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GAEMS PGE Review

A GAEMS personal gaming environment (PGE) is exactly how it sounds--it's essentially a sturdy briefcase that can hold your gaming system and includes an HD monitor so you can take your console practically anywhere. That anywhere must have an outlet, as it's not powered by magic, so beach portability isn't easily possible just yet. I first heard of GAEMS thanks to LootCrate, and it didn't take long to know that I had to have one of these babies. I had vacation coming up, I'm additionally traveling out of town to physically join my Extra Life team, and Lord knows I can think of a million other reasons to haul one of my game systems off with me. I finally took the plunge and bought the black Vanguard edition just before joining my family for a week on the beach. I can honestly say this may be one of the best gaming investments I've ever made.

Every night after everyone else slipped off to bed at some ridiculously early hour, I sat down in front of my PlayStation 3 and played Diablo III. My brother-in-law caught me one night and expressed his displeasure that I didn't bring a second controller for him. It was almost like I hadn't left home at all, and you better believe this sucker will travel with me every time I visit my parents.

My initial hesitation in buying the system came from the website specs, which said that the case was only for the Xbox 360, PS4, and PS3 Slim. The company cautions that extra support is needed for the Xbox One (it is so fragile, you can't stand it on its side), but also explicitly stated that the original fat PS3 will not fit. I talked with their tech support on Twitter at length about it, and they explained that their fears would be that the large PS3 would crack the monitor when closing the case. I was assured that they were looking into appeasing us early PS3 adopters, and they most certainly did. Tech support said I needed to request an extra padded cushion when ordering and explain why I was asking for it. The cushion came at no extra charge, and I'm proud to say that after traveling across the state of Texas there and back there was absolutely no monitor damage.

Now would I dare fly with the fat PS3? I most definitely would not. The fit is super snug, and while I'm okay with packing it in my car, surrounded by suitcases and other padding, I'm not comfortable with the idea of throwing it in an overhead bin where it can rattle around for a few hours.

But would I fly with my Xbox 360 or PS4? Absolutely! In fact, the Xbox 360 is what I plan to pack with me for the Extra Life charity marathon, as I hope to finish up a few backlogged games in that 24-hour window. The GAEMS PGEs come in two varieties--the Sentry and the Vanguard--and the only difference between them other than price is the size of the monitor (and the color of the lights, if that really matters).

The Vanguard has a 19" LED screen, whereas the Sentry has a 15.5" screen. I purchased the Vanguard, because I figured if I was going to go all in, might as well go big. I was tempted by the Halo UNSC edition of the Vanguard, but I resisted just in case Halo enraged me down the line. The system also comes with two cloth bags to pack in a controller, the PGE's power cord, an HDMI cable, and your console's power cord. The PGE actually contains it's own short HDMI cable, so there's no need to pack yours or buy another one.

Setting it up is unbelievably simple as well. All you do is strap in your console, connect the HDMI, and plug in your console and system. With the PS3, I was not getting any sound with the games, but I did with the XMB menu, so I had to look up a fix on the GAEMS site, which explained exactly what I had to do. Apparently I don't have to reconfigure the sound for my other consoles; it's just the PS3 that is picky. The PGE has speakers in the case, but there are also two inputs for headphones as well. I used simple earbuds to game quietly while the rest of the house snoozed away.

I cannot recommend this little gadget enough for console gamers. It's great for packing up your console to take to someone's house, especially since you won't have to disrupt their potentially insane TV cable setups, or for traveling to hotels. For households who maybe don't want to share TV time, this would also be great to let one person play games while the other plays with another console or watches TV. If I did t have my own setup in my office, you can believe my husband would relegate me to this device, which I would happily do. The monitor is better than either of my computer monitors, and it's clearer and crisper than my office TV.

If you've been considering a GAEMS, just go ahead and move it to your must-buy list. If you haven't heard of it before, check out their website and ask their customer service any questions you have. The company is great at communication, which is part of what helped me seal the deal with my own case. I'd almost go as far as to say this is a must-have for multiple console owners, but it's definitely a must-have for traveling gamers.

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Reader Comments
lurkmurk Aug 09 2014, 03:00 pm EDT
I don't get it. Why not play PC games on your laptop? Are there really that many must-have latest gen console games that make it worth lugging this around (outside of game reviewing cohort)?
  Keri_Honea: I'm not a PC gamer, and the only laptop I have is my …
optimus slime Aug 09 2014, 05:13 pm EDT
I never understood this need. I realize it's your job, but when I go on a vacation I actually want to rest my eyes from various screens. I want to unglue myself from computers, phones and communicate with people who are strictly in my vicinity. I want to detach myself from as many things as possible that make up my everyday life. And force anyone who's with me to do the same. I'm talking baseball bat to the ankles force.
  Keri_Honea: To each his own. My family goes to bed super early, a…
finaleve Aug 09 2014, 10:25 pm EDT
I remember when I first got my PS2. On vacation, FFX just came out and my brother and I were stoked to play it. We opened up the box and attempted to hook it up to the TV but ALAS, the TVs there were cable only, not VGA capable. Disappointed, we sought the nearest store for something to allow us to play but weren't lucky.

It was a sad weekend at the hotel we stayed but outside of that, it was fun.

When I go on vacation, yeah, I'd love to do things that you're supposed to do on vacation but sometimes when there ISN'T something to do at the time or even if you and the family/friends want to gather round, video games are fun. Sometimes it even brings people "closer together"
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