One of the best moments when playing a racing game comes at the starting line, revving the engine while waiting for the signal to go.
Auto racers have long had foot pedals and a wheel to simulate the excitement of the contest. But for motorcycle, motocross and ATV racing games, the X button of a game controller makes a pretty lame throttle. Thrustmaster has solved that problem with a PlayStation 2 accessory motorbike gaming fans should want to get their hands on - the FreeStyler Bike handlebar controller ($50).
The controller works much like handles on a real motorcycle - throttle and brake on the right, clutch lever on the left (in some games, the clutch acts as another brake). It also has an eight-way directional pad on the left side and R1, R2 buttons for tricks and stunts in freestyle cycle games.
The FreeStyler has an internal motor for vibrating effects and it tilts for more realistic steering. It is more sensitive than hand-held controllers, however, so you will have to adjust your playing style to prevent oversteering.
The only complaint is the location of the D-pad, needed to perform tricks. It's placed a little too far from the thumb for easy reach, especially for small hands. If you look down - even for a second -to find the control while going 80 mph, you're likely to crash. So you'll wind up forsaking style points.
The FreeStyler Bike controller also works with PSOne, and there's a version for the PC, too.
Information: 514-279-9960 or www.thrustmaster.com.