PISTOL! ZOMG!!

    Moral is, stop trying to make a mouse that looks like a gun, and start making a gun disguised as a mouse.

  4. Butler` says:

    Just lol :p

    And yeah, the Falcon is pretty good. I’m working with one at University atm. Yeah, ‘working’.

  5. Erlam says:

    How does that Falcon do in FPS’? I’ve been intrigued ever since I saw it a few weeks ago.

  6. Maximum Fish says:

    Right now i’m enjoying the idea of playing the Sims with a mousegun…

  7. Rosti says:

    Honestly, I was expecting some sort of mouse-based projectile weapon. I’m not sure which is the worse of the two ideas, though.

  8. Alex Cox says:

    I wrote about this for PC Plus a little while ago — it really is a horrible, horrible thing. It’s like balancing your fist on a device specifically designed to stimulate every RSI-inflicted nerve all at once, all amplified because of that extra clutch sweaty gaming gives your crippled fingers. And I don’t think even proper gangsters have started holding their gats upside down.

  9. Yak Jazz says:

    One of my robotic servants is asking for his foot back.

  10. Radiant says:

    Quickshot 2…
    So after years teaching us to leave our flint and wood hewn joysticks and adopt mice they now want us to regress to using a Quickshot 2.
    Thank you pc peripheral makers why don’t you try and shove us back into our mums whilst you’re at it?

  11. yns88 says:

    Why did they bother with that whole contraption to make a gun-mouse but still make it optical? Isn’t the whole point that you shouldn’t be moving only horizontally?

    What should be done is a gyroscopic mouse shaped like a gun. This way, your hand movements are actually realistic. However, it still would feel weird, because your mouse movements don’t just correlate to aiming the gun, they also turn your character’s vision. In order to have a realistic gun aiming system, you need to have separate controls for aiming and turning, which just about nobody has done well in a game.

  12. Vanderdecken says:

    Oh lawl, and the website praises its ergonomics. PHAILGUN.

  13. ru says:

    the logitech air mouse (if it’s sensitive enough, i havent tried it myself) or the ms natural wireless laser mouse are two better, more gun-able mice.

  14. Daniel Rutter says:

    So all it amounts to is a painful, pointless plastic lump forever pressing into your frail flesh.

    Reminds me of the magnificently uncomfortable Belkin Nostromo N30.

  15. zima says:

    You know, this problem was already solved quite satisfiactonary…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GunCon