Sunday, 5 June 2011

MoaBG Hardware Spotlight | Part 1: Razer Nostromo

It seems appropriate to take a little tour of my gaming hardware before my saving up for a new computer is complete. To begin this mighty MoaBG mini-series, I’ll take a look at the Razer Nostromo.

Named after the ship from Alien, copied from improving on a near-identical peripheral developed by Belkin and Razer together and looking about as similar to a keyboard as Darth Maul is similar to Homer Simpson, the Razer Nostromo is “officially” a “gamepad” but is in fact just a second keyboard. Specifically, the keys on top, numbered 01 to 14, are intended to mimic the left side of a keyboard (which is naturally the only part used for most games), with a longer fifteenth button that becomes your space bar.

You grip the thing (or rather, you place your hand anywhere near it and it fits incredibly comfortably) and your fingers rest over the bank of keys while your thumb sits ready to press the space bar or a sixteenth button, which can be mapped to whatever you please. An utterly redundant “analog stick” is also included, but it’s actually just a D-pad with an optional (read: if you want to use it properly, you’re ripping it off immediately) thumbstick plugged onto it.

In fact, all the keys are mappable to do whatever you want when you hit them – from being a key to initiating a macro of specific keypresses (eg. Ctrl+Shift+M). What’s more, you can save up to 8 of these keyboard arrangements and swap between them through the Configurator software (or by mapping a key to do it for you).

In short, the Nostromo is an invaluable addition to the way I play games, providing comfortable control in whatever game it gets deployed in. My only gripe is that it’s now made playing with a keyboard feel floaty and “less immersive”, and that my left thumb is now incapable of pressing space bars – it moves right instead of pressing down.

-Kit

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