When it comes to storing your consoles most people just sit them in their entertainment centers where they remain until you replace them. While an ideal solution for most people, there are problems when you want to move the console to another room or if you don't have any room in your entertainment center. There's also the wonderful issue of cooling. A lot of entertainment centers are closed in with nice glass doors that help keep heat inside near the console. In the past, this really wasn't a problem but with this generation's consoles creating enough heat to warm a small room it's becoming more and more of an issue. Atlantic has come up with a solution to these problems in the form of the Atlantic Gaming Tower.
The Atlantic Gaming Tower features four shelves (well, technically three and a half) and an open air design. The rack doesn't take up a lot of space and it wouldn't look out of place in a bachelor pad, college dorm room, or the room of a teenager. That said the Tower's wireframe design didn't pass the all important "Significant Other Test" as my girlfriend described it as a bit on the "Fugly" side. Personally, I don't think it's that bad but if you're not the primary decorator in your household you might want to run it through approval process before blowing nearly $60 on the thing.
Assembling the Gaming Tower is pretty easy stuff and if you've put together a wire shelving system lately, you're already familiar with how the system works. You first screw the four corner posts together and then screw in either the flat feet or the casters (a nice choice) that come with it. After that, it's just a matter of placing the shelves onto the posts. Attaching the shelves is fairly straight forward as you put together the tabs on either side of a pole and then slide the shelves over top of the tabs. It's pretty easy to do but you have to make sure the tabs are exactly the same spot on each pole. This is a little easier said than done as you've got to count the lines on the bars to get everything matched up, something that you don't realize you've screwed up until you get the shelf on. It took me around 30 minutes to get the thing together but your time will vary based on how many times you mis-align a shelf or if you put one on backwards or not.
Once put together, the Gaming Tower is fairly solid. I'm not saying it's going to survive being sat on but I wasn't worried at all about knocking the thing over. Atlantic includes a strap that you can fasten to the back of the tower and attaches to a wall if you're really paranoid about it falling over.
The Atlantic Gaming Tower contains four shelves to store games, consoles, and accessories. The bottom shelf slides out and is intended to be a repository for all your games. The shelf holds around 40 games but also serves as a nice place to stick a few accessories or extra controllers. The third shelf is intended as the place for you to put your PlayStation (2 or 3) and a space for you to vertically place an Xbox 360. I tried sticking my PS3 in the slot but it was a little too wide for the cut out. The Xbox 360 is a fairly tight fit which is nice as you don't have to worry about it moving around if the system gets bumped. You could also stick a standard PS2 or slimline PS2 in the slot if you were so inclined.
The second shelf is ideal for a Wii, slimline PS2, HD DVD Drive or other small device. The cut out for the Xbox 360 takes up about a fifth of the shelf space but that still leaves plenty of space for storing something. The top shelf is only half as long as the other shelves and I'm not sure if that's for aesthetic reasons or not but it seems intended to store a game cube or more games and accessories. The system comes with four controller holders that you attach to the top shelf. These are very nice and you can use them to hold onto Xbox 360, PS2/3 controllers, as well as your guitars for guitar hero (something I don't think that Atlantic Intended). It would have been nice to have a locking mechanism for these as they just sit in place but they do look good and it's nice to finally have a place to stick my controllers.
Atlantic does include a some Velcro wire holders but it would have been nice to have some clips on the sides and back of the tower to route wires to. While it's not included with the system, I could easily see mounting a power strip or two to the back of the tower so you could route all of your power to one unit. You could potentially mount a component switcher to the side or back of the tower so you only had one audio/video link out of the system. Longer term, it might be nice for Atlantic to have a model with one or two of these things built in as I think it would make the gaming tower a truly mobile system.
The Gaming Tower isn't a bad product but it's not going to be for everyone. If you're looking for a place to keep all of your gaming stuff and don't mind the wire shelf motif, then it certainly deserves consideration.
While some people may be turned off by the aesthetic there's no arguing that the Atlantic Gaming Tower does what it sets out to do.
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