You are currently viewing an archival version of GF!

Click here to return to the current GamesFirst! website.

Questions? Suggestions? Comments?
Contact us at:

star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)star06.gif (4104 bytes)

by Nyko

At E3 everything is hot. Hot machines, hot games, hot boothbabes showing off hot product – LA in the late spring is hot, and trooping around miles of show floor makes a guy like me sweaty. So it was with great pleasure I demoed Nyko’s AirFlo Controller. Nyko, always an innovator, has come up with another great idea that seems just a touch wacky. They have put a fan inside a controller. How is it? Read on.

The AirFlo controller has a fan in the middle of it. We just got the Xbox version for review, and the Nyko controller for Xbox is sized somewhere between the Xtra Large and the Xbox Small controllers, so, hell, they could have almost fit a nice box fan inside the thing. Still, the little fan, which is very similar to what you find in your PC case, pumps out a nice breeze. There are molded plastic air channels that guide the air to your palms, preventing the sweat of many hours of gaming.

How does it work? Like a charm. The AirFlo keeps those palms dry and cool. If you do sweat a little it helps – making you a bit cooler overall and helping you line up that shot, jump, or pass. The fan has two settings, low and high, so you can adjust for the proper gaming fervor. But it is not a perfect system. Cooling down the palms and keeping them dry draws attention to a problem I never really realized I had – my fingers sweat. I’m sure you all haven’t thought about that issue much, either. I never realized that fingers (in general) sweat, but it makes perfect scientific sense. The AirFlo controller does not guide the nice breeze across your fingertips, and the realization that your palms are dry but your fingers are sweaty is more than a little disconcerting.

Of course, all of this would be worthless if the AirFlo weren’t a good controller. Fortunately, it is. The AirFlo feature the macro and turbo settings we’ve come to expect on third-party controllers, and the design is quite nice. As I wrote before, the sizing is somewhere between the large and small Xbox controllers, which is a nice compromise. The button orientation is a bit different than the first party controllers, but very easy to get the hang of. My big test for any controller these days is how easily I can whoop up at THPS, and I’m happy to report that million point combos were quickly in my reach using the AirFlo. The analog buttons exhibit great sensitivity and both the analog joysticks and the direction pad work like a charm. The grippy AirFlo channels add a bit of comfort to the design, too.

At a suggested retail price of $29.99, you may as well go for the Nyko AirFlo. Since the design and construction is so solid, it easily compares to, and tops many, other third-party controllers, and the pricing makes the fan pretty much free. Try out the fan and if you don’t like it you can always turn it off. My only suggestion for improvement is that in future models the air be channeled through the buttons and joysticks to better cool those sweaty fingers. Such is the fate of innovation: Answering the question always leads to more questions. Fortunately, we can always count on Nyko to keep plugging away at it.

Shawn Rider   (09/27/2002)


Ups: Fan actually works; solid construction; nice design.

Downs: Still doesn't cool fingers.

Platform: Xbox reviewed, available for PS2 and Gamecube