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GDC 2006 The missing pen

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If anyone hasn't seen it, GameDev managed to claim number 7 on the IGN top 10 pens of the 2006 GDC (even though we where giving away the last of our 2005 pens - shh, don't tell anyone). However one pen worthy of mention was unfortunately skipped over due to the difficulty of obtaining one - the S3 Graphics pen.

The omission is understandable, as S3 wasn't exactly giving them away like candy. You needed to talk it up with one of their engineers or marketing VP just to get a chance (though being press or representing an interested buyer helped), making the S3 Pen harder to legitimately get then the Freescale Lego sets (though the Lego was at least in plain view, so you knew there had to be a way to get one).

However the effort to get one was well worth it. To begin with, you've got an all metal pen (even the cap seems to be made out of metal, with what appears to be some form of nice enamel paint to make it black), which means it immediately has a nice weight to it - nothing flimsy or plastic here.

The writing tip is also excellent, easily the best traditional ink tip of all the pens at the GDC. It writes with ease, requiring almost no pressure at all to roll the ball. The only pen that was smoother was the mid sized Microsoft grip pen, and it cheated by using a gel ink tip. The life of the tip is extended by both a hidden cover inside the cap, and by the fact that it is easy to replace - the lower body unscrews and the writing tip pops out.

So overall the pen is equivalent to one of those ridiculously marked up gift pens you can buy. So what makes it so special that it should be able to compete with IGN's number 1, the VMC pen that lit up with a green glow?

Yes, the clicker of the S3 Graphics Pen activates a built-in laser pointer. Makes you wonder why they didn't give one to everyone... (then again, we where giving people sticky darts, resulting in at least 3 confirmed fatalities).

Well, I managed to score a lot of other unique and rare swag at the GDC, hopefully we've be able to raffle some of it off or give it away as prizes.

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Freescale is still giving out Lego? I have a kit of theirs from when they first incorporated after becoming a bastard spinoff of Motorola. [grin]

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Yeah, pencils are so 1980s, but you've got to hand it to Rainbow Studios. It takes a lot of balls to stand up to the pen-wielding industry giants at GDC and go with the old-fashioned pencil... a lot of balls.

Haha! That made my night [grin]

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