Noah J Nelson on Thursday, Jun. 9th
There’s a kind of poetry to the layout of E3. Mega-publishers like EA and Capcom are front and center, and the platform holders positioned strategically at the center of their halls. Off to the side, on the periphery, are the peripherals and accessory manufacturers.
Making controllers and cases exciting isn’t an easy task, but it’s one that Power A has built a business on for over 15 years. I sat down with John Moore, the company’s VP of Product Development & Marketing, who demoed the company’s new gear. You don’t think you need or want some of this stuff until you see it up close and get it in your hands.
I’ve never been a fan of the Playstation controller- a long held grudge that stretches back to the PS1 days- so it was a revelation when Moore put the prototype Batarang controller for the PS3 — that will be released in conjunction with Batman: Arkham City — in front of me. It’s simply the most comfortable controller for a Sony machine I’ve ever held. Pure bonus? It’s styled so that it’s function buttons (start, etc.) form the Bat symbol on the face.
The company makes a line of mini-controllers targeted at gamers with smaller hands, and those who like less bulk. The shrunk down Wii-mote I got to play with has a rubberized surface and reminded me most of my Apple remote in terms of weight. About 100 times more comfortable than the Wiimote that Nintendo packs in.
A lot of what Power A makes can be categorized as “gamer lifestyle” accessories: cleverly crafted styluses for touchscreens, cases for portable systems. For the consummate Pokemon fan, there’s a Nintendo DS case that shaped like the legendary Pokedex from the game’s lore.
My eyes alighted on a Star Wars themed case: Han Solo trapped in carbonite. Until that moment I wasn’t fully sold on the idea of getting a Nintendo 3DS, I’m up to my eyeballs in iOS games when I want a portable gaming experience. The Han Solo case hit my magic fanboy button. Suddenly I wanted a 3DS just to justify owning that beautiful case. Crazy? Yes. That’s part of what it means to be a gamer.
Who knows… maybe I’ll just get the case and stuff it full of USB sticks and other doodads.
As I was leaving their booth Moore and his PR rep told me that Power A would be making cases for Activision’s Skylanders, a game I hadn’t paid much attention to yet. The pair encouraged me to go check it out. What I would find was the realization of a long imagined dream, and the return of a favorite character from console generations past… [To Be Continued In Skylanders!]