For someone who was highly disappointed with the Generation NEX, I'll have to admit that Messiah's latest product looks pretty cool. But then again, the NEX looked awesome when it was announced, and you know how that turned out.
The product is the "NEX Wireless Arcade Stick," a supposedly arcade-quality wireless arcade stick for Messiah's NEX system. And that right there is the catch, and it's a major one: it's "exclusively" compatible with the NEX system, which is likely a horrible business move on the part of Messiah. Why would they limit a great stick design (which looks…absolutely nothing like a NES Advantage, by the way) to such a cheap NES-on-a-chip famiclone machine when they could probably triple their sales if they included a wireless receiver that worked with a standard NES? This stick is essentially what the Advantage should have been back in 1987, and NES freaks would love to get their hands on it for their own NES. But sorry, folks, you're out of luck. That's Messiah for ya — just shy of the target, as always. Gotta love 'em.
So why on earth am I telling you about it?
Hack Me Gently, Hack Me Slowly
Some would say an Arcade quality stick for the NES is overkill, and they're probably right. Messiah themselves tout that the stick "gives you total movement control of combo moves." What combo moves? The NES isn't exactly known as the fighting game lover's dream machine. Arcade classics could be played much better on a cheap MAME rig or through more accurate emulations on systems like the PlayStation, and most NES games are best controlled with the original pad. So if the stick is that seemingly that useless, why am I giving it press by telling you about it? Well, here's why. If this thing is constructed anything like they say it is, it's a good deal for $59.99 for the parts and assembly alone. And if the stick turns out as promised, then it seems ripe for hacks to use it with other systems / computers or even with a regular NES. When I think of this thing or Messiah's regular wireless controllers, grand hack ideas spring to mind — such as a regular NES with built-in wireless capability, courtesy of Messiah / Hong Kong wireless technology. In the case of Messiah's original wireless controllers, forget the poorly shaped plastic parts — just take the out wireless guts and put them into your own controller.
Here are some features of the Wireless Arcade Stick, directly from Messiah's page.
- Wireless Range: Up to 30 feet range using the built-in 2.4GHz wireless technology that comes standard on the Generation NEX Videogame Console.
- Superior Micro-Switch Technology: 1,000,000 lifecycle tested buttons and control stick.
- Control Stick: The Control Stick is built tough with micro-switch technology that gives you total movement control of combo moves and will withstand the most severe game play — just like a real arcade cabinet would.
- Ultra-Fast Action Buttons: The Action buttons are custom built for the quickest reaction possible. Right away, when you first press a button you will notice a quality difference between these new ultra fast buttons and those that you may be accustomed to on other controllers.
- Turbo Dials: Adjustable dials will speed up or slow down rapid-button-presses so you can adjust how quickly to shoot, punch, you name it. Activate turbo on the A, B, or both buttons and simply hold the button down for Turbo.
- Slow Motion: Pass the most intense levels by turning slow-motion on, which slows game play down to a snails pace, enabling you to think through your next move.
- Power Save: Play up to 40 hours on four AAA batteries (included). Don't worry if you forget to turn off your controller, it will automatically power down for you after 10 minutes of inactivity. This assures that next time you go to use your Wireless Arcade Stick you won't find the batteries dead
- Cabinet Design: Use the Wireless Arcade Stick in your lap or on a table in front of you. A large playing surface is comfortable for small or large hands and the top surface is angled slightly to give you comfort even in the longest gaming sessions.
- Size: 11 inches wide, 8.5 inches tall, and 4 inches high at playing surface (7.5 inches high including stick height)
- Comic Book Manual: Learn about your Wireless Arcade Stick in a fun way with a full color illustrated manual
If anyone buys this thing, let us all know if it lives up to Messiah's hype. After the whole NEX fiasco, I'm sitting out this round of pre-ordering. This stick sure is tempting, though — if it's well constructed and I could hack it, I might just get one myself.