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Renegade Game Chair review: Renegade Game Chair

It performs well as a gaming enhancement but costs as much as a next-gen console. The Renegade is for committed gamers only.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

The fact that the Renegade Game Chair features in the Forty Year Old Virgin is nearly a review enough in itself. Regardless of how well this chair performs, owning one means either your friends and loved ones support your massive commitment to gaming or there's no one left to scold you.

5.5

Renegade Game Chair

The Good

Decent audio playback. Connects to anything with an AV output. Vibrating feedback is a fun element.

The Bad

... but works only on low frequency sound effects, so is non-existent in lots of gaming situations. Expensive. Difficult to assemble.

The Bottom Line

It performs well as a gaming enhancement but costs as much as a next-gen console. So the Renegade is for committed gamers only.

Design
The Renegade Game Chair isn't the kind of gaming peripheral you can easily fold up and store under your bed for when you have company over. It's a centre-piece, a talking point even. The chair is fashioned after the bucket seats you find racing cars, so it should fit in nicely with all the Holden flags and V8 racing paraphernalia you have decorating your studio apartment.

It's important to remember that this is a full-sized chair and, at a total weight of 22kg, the Renegade isn't a portable piece of furniture. It comes in several pieces and requires assembly and, while the CNET.com.au team prides itself on our ability to build IKEA wardrobes, the Renegade gave us quite a bit of trouble.

It comes bundled with the necessary stereo audio cables needed to hook it up to your TV and, once the chair is built, setup is very easy. This does, however, mean your new wireless gaming platform now has wires again.

Performance
The Renegade Game Chair has two distinct areas of performance to assess, the stereo audio played back through the speakers in the headrest, and the vibrating feedback. To test the chair we played a variety of Xbox 360 titles including Forza Motorsport 2, Blazing Skies 2, Dead or Alive 4 and the Bourne Conspiracy.

The audio for the most part is quite good. The Renegade supports 3D stereo sound, and while the audio is a bit shallow, overall it reproduces the sounds in games quite well. In the Bourne Conspiracy we noticed excellent stereo sound, with ambient sound effects and dialogue isolated to either the left or the right speaker, giving us a great experience in the third-person perspective of the game.

The vibrating feedback, on the other hand, could respond better. When playing games the chair vibrates in response to low frequency audio, like the bass in music, or thuds, crashes and explosions. This means when you are playing a racing game, like Forza, the chair barely vibrates at all as all the sound effects are high pitched. This is a shame as racing games are when the chair should really come into its own, as is evidenced by the chair's design.

Overall
With chic interior design in mind, the Renegade Game Chair lives up to its name as a rebelliously designed armchair sure to wreak havoc amongst your otherwise minimalist decor, and clash with your "mid-dawn fuchsia" feature wall. Jokes aside, you'll either love it and make room for it, or run screaming (with laughter) in the opposite direction.

It performs well as an enhancement for the gaming experience, the audio is good and the feedback is fun when the bass is kicking. At AU$649, similar to the cost of an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, the Renegade Game Chair is a major investment for committed gamers only.