CES 2009 Report: Special Awards Division
While the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show was full of actual good and useful products (look for a detailed roundup of them in the near future), it was also full of products and scenes that were generally more interesting than good, per se. Thus we've created an entire Special Awards Division to trawl through our photographic evidence of the show and pick out creative honors for these most interesting specimens. The categories might be up for debate, but the prize of "absolutely nothing" for each winning company remains constant. Let's go!
Not to Be Confused With Award: Logitek Electronics Co.
This maker of mid-grade HDTV mounts wins for being perilously similarly-named to computer accessory maker Logitech, which unveiled some new gaming products at CES.
Weirdest Speaker Shape Award: Bowers & Wilkins
I have no idea if the shape of these speakers will make your games sound better, but at the very least they're bound to get your guests saying, "What the hell is that thing?"
Embarrassingly Big Karaoke Set List Award: Compact Karaoke
Think the few dozen songs available in Karaoke Revolution and Rock Band are impressive? You ain't seen nothing until you've seen the 2,000-plus songs contained in the wireless "Compact Karaoke" microphone shown here. Of course, all those songs' MIDI files come at a steep price: $229 and up for the entire unit (An aside: In honor of the picture, this award was originally called the "An Asian Guy and a Jew Walk Into a Karaoke Bar" Award).
Least Necessary Wii Accessories Award: Game Technology System Inc.'s Wii Music "instruments"
I thought the cheap-plastic-crap-to-put-on-your-Wii-remote-to-make-it-look-vaguely-like-something-else trend had reached its peak of ridiculousness with the Wii Light Sword. I believe the above picture shows just how wrong I was.
Honorable Mention: CTA Digital's "Pom Poms" for Wii
Best Gaming Accessory You Stand On Award: The X Rocker Vibe
At a show full of rumbling, speaker-filled chairs that you sit on, only X Rocker was brave enough to have a rumbling, speaker-filled stage that you stand on while rocking out. The rumbling didn't exactly make me feel more like a rock star, but it did simulate the feeling of an earthquake rather well...
Must-Have For Serious Portable Gamers Award: The SmartAC Inverter
Why struggle with a tangle of different adapters for your portable systems when this one $50 attachment turns any car lighter adapter or plane outlet into a standard AC power source? Perfect for charging your laptop, listening to your iPod, or blow-drying your hair while on the road, too!
Someone Call Harmonix Award: Merkury Innovations DJ Mixer
This tiny turntable, which lets you add DJ mixing effects to songs on your iPod, is practically begging to be made into an elaborate controller for a Beatmania-inspired game. Harmonix ... are you listening?
Best Use of a Rhythm Game to Promote An Unrelated Product Award: Roland V-Drums
In one of the more popular parts of their booth, drum machine-maker Roland plugged one of its deluxe MIDI drum sets into a PlayStation 3 copy of Guitar Hero World Tour. The springy heads and free-swinging bass pedal were so nice to play with, I'd almost consider shelling out the $2,500 it would take to get a similar setup at home. Almost...
Worst Use of Rhythm Game to Promote An Unrelated Product Award: MaxxTronic's "Cheap Trick" Truck
In-car speaker installer MaxxTronic tricked out this pickup with an Xbox 360 and Rock Band drums built right in to the trunk door. On the one hand, this idea is just too silly for words. On the other hand, it got me to stop what I was doing and pay attention to their booth, so maybe it wasn't such an awful idea after all...
Best LCD Screen Inside a Car's Wheel Well Award: Treo Engineering
Treo won this award uncontested.
Largest Guitar Controller Award: dreamGEAR Warbeast
Tiny Asian girl shown for scale.
Smallest Guitar Controller Award: Riff Rocker
Don't be fooled by the picture: I actually really liked this tiny, $15, USB-compatible guitar, which works with freebie PC Guitar Hero clone Frets on Fire. A rep told me they're also working on a set of tiny drums. Rock on!
Best Game Projected Seven Stories Tall Award: Resident Evil 5
Capcom won this award uncontested.
Most Expensively Unnecessary Product Award: NovelQuest Emperor
This three-screened monstrosity of a desk starts at just under $40,000. 'Nuff said.
Product That Makes Kyle Look Most Ridiculous Award: A tie between Mattel's thought-controlled Mind Flex toy, coming this fall, and...
...the Myvu personal viewing system, available now.