Butt-on / Gyroxus videogame chair

A couple weeks ago at NYCC, we got to try out a lot of cool stuff. Sonic & the Black Knight, MadWorld, Prototype, and GTA: Chinatown Wars were all great, but nothing stood out quite like this gimmicky innovative new device from 4th Motion. According to my new friend Garth Ratliff, who either helped build the Gyroxus or did a good job pretending he did, the game chair (see here for more) can handle any type of game, but works best with flying, driving, and first person shooter games.

The chair takes the place of the left analog stick. Since I was test driving the chair with Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X., I used my body to control the motion of my fighter jet, while everything else was controlled normally by the Xbox controller connected to the chair. Not surprisingly, (and Ratliff admitted this too) the chair takes a while to get used to. I’m not sure I was fully able to grasp the controls in my short time with the game, but crashing into the Atlantic Ocean sure was fun!

Thanks to the steep learning curve, my first reaction was that H.A.W.X. is a lot more fun to play like a normal person. Controlling the jet with a PS3 pad was a lot easier for me than the chair. In my opinion, the problem for 4th Motion will be convincing consumers to buy their product that sports a casual design, but a hardcore ($389!) price tag. The analog stick has been a staple of hardcore gaming for more than a decade, so asking gamers to pony up serious cash to try something new seems to be asking a bit much.

The learning curve presents a big decision for prospective buyers of Gyroxus. Should they really be spending so much cash on a product that they don’t even know they will like? I spent a few minutes with Gyroxus and I can’t tell you if I would ever get used to it. The risk, as Mr. Dink used to say, could be “very expensive.”