reviews\ Jul 8, 2002 at 8:00 pm

The Wheel Station 2 - PS2 - Review

A Custom Made Racing Stand. Built By Hand, Out Of Wood, To Be Sturdy As Well As Light Weight. 

Steering Wheels. Peripheral manufacturers love to make them and gamers love to buy them. But no one likes to use them. That's because using a steering wheel is usually an awkward, uncomfortable experience. If you have ever sat in a chair -- or worse yet, sat on the floor -- and tried to play with a steering wheel in your lap, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Every time you make a sharp turn, the wheel is pulled from your lap. Your legs were not created to hold a steering wheel in place while you explore Crazy Taxi's enormous city. And even if they were, what fun would it be to have a wheel so close to your chest? Your arms are supposed to stretch out to reach the wheel, not bend in a position so cramped that it makes the Dreamcast controller seem comfortable.

The whole process is so frustrating that I gave up almost immediately after taking the wheels out of their boxes. I have three steering wheels for the PlayStation 2 and I never use them! Getting a new desk will not help solve my problem. For one, I don't have enough space in my game room, and the desk I have in there cannot be moved. I tried one of the steering wheels with an old metal table, but that didn't work either. The table was very wobbly and took up way too much space. Don't even bother asking me about a stool -- it's a lost cause as well.

But what if there was a way to enjoy all of your racing games and steering wheels with an arcade-like setup? Finally, there is a way to do just that with the Wheel Station 2.

The Wheel Station 2 is a custom designed wood stand for game console steering wheels. The top of the WS2 is slightly angled, alleviating one of the problems I had with the table. By being angled, the steering wheel can be easily placed in a straight position, making it a lot more comfortable to use. For some reason, peripheral manufacturers feel the need to angle their steering wheels. When is the last time you've used an angled wheel at an arcade? All of them, except for 18 Wheeler Pro Trucker's large, over-sized wheel, are straight.

The base of the Wheel Station 2 is large and very solid. A small square has been cut out to hold the GT Force's pedal base (hence the "custom designed" part). However, any steering wheel that clamps will work with the WS2. The pedal base holder is great, especially for gamers who jerk their feet around a lot while racing. But I had no trouble using smaller or larger pedals with it. I tested Saitek's RX400 steering wheel and it worked like a charm. The pedals never slid or moved around. It wasn't an exact fit, but then again, Zidane and Garnet weren't an exact fit either. She was a beautiful princess, while he was just a freakish-looking guy with a tail! Yet they still worked perfectly together.

The Wheel Station 2 is so good, you'll wish you had two! That way, you and your friend could experience Gran Turismo 3 the way it was meant to be experienced. Once you've tried the WS2, using a Dual-Shock 2 controller just won't cut it anymore. Cyber Cafés should hook up a few Wheel Stations, set up four TVs and charge people to play Gran Turismo 3. Then, even if the latte sucked, no one would want to leave.

I have used more peripherals this year than I can count, and none of them have been as cool or as useful as the Wheel Station 2. I can't figure out why someone didn't come up with this brilliant idea sooner! Kyle Goodknight is the man behind this terrific invention, and you can purchase the Wheel Station 2 at his Web site:

If you love racing game, you absolutely must buy the Wheel Station 2. I highly recommend it. 

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