|Thermaltake Challenger Pro Gaming Keyboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Input Devices|
|Written by Steven Iglesias-Hearst|
|Thursday, 06 January 2011|
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Thermaltake Challenger Pro Final Thoughts
I would like to use this section to express a view about a trend that has been steadily evolving, I hope a lot of others may share my views about the subject, and that is products that are designed for gamers. To kick start this viewpoint we need to rewind time a little, back to the days before the likes of SteelSeries, Razer, Choixx and Roccat etc ever made gaming peripherals. What were people using to play games before these companies created their revolutionary 'must have' devices?? A short answer is anything that they could get their hands on. Before the days of optical or laser sensors we had to bear the trackball mice and although the IBM model M and other similar mechanical keyboards were around, I'm pretty sure they weren't touted as 'gaming' keyboards. No, we used regular keyboards but people still had significant advantage over others, it wasn't until cyber sports had become popular that these gaming peripheral companies were founded.
It's hard to look at a motherboards and memory and CPU's and read the words 'created for gamers' in the features list, the only piece of hardware that is truly designed for gamers are graphics cards surely. We have reached a stage now where the words 'created for gamers' are becoming a little over used, or used purely as marketing to sell a product to a wider market. Gaming mice are making large strides to becoming a whole lot more responsive and feature rich but I can't really see any new innovations that can make any new product individual any more. Most gaming keyboards are a joke with their backlit keys for improved visibility and LCD panels for additional info, sure macro keys are great but when using them in games doesn't it kind of feel like cheating a little? I remember playing Need for Speed: Porsche Challenge on the PS1 and found a little glitch when playing a wager mode between two players, it was possible to load the same car for both players by cloning the memory card. The end result was that I won my own car several times and was able to sell it over and over again and earn a large amount of cash and was able to buy the best car available, which was good for all of one hour and kind of killed the game as I now had nothing to aim towards.
Sure today's games have evolved a lot and we now have the multiplayer aspect to contend with, so now we are pitching ourselves against each other and we need to find that competitive edge. Sure that 5600dpi mouse and that LED backlit keyboard may give you a slight advantage but when it comes down to it nothing comes close to raw skill. My first taste of multiplayer action was in the form of Americas Army, when I started I was rubbish, first I thought it was my RAM holding me back so I upgraded that but no difference was seen. Next I decided to upgrade my CPU but it was the same story. It was then that I upgraded my flailing MX440 Video Card to a more suitable ATI Radeon X800 XT and the difference was immediately apparent. It wasn't until I destroyed my mouse in a fit of rage that I bought into the whole gaming peripheral market ideal in the form of a Razer Krait 1600dpi gaming mouse, which made little difference to my gameplay when compared to the improvement gained from buying that X800 XT Video Card. It wasn't until I learned to watch shadows and listen for footsteps and learn different aspects and routes of maps that I could call myself good. Also being part of a gaming clan and communicating via teamspeak improved my gameplay a lot more than any peripheral ever has.
I don't intend to start a mission to debunk the entire gaming peripheral market segment as there are products out there that really do make a difference, but at the end of the day you need to understand that a particular input device won't transform you into a pro-gamer overnight and you can also become 'pro' without the use of one of these devices so long as you have good hardware that is related directly to games. I'm talking now about Video and Sound cards that are able to recreate your game of choice with high details because at the end of the day your main weapons are ultimately your senses and your reaction time, skills that are developed over time. This brings me back now to my opening statement, what are you looking for in a gaming keyboard? Hopefully I have been able to put some things into perspective.