Kool Tools: Gaming accessories, part one
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Kool Tools: Gaming accessories, part one

The holiday season is fast approaching and lots of Mac-using girls and boys (and men and women) are thinking of, giving and receiving computer games. To take full advantage of the games, you'll need the right peripherals. Being Santa's helpers, we've compiled a look of some of the accessories out there for Mac gamers.

CH Products

CH Products (http://www.chproducts.com/retail/index.html) makes several Mac compatible products designed for gaming enthusiasts.

The Flight Sim Yoke (top picture) is a $129.95 flight stick for Mac OS X. It sports five axes and 20 buttons and a total of 144 programmable functions with Control Manager software included.

The Eclipse Yoke ($174.95) ups the ante a bit by providing the features of the Flight Sim Yoke, plus: an eight-way POV hat and rocket switch on both the left and right side of the grip; a programmable trim/scroll wheel with a center push function; a three-color LED selector dial; two backlit push buttons on the back of each grip; six analog 10-bit axes; colored handles for throttle/prop/mixture; and a free-floating, non-binding shaft.

When it comes to joysticks, the Flightstick Pro ($74.95) offers three axes and 12 buttons; 80 programmable functions with Control Manager software; an ambidextrous handle; dual rotary trim wheels; a side throttle wheel; and a base with a seven-foot USB cable. The $93.95 Combatstick offers all the features of the Flightstick Pro, but adds 128 programmable functions and a stylized F-16 handle. Moving up, we have the Fighterstick, which has all the features of the Combatstick but touts 176 programmable functions.

CH Products also makes throttles and pedals. The $119.95 Throttle Quadrant has: six axes and 12 buttons; 176 programmable functions with included Control Manager software; six physical detents (one per level); and 12 virtual buttons (one per detent). The $122.95 Pro Throttle's features include: three axes and 24 buttons; 175 programmable functions with included Control Manager software; three color mode indicator LEDs on the base; and an ergonomic left hand HOTAS design. The $122.95 Pro Pedals has: three axes; heel-toe differential brake control; and a locking rudder axis for gas/brake emulation for racing games. All the CH Products tout a large, sturdy mousing base with a seven-foot cable and USB connectivity.


Creative (http://Soundblaster.com) makes Tactic 3D gaming headsets featuring THX TruStudio Pro technology for an immersive 3D audio experience. The relatively new Blaster Tactic 3D Alpha (bottom picture) and Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma gaming headsets are the first Sound Blaster headsets to feature customizable profiles.

The THX TruStudio Pro audio technology uses proprietary advanced algorithms that allow sounds to be recreated above, below and all around the gamer, surpassing the limitations of typical 5.1 and 7.1 headsets. It also allows gamers to hear voices and sounds in detail regardless of how far away they are.

THX TruStudio Pro Surround Audio delivers a 360 degree surround sound gaming experience so gamers can hear sounds clearly from the front, back, above and below. THX TruStudio Pro enhances in-game sound by restoring low and high end frequency curves lost to compression. THX TruStudio Pro Smart Volume addresses the problem of abrupt volume level changes in games by automatically and continuously measuring volume, and intelligently applying gain and attenuation to compensate for those changes.

THX TruStudio Pro Dialog Plus enhances voices during in-game communication for clearer dialog, allowing the gamer to hear the dialog over the rest of the sounds and over ambient noise in the listening environment. THX TruStudio Pro Bass produces customizable bass levels.

The Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Alpha Headset's features include: 40mm Neodymium drivers; optimized lightweight design for marathon game play; a THX TruStudio Pro software suite; customizable TacticProfile that enables gamers to save their own settings or use pre-configured settings from pro-gamers; programmable VoiceFX for voice morphing into in-game characters or during VoIP chats; a detachable noise-canceling microphone that allows the headset to be used as great sounding headphones; a Dual Mode USB 2.0 adapter that enables the headset to be used in analog mode; and a non-tangle flat ribbon cable.

The Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma Headset has all the features of the Sound Blaster Tactic3D Alpha, plus 50mm Neodymium gaming-tuned linear high-resolution drivers and a steel core headband. The Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma retails for $89.99, and the Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Alpha costs $59.99.

Tomorrow: part 2.

-- Dennis Sellers

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