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Holiday Buyer's Guide 2006, Part 6: Gifts For Geeks and Gamers

Force Feedback: EDimensional G-Pad PRO

Let's say you're a PC gaming fanatic who has sworn to never buy a game console, but despite yourself, you're intrigued by the upcoming Nintendo Wii's motion sensitive controls. How do you save face?

Enter the eDimensional G-pad PRO. Simply put, it's a force-feedback-enabled dual-analog gamepad for the PC, with the added capability of sensing motion and translating it into PC game control. When using the analog sticks (ignoring the motion control feature for the moment) the G-pad PRO is a fine, comfortable example of what a force feedback gamepad should be. At an MSRP of about $30, it's not even priced out of the league of mainstream force feedback gamepads.

The difference, of course, is that the gyroscopes in the G-pad PRO allow you to physically turn the controller to use it as, say, a virtual steering wheel. And it has two axes of sensitivity: forward/backward and left/right roll.

Admittedly, the G-pad PRO is not perfect. It takes a bit of setting up as a motion sensing controller, and using the motion sensors to move around takes some adjustment. But if you're spending the $30 for a controller anyway, it's hard to ignore the G-Pad PRO and the option of using motion control in addition to the dual analog sticks. Hey, why should Nintendoids have all the motion-sensing fun?

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