The Innovation Accessories Blowout

My recent PlayStation kick lead me to wanting some various accessories, mainly a light gun to use for Time Crisis and a mouse for the various point and click games that made their way to the PSX. I stumbled across an eBay user going by cheapgamestuff who had quite the goldmine of products made by the third party company Innovation. I think he seriously came to own a warehouse loaded with new old stock because he has quite a variety. When I was looking through his stock he even had floppy discs with files for some old design software that was for the box art of the Innovation products. He was selling them for way too much money for such a novelty item... but I suppose there may be someone out there who would want something like that.

Looking through this users' items, Innovation seems to have made just about everything. I had seen products made by the brand before, but didn't own anything myself. I generally avoid thid party controllers with the exception of light guns, video cables and controller extension cables. For light guns I have two Interact Starfires for the Dreamcast and some no name guns for the original Xbox to use with House of the Dead 3 and Silent Scope Complete. Both of these guns work completely fine so I had no hesitation with a third party light gun. I figured light guns have been around for a long time... so it can't be easy to fuck up. Right? Well, let's see.

Innovation Mouse

This was the item I wanted the most that lead me to this goldmine of new-old stock. I was wanting it to play Clock Tower: The First Fear and a few other games that supported it. The photo on eBay showed several different colors and listed them as used. The description mentioned that they were found in a box, apparently not in any sort of packaging. It seems it was only listed as used due to its no box status. I took the ball out of the mouse and it was completely clean. Either way, I'm very pleased with this mouse. It works perfectly. I ended up with a red one, there were apparently multiple colors but no way to choose what color when I made my purchase.

AV Breakout Connector

I purchased this as I needed a solution for connecting a GunCon style controller to my TV. I'm using a Sony PVM-1354Q with RGB, thus I'm using a SCART cable connected to a BNC breakout cable. The PSX I use is a 5501 model, meaning there aren't discrete AV jacks on the back like the 1000 model. This was the item I was actually most concerned about. I was worried that the RGB lines might not be connected, but they indeed are. I noticed no image quality loss whatsoever. The end of the breakout has a PlayStation AV plug that my SCART cable goes into and then the male composite jack on the GunCon goes into the female composite plug on the breakout. Definitely recommended, cheaper than buying the Namco or Sony breakouts.

Dual Shock Gun

Alright, here we go. The light gun. Contrary to what I've talked about so far, this gun is complete garbage. I paid a lot more for it than I would have for a plain old used GunCon. What made me go for this was the fact that it's compatible with PSX and Sega Saturn, which means it's switchable between the GunCon mode and a standard light gun mode. This was especially attractive as Saturn guns aren't very cheap and the non-GunCon PSX light guns are rather expensive. There's not many PSX games that are non-GunCon but I really love Area 51 and that just so happens to be a non-GunCon game.

The gun itself has a nice look to it. The button on the left side is perfectly placed for Time Crisis, letting you get a good grip on the gun and feel as badass as one should when pointing a piece of plastic at outdated TV tech. The problem with this gun is that there is something terribly, horribly wrong with the electronics. Aiming is important with a light gun and it all goes out the window with the Dual Shock Gun. Using it on the GunCon calibration screen at the start of Time Crisis, you can see that the pointer spazzes out and jumps around in a triangle pattern. In addition, if you aim towards the edges of the screen it has a tendency to jump across the screen wildly. This happens in non-GunCon mode as well, so you'll face the same problems when you're storming Area 51.

I opened up the gun hoping to find a leaky capacitor, but all of them were fine. There's a fairly large rumble motor which I thought may be causing too much power draw and interfering with other electronics in the gun, so I disconnected it. No difference there, either. This gun is apparently just composed of cheap components. Perhaps this could be fixed by replacing the photodiode with a better one, but I ultimately decided that this wasn't worth the effort. I'd likely have to wait for a part such as that to be sent from China and then there would be no guarantee it would be any better. Take a hard pass on this gun. I ultimately replaced this with a Nyko Super Cobra which has all of the same features and a tacky design, but it actually functions as it should.

PlayStation System Link Cable

A likely little used feature of the original PlayStation, system link. Honestly, I just sort of bought this on a whim. I really enjoy the PSX port of DOOM (the only knock against it is the removal of the cheesy awesome MIDI Slayer soundtrack), and I figured it would be cool to have around for some drunken night with friends. There's a fairly healthy list of games that support the link cable. Not all of those titles are wildly appealing, but there are some good ones there. Also, you really can't beat an arcade style setup where everyone has their own monitor. This item also works perfectly fine. This is somewhat unsurprising, it seems like this is more or less just a mass of wires connecting one system to the other. I tested it out with DOOM and it was all good.

So there you have it. 3/4 items were perfectly fine, and one you should avoid like the plague. Given that 3 of these 4 items are fairly uncommon, I'd say that's not that bad of a track record for Innovation.