by K. Samwell on November 6, 2007 in Peripherals
Gamers love using peripherals that give them an edge, but is Ideazon’s MERC Stealth one of those products? That’s what we were set to find out. One thing is clear… this is a feature-packed keyboard, though it might not be for everyone.
Alphanumeric key sounds are a little on the loud side, I would have preferred to see more of a soft-touch integration that would not constantly clack in your ear as you’re trying to type HEAL HEAL HEAL! Thankfully the gaming pad is soft touch, and much quieter.
This keyboard is corded*, and has optional ports for your headphones. This would be good if you use a bluetooth wireless set, however I think that having the headphone cord drape from the back of your keyboard to your head would be annoying, and draping it under the keyboard would be restrictive.
*According to the Ideazon website, “We are looking into the technology [of wireless products] and recently surveyed gamers at QuakeCon, BlizzCon, Comic Con and Sony Fan Faire about the use of wireless products while gaming.”
Personally, I would not use this keyboard for my everyday tasks. I’m also reluctant to use it for the games I currently play because the keyboard layout while adaptable, means reteaching your tried and true muscle memory movements. If you’ve been playing a game for many years, you’re not likely to be able to change your habits with it. I’d use this keyboard on a new game definitely, particularly one on the list, since I’d be teaching my fingers to use this keyboard and not a standard layout keyboard.
Do you want to play a game?
Quoting Joshua may seem obscure to some. If you don’t know what that is, go watch a movie.
Tossing out the idea of teaching these fingers how to play my old games with new moves, I decided to pull something from the list I haven’t played in ages, but still have kicking around, and give it a try.
After locating some disks and giving this keyboard a try with a few different games, I’m impressed but not overwhelmingly so. For me, the lack of strafe keys under the existing 6 movement keys is a definite detriment. (normally these would be the Z and C keys, and while C is represented as a thumb accessible button, Z is not, so I guess I can only strafe in one direction…)
I spent a lot of time ‘finding’ the keys I was trying to use on the dedicated gaming terrain, but I also realize that with time and muscle memory, this would not be an issue. I like that the keys are set up at different heights on the terrain, so that they can be ‘felt’ once you’re used to the layout.
Most keys you use with your left hand normally are represented on the terrain, WADS, QE, RFV, C, TGB, and they’re in a relatively close position as to what they are on the normal keyboard, if not just a little further than you’re used to. With your hand on the regular keyboard, G is in a specific position relative to the normal position of your hands on the keyboard.
On the gaming terrain, G is close to this spot with regards to vertical positioning, though a little further away with regards to horizontal positioning. The P key is tossed over there as well and that one threw me off. P is a key you would normally access with your right hand since it is clear across the keyboard. I kept telling my left hand it had access to the P key as well, but it wasn’t listening.
Overall, I understand the appeal of the dedicated gaming terrain, however my recommendation would be to set this keyboard aside and use it purely for gaming, and not for everyday use. Be prepared to die in your games quite often while your muscles adjust to the placement of the keys on the dedicated gaming terrain. Games that rely on both the numpad and the find/home/end etc keys are not going to work well with this keyboard unless you’re really good at teaching your fingers new things.
Maybe this old dog isn’t as good at learning new tricks, but I found trying to switch from a game I’ve been playing for 8 years on a regular keyboard, to this keyboard, was more frustration than it was worth and I found myself just defaulting over to the original keyboard, in hopes I wouldn’t die before I could figure out how to execute a command. Now new games were not as much of an issue, since you’re teaching yourself the game along with the new keyboard, even so, I still found it somewhat easier to just pop over to the keyboard once in a while.