OCZ NIA – Will Gaming With Brain Waves Take Off?
Thoughts and Impressions
After spending a few weeks using the NIA on Vista Ultimate 64-bit with the new 2.001 NIA drivers, I experienced some good and bad with the NIA. I started off with the Pong game that is built into the OCZ NIA software bundle. Nice, simple and a good way to give your head a work out. In fact, after about 10 minutes of flexing my head to move the pong paddle up and down, I quickly developed a headache and decided to take a break. My accuracy was not that great in pong either. I had a hard time controlling the pong without spiking the Muscle signal and sending the paddle all the way to the top of the box.
After a few more attempts at Pong, I decided that it was time to just try a game. I pulled out a tried and true game, Half Life 2. I was able to consistently move backwards and stop by flexing my forehead and relaxing with the default profile supplied by OCZ. This is consistent with my experience in Pong by not being able to gradually move the pong up and down. I adjusted the headband repeatedly to try and determine where it best received my Muscle signal and I was eventually able to get the HL2 character to move in a forward direction.
The Glance signal was never very consistent for me. I could not figure out how to control the glance signal by simply moving my eyes. It seemed like it was working for a few seconds, but then was all over the place.
Since I was not having very much luck in Half Life 2, I downloaded and played the Crysis Single Player Demo and had the same results. With an online price of about $107 shipped after rebate from the retailer Newegg at the time of publication, it’s hard to recommend this product to the casual gamer. I believe this product is currently priced to interest the most extreme gaming enthusiasts that want to take a risk to have the extra edge on their opponents with decreased reaction times. The tech junkies that have cash burning a hole in their pocket may also want to grab an NIA to simply play with and show their friends how they can play Pong with their head!
So what is the good news you ask? Well, looking at this product with an open mind, I can fully see how each player’s experiences may be different. While I was not able to hone my NIA signals in the last few weeks, I can see how a dedicated player could very well learn what mental buttons to push to use the NIA in a beneficial way. Simply cutting down the reaction time of moving forwards and backwards could mean 1st or 2nd place in a match. Overall, kudos to OCZ for offering a product that gives everyone a glimpse of what is possible in future gaming.
Legit Bottom Line: While only a select few may reap the benefits and power of the NIA, OCZ has opened the door to extra-sensory gaming and will always be known as the first company to release such a product to the mainstream market.