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Handspring Visor Prism Gameface Review
By Robert Zach
Palm said at one time there was no real need for color; I guess they hadn't seen some of the great arcade style games that were available! So if you're like me and use your expensive color PDA predominantly as a gaming platform then there is no need to rationalize the $39.99 for the Handspring Visor Prism Gameface! GO get one now, because it greatly enhances the gaming experience.
This device is a silver colored plastic cover that transforms the four built-in application buttons and up/down scroll buttons into a 4 way joystick with 2 action buttons. The Address, Up, Down, and ToDo button become Left, Up, Down, and Right respectively. Datebook and Memo become the two action buttons.
What is most delightful to me about the Gameface is the method of attachment. The accessory attaches exactly like the screen cover. I find this small engineering design marvelous, and it reminds me of how Palm made such a splash with the PalmV stylus rails. These at first seem so simple yet many accessories and third-party hardware developers have really taken advantage of these simple engineering methods. The Gameface fits snugly and it can be attached and removed quickly. The only minor hitch is that it covers the HotSync port.
The Gameface does not intrude on the screen or graffiti areas at all, making the Visor still usable as a productivity tool with the accessory attached. I did find that due to the extra height the accessory adds that the stylus needs to be held more upright when graffiti-ing strokes. No big deal though. I also found that I do not like the joystick nub, but this screws off! Nice touch. For my big fisted play, I also found that my hands got cramped quickly. You are grasping only the bottom portion of the Visor, so there isn't much area to hold on to.
The Gameface has no driver software, so the only games it will work with are those which allow you to directly map the playing keys. Fortunately the Gameface comes bundled with an AWESOME game. Zap!2016 by Astraware. This is the 16-bit color version of the very popular Zap!2000. It is the full game, but a Handspring specific version (1.43H). This game justifies the $39.99 price for the plastic.
The Visor Prism, with 16-bit color, is simply the best Palm gaming platform to date (but here comes Sony!). Bottom line...this is (literally) the only solution for the Visor owner. And, as a gamer, you need one! Go out and get one!
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