Sandio 3D Game O' Mouse Review

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Company: Sandio Technology Corporation
Platform: PC

The Sandio Game O' Mouse goes beyond traditional mousing to offer a controller that gives computer users control over 3D space as part and parcel of the mouse control. Using the mouse's joysticks, players can strafe, revolve and rotate as needed.

Kyle Ackerman

Fundamentally, a mouse is a two-dimensional input device. However fancy your mouse pad, and whatever the DPI of your optical mouse, it's still only picking up the X- and Y-coordinates of your movements. A number of companies have tried to create mice or interface devices that are fully 3D, but these have often been bizarre contraptions, as difficult to learn and adapt to as an accordion keyboard. As such, they haven't caught on with the general gamer population and are mostly used by folk like 3D artists and level designers.

Sandio has released the Game O' Mouse, and it's more intuitive than many of the strange 3D devices out there. It's an optical mouse with additional controls that give gamers six degrees of motion. Essentially, the Game O' Mouse is a standard, high-resolution optical mouse with five configurable buttons. It has a fancy detachable palm rest and the resolution can be adjusted from 400 to 2000 dpi. But it also has three joysticks, one in front of the mouse wheel and one on each side. The four directions on each of the sticks can be mapped to four keys, making them work much like 8-way hat switches on high-end flight sticks.

These sticks can be used to easily navigate through 3D spaces, or can be mapped to various functions typically performed by the keyboard in first-person shooters or other PC games. For example, the joysticks could be used to strafe, turn and move or even be mapped to hotkeys for weapons or spells.

The Game O' Mouse shines when used in a 3D application where movements aren't time sensitive. For example, this mouse rocks when messing about with Google Earth or a 3D art program. It can be a superior gaming mouse too, if you have better than average coordination. Importantly, even if you don't touch the joysticks, the Game O' Mouse is a solid optical game mouse with a variety of sensitivities. Of course, if you do use the joysticks, you can play Battlefield 2 or Civilization IV and almost never touch the keyboard. On the other hand, if you aren't a masterly pianist or sleight-of-hand magician, you may not have the coordination to beat other players using more traditional key combinations. Fortunately, the ability to map the joysticks to weapons or voice communications makes it a big plus regardless of your digital dexterity.

The Game O' Mouse costs $80, and offers top quality technology and a lot of flexibility. It's most useful for 3D artists and the most dexterous of gamers. With sufficient practice, a hardcore massively multiplayer online gamer could easily move and control a character with the mouse, and run two characters on two computers. Less coordinated gamers can still get a lot out of the mouse, particularly for those games that need a firm grasp of 3D space like Homeworld.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on May 14, 2007 1:39 PM.

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