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Hands-on: iGUGU Gamecore, 'the most powerful TV videogame console'

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The non-existent Ergos Magazine says it has "1000s of free online games." The not-a-real-site Arknet Gaming writes, curiously in the past tense, that it "... Unleashed the real power of your PC videogames." The not-in-Google Hardzone Online Reviews confusingly calls it "... the broken link between PC and TV." Lastly, the generic (and unknown to this writer) Gamers Magazine says truthfully, that it has "Better graphics than Xbox and PlayStation 3."

Of course, all of these prestigious (and not real) outlets are talking about the same groundbreaking product: the iGUGU Gamecore or, as you may better know it, "the most powerful TV videogame console." After being blown away by the announcement video (mostly from the hot air) we simply had to stop by iGUGU's booth at CES and experience this revolutionary technology for ourselves. You can imagine our delight hearing the same hyperbole mumbled by the booth's announcer (who, conspicuously, had his back to the crowd the entire time) and seeing it in the form of the above quotes on the product's box.

Gallery: iGUGU Gamecore CES 2010 | 14 Photos

The first thing we noticed after picking up the Xbox 360-esque controller was how cheap it felt: it weighed less than the famously light PS3 Sixaxis and every button and every surface had the same low-cost feel. A (very clumsy) trackball lives where the Xbox 360 face buttons would be, and a somehow-worse-than-the-Xbox D-pad lives where the second analog stick normally goes. There are two face buttons (for "Open" and "Esc") curiously aligned with the left hand, and a full QWERTY keypad below which retains full compatibility with PC games while throwing any suggestion of ergonomics straight out the window. Now, let's talk about how it worked!

In my brief playtest with the product, I was more than a little shocked to find that they weren't using one of the many PC games that illustrate the PC gaming platform's graphical superiority; instead, I was playing Call of Duty: WaW on settings so low it looked a decade old. See this particularly pixelated screenshot for reference. The trackball did an understandably terrible job of standing in for an analog thumb stick, and using the keyboard was also understandably inefficient. Around the corner, we saw a newer game on display, so we ventured over to find a 3D version of Batman: Arkham Asylum being played ... at a slide show pace. Is there such a thing as negative frames per second?

While I only spent a short amount of time with the iGUGU Gamecore, I feel no compunction urging you to avoid it at all costs. There are myriad better solutions for playing your PC games on the television.

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