Mad Katz brings Back Retro ControllerJim Louderback
For many gamers, the big hulking controllers of today are all they've known. Wielding these overstuffed, overweight and testosterone imbued controllers provide some of the only muscle tone many pasty gamers can show off. You may not know it, but game controllers haven't always been so big. Return with us to a simpler time, a lighter-weight time, with Mad Katz' new RetroCON.
Although thin and small, this new PS2 controller doesn't leave anything out. It includes analog, illuminated action buttons, a D-pad and the familiar two swivel sticks of the standard PS-2 controller. Two vibrating motors deliver all the bumps and jostles you'd expect, and it's even got rubberized grips to help keep you from dropping it when you get excited.
It's a neat concept, even if you're not playing retro games on your PS2. The all metal RetroCON will be available this summer for $24.99, in three colors – red, blue and silver. Xbox owners will have to wait – you won't be able to buy one for your platform until late this year or early next year. And GameCube fanboys are out of luck. Mad Katz won't be bringing its fun new stuff to that platform at all.
Illuminated Controller for Dark Gaming: Wouldn't you like your controller to radiate an eerie glow? Of course you would, and soon you can be the envy of all your friends with Mad Katz' new Lumicon LED Controller, due out this summer.
Based on the company's popular controller Lumicon controllers, these include what looked like four LED lights on the underside. When playing in the dark, they give the controller a neat, unearthly glow that emanates up from underneath, bathing your genital area in a swath of alien color, and then spreading out around the room.
It's a neat effect, if you go for that sort of thing. The PS2 version will sell for $19.99 and the Xbox one for $24.99. You'll be able to bathe your body in radiation in four colors: blue, red, green and orange. Again, GameCubers are out of luck, they'll just have to play in the dark.
First Universal Controller An Odd Idea: One of the drawbacks of owning multiple consoles is storing all those different controllers along with the units themselves. Even though Mad Katz' claims that its new Universal Controller – designed to work with the PS2, Xbox and GameCube – works great on all platforms, it still seems to me a product more designed for the retailer than for the gamer.
If Mad Katz' really wanted to decrease controller clutter, they would have included a switchable connection, so you could keep the controller plugged into all of your consoles simultaneously. Instead, to switch from, say, Xbox to PS2, you first have to unplug the Xbox adapter, and then plug in the PS2 one. Three adapter cables are included with the unit, which will most likely be eaten by the dog, or squirreled away by the baby within a week of getting the controller home.
It's a better idea for retailers who are tired of stocking a zillion different types of controllers for three different units. This gives them one package that will theoretically appeal to everyone. But even though the black unit felt firm and comfortable, I fear that this controller will be jack of all consoles, yet master of none. Mad Katz' has not yet set a price or ship date, but like the first Fords, it'll come in any color you want, as long as it's black.
Other Mad Katz News: The company also plans on releasing a wide range of other products, including:
GameSaves for Xbox and GameCube. With over 300 games saved at every level, stored on a PC CD, and a USB controller for your memory card, these will let you load up a saved game at a particular level, and then hop right into it. You'll be able to download new levels from the web, and even backup your existing saved games to your PC – which might be the most useful feature of all. No pricing has been set, but these will be available in August
Blaster: An HDTV compatible gun for your Xbox, it's $29.99 and available now
HDTV Universal System Selector: Connect up to four progressive scan game systems, DVD, VCR or more to a single component ready TV. $29.99 and available in late May.
GameShark SP for Game Boy Advance SP: Thousands of codes for your games, this device sits in between your cartridges and your unit. It extends downwards from the GBA SP, giving your hands something to rest on. $29.99, available in July 2003
GameShark 16MB Mega Memory for PS2: Store an additional 16MB fo codes and saved games, without using proprietary software. $29.99, available in June.
Beat Pad: Put on your boogie shoes – it's the first dance pad for the Xbox, due in October.
Copyright © 2003 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in ExtremeTech.