A lot of competitive gamers out there are looking for anything that will give them the extra edge over their opponents and companies are always looking to cash in from this demographic. Great American Ideas, LLC (ministickstore.com) brings us the latest offering for the hardcore gamer crowd with the Mini Stick, a tiny joystick-like peripheral for your keyboard that promises to increase game scores by 50%. A bold claim, especially since video games these days are not so much governed by scores. I spent some time with the alleged gamebooster and found that I couldn’t stand the thing for more than five minutes before throwing it in the trash. The Mini Stick is a pretty simple device made from the finest cheap, black plastic. The peripheral is made up of two parts, a base that can be attached either to the arrow or WASD keys using velcro with adhesive backing. The “yoke” part of the Mini Stick is a long-ish rectangle with a divot that hangs onto a small plastic bar on the base. The theory behind the device is that instead of hovering your hand over keys, the joystick mod (which looks kind of silly when attached) allows for more precision.
Whether you use WASD or arrow keys, how this thing is supposed to deliver better gaming performance is beyond me. I tried playing Dead Island with the Mini Stick and was taken aback at just how useless the thing is. Moving around with the Mini Stick is a joke because the control yoke kept slipping out from the base and I couldn’t go without readjusting the control yoke or re-securing the velcro every few seconds. Because the Mini Stick base covers additional keys that are often necessary in first person shooters, if you choose to stick the thing on the WASD keys, you’re going to have to rebind a few commands. With as much difficulty I had trying to use the damn thing in a single player game, the idea of using the Mini Stick in multiplayer matches is laughable. Of course, that begs the question: “Who is this really for?” Core gamers will scoff and I doubt casuals would be interested because most of the games they play tend to only utilize a mouse. Furthermore, do causals care enough about scores to invest $10 in something that they will have to remove every time they need to use their keyboard keys for non-gaming tasks?
The Mini Stick appears to be the sort of product that can be found near cash registers inside As Seen On TV or Spencer’s Gifts inside your local mall. Like these stores, avoid the Mini Stick at all cost.
Teen Services Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.