FPS Freek and SpeedFreakby Ken Laffrenier
Its something to consider that as babies we have no control, as children we struggle to gain control of our mobility, as youth we are kept under control, in college we lose all control (maybe that was just me), as adults we don't understand control and in our old age we'll lose control again (of our bladder mostly, but would that be so bad?).
Well lets take a moment to recognize and appreciate the efforts of the team over at KontrolFreek.com. They have seemingly made it their mission to put control back into the hands of the modern gamer.
I am not a great gamer, I'm not flying through multiplayer matches racking prestige kills or running up the ranks of any leaderboards. I am like most gamers today; I enjoy a good game, losing myself in the escapist moments proudly delivered by the Xbox360. However, my lack of visibility on said leaderboards is not for a lack of trying. I've played for years, I take any advice to heart and I revel in every head-shot I'm able to pull off. The most unfortunate thing for me is, quite frankly, my years of gaming experience. I'm not talking time, I'm talking over time. I grew up utilizing paddles, joysticks, yokes, button controls and who can forget the infamous trackballs. I'm simply not suited to utilizing todays game-pads. There is as much electronics in the top left of an Xbox controller as there was in the entirety of my very first pong console unit.
Before I get on about my dominance over any pong challengers out there, let me get back to the review. KontrolFreek.com has created the FPSFreek and the SpeedFreek gamepad enhancements. Both offerings hope to increase control and accuracy while keeping the gamer in the moment.
FPSFreek is an add-on for the analog sticks intended to enhance the First Person Shooter experience. Essentially, they raise the sticks another inch while maintaining the comfort and contact between the gamer and the game. The quality of the units are top notch from the ease of attaching the units to how well they add to the ergonomic design of the controller. Honestly, with all of the R&D that Microsoft employs I'm surprised that these weren't inherent to the design. As to the playability; I am definitely seeing increased precision as well as a better sense of movement in the game theatre.
SpeedFreek are also a pair of add-ons to the analog sticks meant to augment the Racing genre. Simple 'u' shaped pieces that are designed to increase the players control by allowing the thumbs to float above the actual stick rather than pressing downward. The design is intuitive and connection is fast and sturdy. Personally I found that these were not as comfortable nor as much of a 'must have' as the FPSFreek to increase my gaming abilities. I know many hardcore race gamers that would find the unique utilization of tremendous benefit and I'm sure that, if given the chance, I could learn to work with them to increase scores.
Both products are very affordable (about $10) and are made to the highest standard. They are very durable; my dog got to one of the FPSFreek attachments and tried to make it a new chew toy but other than scraping some of the coating, the unit survived its 10 minutes of dog breath. As stated before putting the units onto the controllers is quick and easy and removal is just as convenient.
I used both of the offerings for quite some time and after switching back and forth I have opted to simply leave the FPSFreek attachments connected to the 360 controller. These have helped me in all types of games and my thumbs no longer get the cramped feeling after some more robust rounds of play (again, don't be surprised if the next generation of controllers are a little higher from the base).
Should I encourage people to get the KontrolFreek enhancements? I should...but I won't! Like any great magician, the last thing I need is for everyone to figure out my edge; it's like my own personal cheat code. Seriously though, the price, the convenience, the quality and the advantage these offer gamers make them a sure bet. But if you are a child of the 80's these are absolute necessities.
Go to www.kontrolfreek.com for more information on these cool products.