This is a really big honkin' controller!
Like the NES Advantage (Nintendo) of the eighties, the NYKO Maximizer is yet another attempt to refine the game controller into something more manageable. My own theory has always been that any gamer can use any design of controller so long as her or she has enough time to get used to it. Nevertheless, there are many positive aspects to the Maximizer that make it more than just a mutated Playstation controller with a joystick attached.
For one thing, the button pad itself is huge, with large colored buttons on a raised circular platform. The really cool thing about this is that the platform has a 270 degree rotation. This means that if you have never liked the position of the X button, or any of the other buttons for that matter, you can move them around to any circular angle that you desire. The downside of this is that the L1, L2, R1, and R2 buttons (the top buttons on the standard controller) are also on this circular platform. Here, these buttons seemed awkward to me. And because you cannot access any buttons with your left hand, some button combinations are very difficult.
Across the center of the large controller is a series of turbo switches, corresponding to each button on the controller. Each of these switches determines the firing speed of each of the regular controller buttons, from automatic to fast. As an example, suppose that you are in a plane and your mission is to blow up everything in sight and, let's suppose that you have a nearly unlimited supply of machine gun bullets and/or rockets and missiles. Unconcerned about the stocks in your personal armory, you simply wish to destroy everything in sight. With the Maximizer, you can switch the "fire" button to turbo and launch rounds twice as fast as normal, or flip the switch to "auto" and launch rounds in one continuous stream. Either way, much carnage will occur.
And another bonus includes a wrist-rest right under the circular button platform, so as to avoid the horrors of carpal tunnel syndrome from prolonged use of this device.
So how does this thing work in action? The answer is fairly well, depending on the type of game you want to play. The controller is at its best when playing your standard shoot-em-up, or the "jumping over little men" type of Super Mario Brothers action game. It also performs well with a variety of flight games. My fraternity brothers used it on NCAA Gamebreaker '97 and thought that it added an extra feel to sports games as well. However, when we tried the controller on Car and Driver's Grand Tour Racing '98, everyone unanimously hated the joystick and preferred the Playstation's standard controller. The fact of the matter is that the
Maximizer simply does not give one the control necessary to handle a race car on a tight course. But, that should not take away from the fact that the controller performed well otherwise, and except for a somewhat short cord length, is a handsome addition to any Playstation.