Mouse pads and gaming surfaces have come a long way in the last thirty years which is saying a lot since the mouse pads themselves tend to be the most overlooked components in a computer setup. Most people will pick up whichever $10 pad looks the best, whether it is the basic blue or black plastic-y surface or if it is that gel mat with the giant cat picture suffused to it, it s generally a woefully under-appreciated peripheral and therefore gamers "skimp out" on the quality surfaces. My first introduction to quality gaming surfaces was back in 2001/2002 when I had been playing on both CAL-I and CAL-M teams in CounterStrike and was in the process of building a new computer.
After doing a ton of research on mice, keyboards, monitors, the whole works, one of the gentleman at a local computer shop brought up gaming surfaces. I naturally did not think much of it and did not buy whatever off-brand gaming mat he was offering and I went home with my new peripherals and components then built my first real "gaming machine." After a few days of scrimmages and an official match I went back to the same old store and bought that off-brand gaming mat since my ultra awesome laser mouse with the like, 1200 DPI (huge in those days) was tracking like balls and had me so frustrated. Once I placed that gaming mat down I was instantly sold and I have not been without one since (my Razer Kabuto is thin and durable and goes with em everywhere I go) and over the years gaming surfaces have come out in all shapes and sizes and that, my friends, is where Glorious PC Gaming Race's Glorious Extended Gaming Mouse Mat comes in.
So most folks, myself included, probably think of a mouse pad as something that is about 10 inch by 10 inch and fairly basic. Others may think of gaming surfaces as these ridiculously gaudy hunks of plastic with cold cathode neons all over it. In truth, neither of those parties are wrong, which is a shame because there are some awesome mats out there that do not fit into either of those particular definition. Take the Extended Gaming Mat; it is 3 feet long by 11 inches wide by .1 inches thick and it is, for lack of a better term, glorious. I will be completely honest that when the mat came out of its basic mail carrier's plastic bag and it was just a tightly wrapped bundle in some inexpensive plastic; it did not lend itself to a solid presentation.
That all changed once I opened the packaging though; not only was I floored by the thick, rich feel of the mat, but it has a bonded edge. Bonded edges are super durable without being obnoxious our gaudy and they ensure the surface of the mat stays tightly bound to the rubber-like backing. The mat has a good heft to it, I would even go to say that it is heavy in a good way, and as an added bonus, is machine washable. For those of you eating your Cheetos and drinking your multi-colored Mountain Dew at your computers will not need to worry about permanently staining your gaming gear. The finishing touch is the wondrous logo that is in the lower-right corner of the mat; the Glorious PC Gaming Race's logo is fantastic and a near-perfect representation of the PC gaming community. Honestly, I was extra thrilled to see that there is a sticker wrapped up in the mat, a sticker that is now proudly donning the front of my Samsung Chronos 7 gaming laptop. The logo has a beard. 'nuff said.
While aesthetics and being able to wash the Twinkie crumbs out of the mat are nice and all, the important aspect of the gaming mat is how well the surface actually works for both the gliding and the tracking of various types of mice. I have a variety of mice that I tried on the mat, ranging from an inexpensive gaming mouse (Etekcity's Scroll Alpha) to a middle-of-the-road gaming mouse (GX Gaming' DeathTaker), to the granddaddy of gaming mice (SteelSeries Sensei Wireless) and the results varied based on the mouse. Some mice, like the Scroll Alpha do not lend themselves well to the thicker, more plush mat and tend to create a lot of unnecessary friction. Mind you this is not the mat's fault but rather an issues the mouse's design.
With the GX Gaming mouse and the Sensei Wireless mouse there is a massive improvement over standard surfaces though again, there were a few quirks with the DeathTaker that were not evident with the Sensei. The surface of the mat itself is very smooth and is very forgiving, but the DeathTaker's optics were so sensitive that the mouse would pick up the near-microscopic granules and alterations in the surface; a testament to how nice the mouse is, yet still a very touchy aspect since mice need to track well without picking up too many imperfections. The SteelSeries mouse though, man ... such a beautiful glide with almost no friction really brought the mat's build quality to bear. If I did not know better, I would think that the Extended Gaming Mouse Mat was design with this mouse in mind so perfect does the mouse track and glide on the mat.
In all honesty, Glorious PC Gaming Race's Extended Gaming Mouse Mat was a total surprise; here is this three foot long mouse mat that my Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 keyboard can fit one while leaving me plenty of room for a mouse to the right of the keyboard which is hooked up to the desktop, and a mouse to the left of the keyboard which is hooked up to the laptop (KVM switches and software like Synergy, which I love, just are not as impressive as a gaggle of mice at your desk). I honestly asked myself why it is that I would need such a large mouse mat and almost dismissed this over-sized goodness as an unnecessary embellishment or some marketing ploy directed to the Walmart mentality (more is better, even if wasteful). I was so wrong; so incredibly wrong it hurts.
Honestly I love the mat so much I will be purchasing two more because it is one of the most comfortable mats I have used and has some of the best tracking and movement around, providing a better gaming surface than mouse pads that are not only a third of the size, but they can cost as much as three times what the Extended Gaming Mouse Mat costs. For a mere pittance, the Glorious PC Gaming Race's Extended Gaming Mouse Mat can be yours and I strongly recommend you head over to their site and pick up two. Yes, two, because you will fall in love and will want one for the main gaming rig and the secondary gaming rig.
Review by Robert