Review – 3rd Space FPS Gaming Vest

PC and video games have moved into the world of 3D gaming (as long as you have the hardware for it) so getting totally immersed in the experience has to go beyond just using a controller. Is the 3rd Space Gaming Vest the answer, or just a waste of your hard earned cash? Find out after the jump.

First Person Shooter video games have long been a digital escape from reality into someplace where your digital character can take on bad guys (or good guys) but the sense of actual contact, whether it be bullets, knives, or grenades, has always been missing. TN Games’ 3rd Space Gaming Vest is changing that.

The vest is worn somewhat like a flack jacket, with a zipper and adjustable straps. It has eight areas that it can use to simulate contact (four in the front and four in the back) and each area has its own air powered actuator that thumps you at the appropriate time. The force is variable depending on the range and power of the incoming bullet or weapon. With areas in the front and back, it provides directional contact, so if someone is attacking from behind, it will let you know. It can also tell you right, left, or all around. If a grenade goes off by you, every actuator in the vest will let you know.

The vest ships with a small air compressor, USB cable, power supply, PC drivers, Call of Duty 2 and 3rd Space Incursion. There is a long list of PC games that already support this technology at the TN Games website. There is an adapter that will allow the vest to work with consoles but it won’t be available until March 2011. Current vests will work with the adapters once they are released. An HDMI versions is scheduled to release sometime in late 2011 as well.

We played Call of Duty 2 for several hours wearing the vest. Not only did it make the experience more fun and immersive, it actually improved our overall skills. The directional feedback the vest provides helped us to know where to look for someone who was shooting at us. Reaction times are cut way down once you grow accustom to feeling the thump in a certain area of your body, and then translating that into an area on your screen. It doesn’t really help with frags, but then again, not much does. Variable force thumps also help to let you know the distance of the shooter.

With the release of games in 3d, the vest really takes immersion to a whole new level. Console gaming and large 3D TV’s are definitely in the near future for the vest, and we can’t wait to try that out.

If you are an avid PC FPS gamer, you owe it to yourself (and your k/d ratio) to try this vest out. It’s currently on sale at TN Game for $99.00 USD, and for hardcore gamers, it’s worth the price.