Digital Review

Playing For Keeps

Ahhh, summer. A time for communing with nature in all her sun-drenched glory. Or wasting away the afternoon discussing matters great and small. Or sitting in a darkened basement looking for new ways to beat Vice City. It is for you, pale reader, that we offer this list of products. Taking a cue from the famously verbose purveyor of quality clothing, we give you the gaming gadgets of summer, a la J. Peterman.

ALIENWARE AREA-51m GAMING COMPUTER Laptop...the word conjures images of cheerful girls cavorting about in ''gentlemen's'' clubs. Or, in this case, a cute little PC. This 7.5-pound mighty mite includes a 15.4-inch LCD screen, four speakers, and a 60-gig hard drive on which you can store your notes on the mating habits of the dik-dik and still have plenty of room left over for Unreal. And crunch these numbers: an NVIDIA GeForce FX graphics processor and a 3.2-gigahertz Pentium CPU. This may seem more vexing than a Cantonese menu. But trust us, it's a whole lot of computer. ($2,899, alienware.com)

SCOTTEVEST Some 30 years ago, stylish young men in the more fashionable quarters of Leipzig wore coats like this. But we think those herren would gasp at the awesome functionality of the SCOTTeVEST, designed for the gamer on the go. You want pockets to stow your Game Boy, cellphone, and half-eaten sandwich? Well, this has 24 of them. Sure, you say, but what about those bothersome wires and cables? We direct you to the numerous hidden channels that have been cleverly woven into this jacket by wizened tailors brought over from Peru. Add water-resistant fabric and shoulder pads and you have an accessory-friendly accessory. Or something like that. ($109.99, scottevest.com)

LOGITECH DRIVING FORCE PRO When you think about it, a steering wheel is like a Sherpa. It should be steady, able to compensate for your shortcomings, and willing to carry you to the top. After running down the features of this rubber-gripped apparatus, we say check, check, and...check. Consider its 900-degree turning radius, its force-feedback controls, its weighted pedals. Wouldn't you want this with you the next time you play Gran Turismo 4? (price not yet available, logitech.com)

MAD CATZ RETROCON While visiting Grandpa in the retirement home a few years ago, he pressed an old pocketknife into our hands and gave us a wink before inquiring, ''Is it Meatloaf Night?'' Grandpa's gone now, but we know he would've appreciated this retro-looking controller, designed for the PS2. He would've loved its chrome-and-black finish and its plain, old-school charm. Why, just looking at it makes us think of Pappy, the ol' knife, and meatloaf. ($24.99, madcatz.com)

NETPLAY CONTROLLER KEYBOARD The age-old dilemma: You like to play EverQuest on the PS2 but, dagnab it, who wants to enter text with a joystick? Have no fear, pencil-necked adventurers, this sharp-looking keyboard attaches to the PS2 controller port and even boasts two mini-joysticks and four trigger buttons. All this and an eight-foot cable? And you thought the legendary Bloodfyre Broadsword was the most important weapon in your arsenal. ($69.95, logitech.com)

INTEC COLOR LCD SCREEN While playing with our Xbox in a sun-dappled palazzo in Florence, we wondered why everyone couldn't own one of these portable 7.2-inch color LCD screens that are made for any one of the three popular gaming platforms. We took a sip of cappuccino and thought about it some more. And now, everyone can own one. ($179.99, inteclink.com)

MONSTER CABLE SURROUND SOUND 5.1 GAMING SYSTEM We once hosted a Halo party, and midway through the mayhem a Yalie rudely commented on our sound system. (His exact words: ''Your stereo sucks!'') We tossed the ingrate out, went to a favorite computer store, and left with this THX-certified sonic godsend that now blesses us with 130 watts of plaster-cracking screeches and rumbles. We learned some valuable lessons: that if your ears aren't bleeding, it's not loud enough. And that Yale men make terrible guests. ($199.95, monstercable.com)

MINDFX SCIENCE HERBAL VITAMINS Every man needs a pick-me-up. Sometimes it's Viagra, sometimes it's for something really fun, like videogaming. Take some Maxx Impulse to boost your alertness, and NeuroCharge to get that blood surging to your brain. After your big, uh, score, try an Aftermath, with its calming mix of passionflower and tyrosine. ($29.95, $19.95, mind-fx.com)

Originally posted Aug 01, 2003 Published in issue #721 Aug 01, 2003 Order article reprints
Advertisement

From Our Partners