Peripheral domination

The way we play games has changed dramatically over the last few years and if you turned the clock back to the turn of the millennium and told people we’d be standing in the middle of the room making complete fools of ourselves waving our arms in the air, with it all being endorsed by the blind lad from Byker Grove – they’d have scoffed at you while mentioning that it hadn’t been shown on Tomorrows World yet so it couldn’t possibly happen.

The Nintendo Wii did happen, it is a massive success and the motion detecting controller it brought with it is probably here to stay, but let’s just push that to one side for the moment.

Ant & Dec before they burst into peoples living rooms and took over pubs.

Ant & Dec before they burst into peoples living rooms and took over pubs. Just don't challenge them to a game of paintball.

Earlier during the month of January (seriously, where the hell did that go?) the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place and on the show room floor was a plethora of gadgets and gizmos that would have a geek simply pulsating with excitement. For me though something interesting stood out from the waves of 3D TVs and unsurprisingly it came from PC peripheral manufacturer Razer.

I’m no stranger to Razer, they are after all the company behind some of my most wanted gadgets, in particular the Mamba mouse and Tarantula keyboard both of which I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while now in order to ‘complete’ my gaming setup (it’s ok console gamers, I won’t understand you to ‘get it’).

But those delicacies aside the one item I have my eye on, is the Onza.  Strange name aside what the Onza actually is, is an Xbox 360 controller. It’s no ordinary controller though, as by adding two multi-function buttons as well as adjustable tension controls to the analog sticks it’s quite a weapon on the gamer’s arsenal, throw in some modified trigger buttons for extra comfort and you’re ready to lock and load.

Of course this is aimed at those in the competitive gaming scene and probably the likes of me who see it and react in a very “oh shiny” kind of way.

Strange name, but an exotic beauty none the less.

Strange name, but an exotic beauty none the less.

Due to the lag issue of a wireless controller it is cabled, which is a bit of a downer as I’d have liked to see them try and replicate their 1ms response time as they have done on some of their keyboards, but at a guess that’ll come further down the line when the inevitable product reiterations occur.

PC gamers have experienced a multitude of choice when it comes to input devices but sadly our console playing brethren have only had relatively limited supplies on offer, but with the likes of Razer trying to get in on the action it could signal that times are changing.

The imaginary line that separates consoles and PCs has been getting thinner and thinner as each generation moves on, and as each console becomes more PC like it’s no surprise to see the likes of a predominately PC manufacturer dipping their toes into console waters.

My main console of choice is the 360 and I have no qualms with its controller but those few extra functions and even user customization that is set to be offered with the Onza is more than welcome.

Last five articles by Ben



  1. Kat says:

    You PC gamers… *chuckles*


  2. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    I started off as a PC gamer then slowly migrated over to XBox and XBox 360 but have found myself using the PC more and more for gaming, for one simple reason… it’s better. The frame rate, absence of screen tearing, the depth of field, the physics, the texture quality, the utter precision when moving around… it’s staggering how lacking a console is when you play the same game back to back on the console and PC. I actually looked at screen comparisons recently between PC and PS3 as well as PC and XBox 360 and was blown away. Assassins Creed 2 looked particularly different on the PC, and we all know how much I’ve raved about how bad Risen was on the XBox compared to the PC.

    It’s sad though, because I love the speed of being able to play on a console. No installation, no waiting for it to boot up, no driver issues (although this has become a thing of the past on PCs recently) and no dealing with keyboards. Ultimately though, performance is key to me… and so the PC is winning hands down most of the time now.

    I love my Razer keyboard, but haven’t even considered a gaming mouse as I don’t really play those types of games that require additional mouse functionality… at least not that I’m aware of. Whether I could even motivate myself into using additional buttons on an XBox controller is something I’ve never considered. I suppose I always assumed that there was already enough buttons there and some of them were even left redundant in certain games… although it would certainly be nice to be able to have further custom configuration.

  3. Lorna Lorna says:

    I, like others, was always predominantly a PC gamer for many years until falling to the charms of the 360. There is no denying that the no faff immediacy of console gaming including easy installation of patches and updates makes it a joy, but that is at the expense of prettier graphics etc…if you care about that sort of thing, and I don’t as much as some others. However, I am starting to drift back the other way again. There are some games which I enjoy that just don’t seem to play nice with the consoles and those are management sort of games. I recently snagged a gorgeous collector’s ed of Anno 1404….can’t imagine what the hell a game like that would be like on the 360, though with games like Tropico 3 being released, I may be wrong.

    No denying though that Razer make some seriously sexy (and expensive) gadgets and if I ever decide to fire up somehting like Mirror’s edge for the PC, that gizmo will be the only thing I’ll consider playing it with…can’t imagine the pig’s ear I’d make of it using a mouse…

    Nice shiny shiny piece Ben :)

  4. Kat says:

    Oh the only thing that’s made me a console gamer is cos I can slob out on the sofa ^_^

  5. Ste says:

    I’m lucky enough to own all 3 of the current gen consoles along with a PC powerful enough (probably) to run most things on the market at the moment (I haven’t played Crisis on it yet) Therefore I don’t have any particular loyality to any one format however I agree with Mark that the PC is definately the better system overall. Besides the better perfomance the PC is just so versitile. I could quite comfortably play any genre of game on it where as I wouldnt touch an RTS and some other types of games on a console. Ever.

  6. Mark R MarkuzR says:

    Totally agree with Ste… I was so chuffed to give the C&C series a go on the XBox as it’d mean I’d be able to play co-op a lot easier with mates (we can never manage to play on the EA servers thanks to various firewall issues, so have to wait until we’re in the same bloody house to play over LAN which isn’t easy with a 600 mile divide) but I just couldn’t get on with the controls at all. Sluggish, non-responsive, and just over complicated really. I’ve played three different C&C games on the XBox now and just can’t get into them… especially RA3 but that’s mainly down to the cruddy aesthetics.

    Playing C&C Generals and C&C Generals Zero Hour a few weeks ago on the new gaming PC through the 1080p projector upstairs with Pete downstairs on my work PC was bliss though. Damn you EA servers!!! Hmm… that’s almost an argument praising XBL there isn’t it??

  7. MrCuddleswick says:

    That controller looketh cool.

  8. The Preacher says:

    As far as I’m concerned, the greatest peripheral ever made was the Sidewinder Pro Force Feedback 2 joystick for the PC. It’s just the greatest flight stick ever made, incredibly intuitive force feedback feel, yet precise, smooth and responsive, exactly what you want for a flight simulator. It even had a rudder pedal add-on, which is almost impossible to find these days. The day Microsoft stopped making those was a dark day indeed. It’s the closest stick I’ve come across to the real thing, and most of the other guys at my flying club agree with me.

    I may be a little biased as a big flight simulator buff though.

  9. Simon says:

    Man, I really want that controller. I considered picking up that MW2 *spits* controller up because it had buttons on the underside that could save you from moving your thumbs of the sticks so you could aim all the time. If I can get any more info on these and they do something similar I might go with it instead of that digitally camouflaged crap.

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