Back in the beginning of July I wrote up the announcement of GoLive2's Wii remote-aping PC peripheral Stix, a device that would allow PC gamers to play specific web-based games using motion sensing controls, and then just as quickly forgot all about it. Lo and behold, the week before I leave for the Games Convention a package arrives on my doorstep. Well, on my mother's doorstep, addressed to Chris Fahey, but close enough. Inside was the Stix 200 combo pack, which I excitedly ran home with, setting it on my coffee table before leaving for the airport. Now I've finally gotten a chance to crack them open and play through some of their game offerings, and I have to say that this is exactly the sort of Christmas present parents who can't get their hands on a Wii should get their children to make them cry.
As you can see from the packaging, GoLive2 really wanted to emphasise that kids are going to have fun with their Stix product. The boy is obviously having the time of his life, while the girl gets so overwhelmed with emotion on the back of the box she jumps, even though there are no games for the Stix 200 that require it. She's just that damn happy about being on a box cover. It's the little things.
The Nintendo similarities begin right when you open the box. Inside the box is another box, the sort of pleasant light blue you might find inside a Wii package. Opening that box reveals the two Stix 200 units, some batteries, the USB faux charging cradle, and a manual.
Let's look at the Stix compared to the Wii remote, shall we? As you can see, the design aesthetic is essentially the same. The trigger depression is a bit different, but otherwise the shape is pretty similar, if a bit larger than the Wii remote. The real difference is the face of the controller. They call it a touchscreen, but really it's just a touch-sensitive panel with LED lights behind it. Even the strap bears a striking resemblance to the Wii remote strap, going as far as having the fastener at the top sharing the same rectangular shape with the cut-off corner.
Once you have the whole kit out of the package, you connect the USB "dock" to the computer, a driver installs, and you are prompted to download some software from a website, which once again reminds you that you are about to have so much fun you won't know what to do with yourself.
Once the software controller loads you're free to head over to the GoLive2 Stix website, create an account, fire up one of dozens of free online games, and realise you are holding in your hand the most expensive replacement for a set of arrow keys ever.
See, the Stix 200 only features 2D movement. That means up and down, left and right. It is essentially a set of arrow keys with some extra buttons tacked on top. Let me clarify: it is essentially a set of slightly unresponsive, highly inconvenient arrow keys. GoLive2 does make a 3D version of the accessory - the Stix 400 - but seeing as I don't have that one, here we are. As for the games themselves... A truly horrible assortment of shovelware mini-games awaits you on the GoLive2 games page, mainly consisting of clones of already existing web games with the fun sucked out by requiring you to use this silly peripheral. I did manage to enjoy one game on the site for nearly 20 minutes, but that was the excellent flash classic Fancy Pants Adventures, which I could only play after giving up on the Stix controller and using keyboard controls instead.
The Stix 200 is a cheap imitation of the Wii remote that is trying to capitalise on the Nintendo system's popularity by allowing PC gamers to move themselves about the screen with a stick. Perhaps the 3D Stix 400 is a much better product, but after spending time with the cheaper model I'm not sure I would ever even consider giving it a go. I'd say nice try, but frankly it just wasn't.