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Nyko AirFlo Controllers Preview (Xbox, PS2, GC)
posted by: Shawn Rider
date posted: 09:10 AM Sat Jun 8th, 2002
last revision: 04:38 PM Thu Nov 3rd, 2005

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Innovation is the cornerstone of the third party peripheral market. Each company tries to exploit new materials and manufacturing techniques to create a product that every gamer will want to buy. That means making a product that solves a problem. The classic \"case in point\" is Game Boy lighting ? who doesn\'t own a light for their GBA? Nyko has served us well in the lighting department, and now they\'re taking a stab at another age-old problem in gaming: sweaty palms.

We all know the unfresh feeling of a controller during afternoon rounds of whatever, especially in the summertime. Some games just make you sweat. How do you get rid of sweat? Evaporate it. With a fan. The answer seems so simple ? we use fans all the time to cool us off and keep us dry. So to cure \"gamer\'s hand\" (which seems like a much better term than \"sweaty palms\"), Nyko will release the AirFlo controller for Xbox, PlayStation 2 and Gamecube.

Not only do the AirFlo controllers have fans in the grips, but they have variable speed fans in the grips. Combined with a cushy rubber surface, scored to maximize cooling capacity, these things play like a dream. On a quick demo at E3, Nyko representative Natalie Ness spritzed my hand from a styling bottle and handed me the controller. Comparing the dry hand to the moist hand was incredible ? I actually felt like my one hand was standing in a sunny field, enjoying a cool mountain breeze while the rest of my body was sweating through E3, land of a million scorching CPUs and displays. I never wanted to let go.

I can vouch for the fact that the AirFlo controllers are incredibly refreshing for a quick demo at E3, but it\'ll take some good old wear and tear to really know. The water was nice, after all, but it\'ll take some real sweat to put these things to the test. However, I suspect these will be some top of the line controllers that won\'t have to rely on the gimmick factor of the AirFlo technology to sell them. Each system\'s unique strengths and weaknesses have been addressed in their design.

All three versions feature ten foot cords, a foot longer than the first party Microsoft controller cable. That is good news regardless which system you own. All three controllers also feature analog buttons and built in vibration. The Gamecube controller is a bit beefier than the Nintendo model, and the A, B, X and Y buttons are standard shapes arranged in a regular diamond. The changes will definitely appeal to those folks who just can\'t get used to Nintendo\'s unique take on controller design. The PlayStation controller is pretty much identical to the DualShock in design, although the shoulder buttons on all three models of AirFlo have been made more trigger-like. The Xbox controller is a nice middle size between the S and XXXL first party controllers, and the button layout has been slightly modified.

The construction on the AirFlo controllers looks solid from the prototypes I saw. Another asset is that they require no extra batteries. The AirFlo controller draws energy from the console to run the fans and vibration. The exact price of the AirFlo controllers has not been announced, although Nyko promises they will be \"competitive\" with other third party controllers (some websites have the MSRP set at $24.99, which would be excellent).

Solid design and the unique cooling system make the AirFlo controllers very appealing. Keep an eye out for them in your local videogame store soon.