Portable Gaming Environment (With A Few Kinks)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

I had the good fortune to come into possession of a GI55 Sentry portable gaming environment during Pax Prime this year. This was actually something I was very excited about, because I live on an island near Seattle and have an hour trip in to town every day. I figured this was going to be an excellent way for me to spend that hour, and I immediately set about transferring my Playstation 3 to the unit. So far, no problems, the unit clicks in great and there's plenty of space for all the accessories.

It played great too, the screen displaying excellent quality, and clarity, but I discovered there were 3 major flaws with my idea for gaming during the ferry, one of which was unique to the ferry, the other 2 a little more universal:

1) The "complete portable gaming environment" doesn't have a power converter or power socket for the actual gaming console. You need separate plugs for the unit and your console, making things a little inefficient. They go from inefficient to annoying and possibly downright obstructive when you're in an environment (like a ferry traveling to Seattle) where power plugs are a resource in high demand. There were a couple times when I just couldn't play because of needing to share the sockets.(Solution: I started bringing a splitter to provide extra sockets along. It's a bit of a clunky solution, but it works)

2) The screen uses older LCD technology and lighting is a major factor. If you're in a dim and/or evenly lighted room, it works great. However, if the light is bright or uneven, it can quickly become very difficult to make out what's happening on-screen.

3) It's heavy as sin. Like, for real. It's a neat little briefcase sized package with a convenient handle, but with a console in it this thing gets to be a burden in a hurry. I've got a 1/2 mile walk (usually not bad at all) between the ferry terminal and work, and it seemed much, much longer with this burden in tow.

The convenience was great though, and the issues, remarkably small and easy to work around. My hope is that in GAEMS future models they consider the following features:
1) An internal power outlet/converter so that the environment can run off of one external outlet
2) Backpack-style carrying strap(s)
3) LED screen

And that's all it'd need really, to take a cool portable gaming environment, and turn it into a great one.