I love cheap gaming accessories. You'll never see them proudly displayed at a big eSports tournament or tucked inside gift bags at celebrity gaming events. They will never be top of the line, but that doesn't mean they can't be the best.
There was a time, not too long ago, when me shopping for a new piece of gaming hardware involved a Google search with the word "best" in front of it. I had money to burn, and I burned it on making sure my computer desk only contained equipment that would sound good when casually mentioned in the vicinity of other gaming aficionados. I call that time "before the children came."
If I needed new speakers, I needed as many speakers as possible, preferably arranged in a semi-circle around my gaming chair, with enough wattage to level a small town. A new mouse needed to be fully-programmable, the more buttons I'd probably never use the better.
These days I've returned to the peripheral choosing methodology I used during my lean college years. New speakers must pass along sound in some form. A new mouse must — - and this is important — work. My current speaker and mouse setup fit the bill nicely.
Raise your hand if you've heard of the GOgroove BassPULSE 2.1 stereo speaker sound system. No? Maybe a picture will help.
Still nothing? Even with that distinctive glow? Good. For years I've been re-buying the same Logitech X530 speaker system that just about everyone else who has gone shopping for a 5.1 surround sound speaker system ends up with. I couldn't post a picture of my desktop setup without five people mentioning they had the same speakers. I don't expect that will happen very often with these GOGroove speakers.
Of course they anywhere near as good as the Logitech unit, but they do produce the sound I wish them to produce on demand. That sound is clear enough. If I so choose I can crank up the subwoofer and just enough bass to the mix to justify the extra desk space. Plus these glow like the future.
There's a dial to turn off the glow, but why? This is a $60 set of speakers, and at least $US20 of that is glow.
The same company that passed along these distinctively glowing speakers also included a high-powered gaming mouse in the package. Meet the Enhance GX-M1, the gaming mouse for people who put "gaming mouse" into the search on Amazon.
I used this promotional image to highlight the fact that "convenient plug and play" design is a selling point for the GX-M1. I like to imagine some frustrated grandparent stumbling upon this product listing and saying "Finally! A plug and play mouse!"
Boasting a pretty standard 3500dpi, six buttons (counting the scroll wheel and the DPI change button) and a colour-cycling LED lightshow under your palm.
Sure the lightshow isn't quite as impressive in real life as it is in the add, and the "six button" description is a bit off. The point is this is a gaming mouse, it only costs $US20, and there's no way you could accidentally get it mixed up with someone else's mouse at a LAN party. Also, it points at things on your screen.
Let's face it, these are the sort of options one would only choose if their budget were too limited to afford something better. But sometimes its those cheap-arse pieces of plastic that are the most memorable. That one crappy third-party Gamecube controller no one wanted to use while playing Smash Bros. The $US12 keyboard you picked up from Walmart when your regular keyboard died. These are the tools of lean times, and sometime the lean times are the ones we remember the best.
What's your most beloved piece of crappy gaming hardware? Let us pay tribute to those wonderful pieces of junk that just barely got the job done.