Christmas is always a great time for fans of shiny things – and aside from an unfortunate incident with a SEGA Saturn, that’s generally been the case for me.
Over my 30-plus years on this planet, I’ve received all manner of great gifts. These range from the SEGA Master System my brother and I received, aged three, to the super-swish 1TB Samsung M2 SSD I got last year – don’t judge me, storage is cool.
But, one of the best presents I ever received remains the Logitech WingMan Warrior. For those not in the know, the Warrior was one of Logitech’s premiere joysticks in 1997 – a year that, in my mind, was one of the best ever for PC gamers.
I can already see the younglings of today rolling their eyes at my claim that a joystick is one of my best Christmas gifts ever, especially when by today’s standards the Warrior looks pretty basic.
I mean, look at some of the sim-setups on the market right now. The top peripherals from companies such as Thrustmaster, Logitech and Saitek all come with cool features that make older models look archaic. These include features such as custom foot pedals, force feedback, and a wealth of attachments that make you feel like you’re actually flying a spaceship in Elite Dangerous, or racing round a track in Project Cars.
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But back then the Warrior was revolutionary. It was the first joystick I’d seen with a second left-hand control and a 360-degree joystick with more controls and switches than you could shake a stick at.
At the time. we were living in Viborg, Denmark, and I remember staring at the joystick – which came with a copy of MechWarrior 2 – every time we visited the A-Z superstore.
Following two years of pestering, in 1997, my parents finally conceded that I was old enough to play a “violent game” such as MechWarrior. Which is the reason, when I came sprinting down the stairs on the big day and ripped open the wrapping to find the joystick and game I’d been hounding, I was elated.
Sure, the setup process wasn’t smooth – it took my parents, who were both pretty tech-savvy RAF engineers, a good three hours to find the right drivers and get the two presents up and running on our PC. But once there, I was in heaven.
I may be remembering MechWarrior2 through rose-tinted glasses, but jumping into the game and taking command of a Jenner IIC, I recall feeling like I was actually in the giant robot’s cockpit – and I spent more hours than I care to share blasting my way through the game’s missions.
It was this particular experience that kindled my love of PC gaming, a hobby I enjoy to this day – and something that, debatably, also sparked an interest in tech in general – which is pretty important considering my choice of career.
This is the reason the Logitech WingMan Warrior is, and will forever be, one of my best Christmas presents ever.