PAX East: The Tech Roundup

Some of the latest and greatest in gaming technology can be cool and exciting, but it can also be expensive and unnecessary. We saw a lot of both at this year’s PAX East, and while everything was a whole lot of fun to play with, here’s what we found to be either absolutely necessary to your gaming needs or a waste of time.

NVIDIA 3D Surround

I’m not a first-person shooter fan by any means, but when I saw Battlefield Bad Company 2 being played on 3 screens in 3D, I had to try it. And it was amazing. At first, 3D gaming technology seems like a gimmick, the same as 3D cinema.

But once experienced in the right format, its value becomes pretty apparent pretty quickly. Playing BBC2 in 3D gave me better visibility and depth in the game, but it also totally immersed me into the game play experience. I really felt like I was running around in the jungle shooting bad guys.

If 3D gaming is something you’re interested in, you’ll need an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 400 GPU, NVIDIA 3D Vision, and and NVIDIA Surround Technology plus three HD monitors. While this will cost you a pretty penny, it’s something to take into consideration if you’re looking for an incredible gaming experience on your PC.

Gunnar 3D Glasses

When I tried out NVIDIA’s 3D Surround technology, they told me they had specifically designed the 3D glasses to fit over my own prescription glasses. While they did, it wasn’t exactly comfortable. This is where Gunnar comes in.

Rather than wearing your regular glasses plus 3D ones for gaming or movies, Gunnar has created prescription 3D glasses that fit naturally and comfortably. If you don’t plan on 3D gaming all that much these don’t seem worth it, especially since you can just wear contacts when you game in 3D or see a movie in the theater. But these are definitely some cool spectacles.

InstantAction

Players of games like Farmville or Mafia Wars can game wherever they want, because their games are browser based and can be accessed right from Facebook. Imagine doing the same thing for ANY game, and this is where InstantAction comes in.

Gamers who buy their games through Instant Action have access to the game in any browser, can embed the game in posts on Facebook or Tumblr, and never have to worry about installation ever again. While the service doesn’t have anything too big for purchase, the latest and greatest being the remake of The Secret of Monkey Island, the concept of never having to install a game again and being able to play anything on anyone’s computer that you’ve purchased would definitely be fantastic.

Immerz

Developers seem to be ever searching for the best way to immerse players into games, and Immerz is just one attempt to do so. While controllers have been vibrating forever, Immerz is a vibrating vest that players wear on their shoulders.

The vest vibrates when players are shot or assaulted, and helps them get a better sense of what’s going on around them in the world of the game. I tried out Immerz with Left 4 Dead 2, and it definitely was interesting.

The vest wasn’t uncomfortable to wear and was easy enough to get used to. It helped me be more aware of what directions shots or zombies were coming from and I was always aware of when I was being attacked from behind.

However, I don’t think things like this are necessary– if a game is good, I’m going to be immersed in the experience, even without a vibrating vest.

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