The Fragpedal isn't the most of groundbreaking ideas and the line of thought behind it is fairly obvious, annoying as it may be to have five guys in a boardroom saying; "How about this? A keyboard, yeah, that you can – stay with me here – control with your feet? Would people buy that?"
No, of course they wouldn't because it would be inoperable and fundamentally flawed, which is why the Fragpedal was reduced to just four buttons, two for each foot.
Unfortunately, it's still inoperable and fundamentally flawed.
When the Fragpedal arrived on our desks, we have to say that were less than impressed at it's presentation. It may be a little unfair, but unfortunately for the Fragpedal first impressions do matter. So, when the Fragpedal arrived in nothing but a clear plastic bag, with a set of instructions that kept referring to a non-existent CD.
So, with no CD to install the required software from, we had to download it from the internet. This involved downloading two files – the first was the configuration utility for a gaming mouse we'd never heard of. The second updated that utility to work for the Fragpedal. Seems like a long winded solution to us.
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So, with the software installed we tore open the little plastic bag and got our hands on the Fragpedal – not the way you're supposed to do it, but give us a chance, we're new at this.
The Fragpedal is made up of two slabs, each connected to the other and joined to the computer via a single USB connection. The all-black slabs are punctuated only by the two rubberised buttons that protrude out of them. The underside of each pedal is also rubber coated and provides a fair amount of grip, especially on a thick carpet when it becomes almost impossible to shift them.
The obvious application for any gaming pedal device is a driving game, so the first thing we did was set it up for Trackmania: Sunrise, which is a firm office favourite. Setting one of each of the four buttons to a direction, we plunged straight in and got ready to flex our toes.
At first it was a little uncomfortable but then, after a while, it was still uncomfortable. We tried it for a while longer. But it was still uncomfortable. And it broke. One of the buttons, the one we had set to accelerate, stopped responding completely no matter how hard we pressed on it. Part of it might have been our smelly soles, but most of it was probably poor construction.
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We moved on to Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter and set the buttons to a variety of functions – leaning, zooming and issuing commands, and returned to our testing. While the Fragpedals were easier to use, the difference in gameplay wasn't very pronounced. All these commands previously existed at our fingertips anyway and making them appear at our toe-tips too didn't really add anything to the game experience.
This isn't always the case; racing games do usually tend to benefit from using footpedals, but it should be pointed out that these are not pedals for a driving game. They do not feel or look or behave anything like a set of pedals for a racing game. Instead they feel more like semi-tacky foot massagers.