YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Fun Zone | Gadgets & Gizmos

GM2 Action Pad and Mouse

October 19, 2000

* Price: $49.95

* Manufacturer: Saitek

* System Requirements: Pentium PC or better, with Windows 95 or 98

* Niche: For PC gamers who tire of the keyboard-mouse combination used with games from "Age of Empires" to "Unreal," the Action Pad aims to provide a simple controller that works with titles across genres.

* The good: Because it's programmable, users can set up single buttons to perform complex functions that may be difficult to execute during game play. The pad itself fits pretty well in the palm of the hand. Buttons are easy to reach. It has a flat bottom so it sits firmly on a desktop. But for people with crowded computer work spaces, the pad rests easily on the thigh without losing refinement. In a game such as "Quake III," the control was dead on.

* The bad: The mouse extension is a little too clunky to be comfortable. And try as we might, we couldn't get the device to work on Windows ME, which probably has more to do with the operating system than the controller. It also takes awhile for players accustomed to the keyboard to get used to Action Pad's button configuration. We kept reaching for the top row of keyboard numbers to cycle through weapons.

* Bottom line: Hard-core gamers might take awhile to warm up to Action Pad, but it makes some games smoother and more enjoyable.

Los Angeles Times Articles