get closer to the action


If you're a would-be F1 racing driver looking for sitting room gaming thrills, there's no point in having the flashiest PlayStation3-type hardware and the latest driving games if you're pressing buttons on a plastic controller. No, what you need is something like a Playseat. Jonathan Crouch tries it

The levels of realism achieved by driving simulations on modern games consoles have reached a stage when even professional Formula One racing drivers happily admit to switching on the Playstation or XBox to learn a new circuit before they scream out of the pit lane for real. There's plenty of fun to be had slumped on the couch with a controller but increasingly, the hardcore gamers will settle for nothing less that the full race seat and steering wheel regalia. With the market for these accessories burgeoning, the team at Dutch company Playseats is confident of success.

The game designers have surpassed themselves, laying on ever more intricate layers of detail to the extent that today's driving games come within a whisker of real life, right down to the way the cars sound and handle or where the grip is on specific corners of specific circuits. The quest within the games industry to edge driving games and their fans closer to the reality of driving a race car round a Grand Prix circuit has spawned a booming market in driving game accessories.

Now, bedroom racers can sit in specially-designed race seats clutching sports steering wheels and stomping on drilled aluminium pedal boxes while they live-out their high-octane fantasies on the games console of their choice. Race overalls and helmet are optional but redecorating the lounge with a bottle of Dom Perignon 1985 after a win would probably be taking things too far.

The Playseats approach positively encourages this trend for recreating the reality of top level motorsport in the comfort of your own home with a range of racing seat products designed to work in conjunction with any console and any combination of steering wheel and pedal box controllers.

The Playseats race seat really does look the part. Covered in sturdy double stitched vinyl, it follows the design themes of the figure-hugging sports seats you'd find fitted in a high-performance road or race cars. The detailing on the units is first class with the twin air vents carved in to the headrest and the side bosters that curve round to hold you in place against the (imaginary) G-forces.

The seats come in a variety of colours with a choice of racy graphics. They are mounted on metal frames that you can fit your pedal box, steering wheel and even gearshift controllers for the full effect and they can be folded up for easy storage. The Playseats products are compatible with all consoles, controllers and driving games, so whatever set-up the driving game aficionado is running, the Playseat can bring it all together into one quality package.

More information on the Playseats range is available at