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:
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.