The 1998 game controller that tried to replace your mouse


The horseshoe-shaped controller was equipped with four short-throw secondary buttons, two large contact thumb buttons, and four wraparound triggers on the back, all of which could be programmed to replicate the functions of the keyboard and the mouse, such as crouching, shooting, jumping, etc. Everything was placed on a base with a four-axis movement.

Players were supposed to move the handles in the direction they wanted to avoid incoming rockets. Plus, circle-strafe was all the rage at the time, and ThrustMaster meant you could turn the handles as if you were moving around in real life. It seems that ThrustMaster was trying to provide a very early version of the virtual reality hand controllers.

The Look “M” (Mouse) feature was intended to mimic using a mouse to look around. Pushing the controller down made you look down; shooting it caused you to look up, and side to side replicated turning your head in that direction. It was supposed to help players eliminate unwanted campers easily. But the piece de resistance was the much-vaunted MegaHurts mode, which was supposed to mimic the quick response movement and precision of a mouse.

In reality, none of this worked as well as expected. In one of the few hands-on reviews still available on the internet, moving the clumsy controller “was very uncomfortable” and “aiming was also difficult”. Also, since the grips were “pointed down”, trying to aim up sight was uncomfortable and moved the whole base. Another review from 2014 made similar claims about its agonizing “ergonomic design”.

While getting the most frags is undoubtedly the name of the game, using the FragMaster to get them was definitely not the answer.


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