By: Matt Chin on March 2, 2003
At a glance, the GamePak from LASR Accessories appears to be a normal backpack for storing text books, pencils, paper and other school essentials. However, on closer inspection, you will quickly learn that the GamePak is perhaps the most innovative and best designed console carrying case ever created.
The GamePak was designed for gamers on the go. If your parents drag you to grandma's house every other weekend, it can definitely be a hassle to disconnect your PlayStation 2 from the living room entertainment system, pack everything up, and connect everything again into Grannie's ancient TV set. Then you have to repeat the process again when its time to return home. With the GamePak, you can store your PS2 and gaming accessories all in once place, and play right out of the bag! You never have to unpack your PS2 again unless you really need to.
On the outside, the GamePak has a simple but very appealing design. There are no game logos sewn on, so people won't know that you are carrying around an expensive piece of hardware with you. When holding it in your hands, you can tell that LASR Accessories has chosen to use only high quality material. I was definitely surprised by how sturdy the entire pack was. In fact, the outer material is very thick so there is no need to worry about wearing the GamePak outside in heavy rain -- assuming you zip everything up properly. Just to make sure, I dumped a bucket of water onto the GamePak and not one drop of water managed to seep inside.
At the top of the pack, there is a nice large rubber handle for those of you who prefer to carry the case by hand. Of course, there are also two adjustable shoulder straps that are extra wide, so even if you have a bulky frame, the GamePak should be quite comfortable on your back. In addition, two heavy-duty rubberized corner pads can be found at the bottom of the bag to prevent it from damage if you accidentally drag the pack along rough surfaces.
In my opinion, the outside of the GamePak looks very attractive but the true craftsmanship of the bag is revealed once you actually open it. On the inside flap, there are eight pockets made of non-scratch material to hold your CDs/DVDs, a netted compartment to hold game manuals and such, and two more pouches to keep your memory cards in place.
The main compartment provides an area to store your PS2 and two controllers (the Dual Shock 2 is quite small so you might be able to get four controllers in there if you tried). Getting my PS2 into the GamePak for the first time was a bit difficult since the area that holds it is very snug. However, it does a great job of holding the console firmly in place so if you need to run from a group of rabid dogs, the insides of your PS2 won't become damaged. Of course, try running with your PS2 in a normal backpack and you may have a damaged system on your hands.
Once the PS2 is inside the GamePak, you'll notice that there is a convenient area behind the console to store the power cord and A/V cables. A zippered "door" is located at the very bottom of the bag so that you can easily pull the cables out and connect them to your TV. The door also allows warm air from the PS2 fan to flow out of the bag. I left my PS2 on for several hours while it was inside the GamePak and I did not experience any overheating problems.
Perhaps the only fault with the GamePak is that it doesn't seem to be designed for PlayStation 2s equipped with the Official Sony Network Adaptor. A hole to allow room for an Ethernet cable or phone line would have been nice. USB adaptors should work fine though. Other than that, the GamePak is a very fine product, considering that the MSRP is only $34.99. Highly recommended.
-- The GamePak is available for purchase at www.lasraccessories.com. Other retailers will start carrying the product in mid 2003.