Not too long ago, I wrote about my love for all things Razer Quartz (opens in new tab). The pink peripherals have taken over my desk, but writing that feature gave me a bit of time to think on just why that was. Why did I love my pink keyboard, pink mouse and pink headset far more than my standard black counterparts?
I touched upon it slightly at the end—with games being a form of expression, it only makes sense that we would want to extend that to the way we also play games. Consoles have long played around with different colours and styles to suit different tastes. I was the proud owner of a bright pink PlayStation 2 slim console, my Nintendo Wii was the bright red edition that released for Mario's 25th anniversary. My collection of PlayStation controllers and Nintendo's Joy-Cons are becoming a mini Pantone catalogue inside my wee gamer drawer.
But for some reason, it's long felt like a different story for PC players. For a long time, the only thing I could conjure up when thinking about keyboards, mice, and headsets were jet black or dark grey. They'd mostly be accented with a red trim or lighting, though sometimes blue and green would also make an appearance. I was never a fan of them, finding the black and red colour scheme a bit rubbish. More power to people who love it, but it never really resonated with me. They're just… so reminiscent of the vibe my Dad would love. That blocky, sharp appearance for peripherals looked like they belonged to an '80s sci-fi villain. Brands like Mad Catz were by far the worst offender with random bits of plastic protruding from their keyboard and mice, unnecessarily taking up space. Mice with holes in them that even someone without trypophobia would find harrowing. Even Alienware's sleeker visuals with subtle touches of LED lighting weren't my cup of tea.
So for the longest time, I picked the least offending things I could use. I would type away at plain keyboards and move my silly cursor with a basic mouse but I never really felt passionate about the tools I used to navigate around my hobby. I mean, why should I? The thing I should feel passionate about is whatever my keyboard and mouse are controlling. Why should the vessels matter?
Play the rainbow
It turns out they matter to me a lot more than I thought. Until I sat down to write this feature I hadn't realised how often I steer away from the standardised black controllers, consoles, and rigs. I'm not one to tie colours or shapes to masculinity or femininity, but for a hot minute, PC gaming very much felt like something that wasn't meant for me. I looked at a red Wii, a pink PlayStation 2, or a bright blue 3DS and thought "hey, these are pretty cool!" I loved comparing my own colourful gaming setups to my friends' and I always loved when they would come round and admire my colourful collection of consoles. But when I looked at PCs, they always felt rather uninviting, like I had to be super hardcore serious to enjoy them.
It's kind of wild how aesthetics can subtly gatekeep people from a hobby. Things that simply look or feel unapproachable can deter someone from exploring something they were interested in. I could never see myself sat at an all-black setup, my green Razer LEDs flashing. I wanted to be expressive, show people what I gamed at, and have it show a little bit of me as a person.
That's why I'm so grateful now for lines like Razer's pink Quartz (opens in new tab) and white Mercury range (opens in new tab). Logitech has really stepped up its game too—I adore lavender purple range it's released as well as its high-end Aurora collection (opens in new tab) with a gorgeous pink and white colour scheme. Even chair makers like Secretlab have a ton of expressive seating options and I love my black and iridescent KDA version. There are plenty of cheaper, no-name brands pumping out a wide variety of colours too. But it's nice to see the big names taking a step towards making gaming a more approachable, expressive space for everyone who engages with it.
I love walking into my office each morning and seeing a setup that feels like me. It's the same feeling I'd get picking up a themed console. It feels unique and affords a quick glimpse into who I am as a person. It might not look as clean or sleek as the all-black versions, but I wouldn't change my adorably mismatched rig for anyone.