Electric Shock Gaming Via MindWire VF5
Update: We've heard back from MindWire's Technical Director, Clive Wrightson, and he had this to say about whether or not the accessory would be available worldwide-
"It's going to be worldwide, but not initially, as we are still addressing points in certain non-UK safety standards. Hopefully it will be worldwide after a few weeks."
So there you have it. Keep an eye on this one, US gamers!
While we're still a long ways from virtual reality, the video game industry has made great strides in the interest of involving the player with the action on screen. We've got features like the force feedback on our controllers, for example. But what if someone took that concept to the next level? We're willing to bet you've never heard of Electric Shock gaming...it's the next big thing and will definitely separate the men from the boys!
It's called MindWire VF5, and this accessory "creates a level of realism never before seen" in games. It immediately works straight out of the box with most current PS2, Xbox, GameCube and PC titles that support force feedback. Seen unpackaged here, the player connects 5 small self-adhesive pads to the arms, legs and stomach so as to actually feel the sensory feedback that mimics game action. They say it's only suitable for people 16 years of age and older, and currently retails for £129.99 (plus postage and packing). It is a UK-based company, so we're going to clarify whether or not the accessory is available only in Europe or if it's obtainable worldwide.
They've tested this on a wide variety of games - you can see their test list here - and it includes big-name titles like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Need for Speed Underground, TimeSplitters 2 and a horde of PC games. So if it works on all those, they would assume it's going to work on just about any title that supports the force feedback/rumble option.
According to the site, MindWire was conceived and designed by two Manchester University students who, quite simply, "started the dream in 2005." So if you think you're not getting enough out of your games; if you want to get more absorbed than ever before, this could be the next-gen accessory you've been waiting for.
1/17/2008 Ben Dutka