I remember exactly where I was when I first heard about Gamer Goo. I was at home, tweeting about Gamer Goo.
The jokes soon dried up like so much Goo in a Gamer’s hand. But unbeknownst to me, Gamer Goo quietly persisted, partnering with big names in gaming like Twitch and building up a brand on the promise of no more sweaty gamer hands. And when I brought up the idea of reviewing gamer products to Fanbyte EIC John Warren, he reminded me of its existence. I reached out and obtained a sample of Gamer Goo’s offerings from the company.
Despite its novelty in the world of video games, Gamer Goo isn’t a totally new concept. Grip-enhancing products are used by weightlifters, climbers, and pole dancers — but those are all activities where a sweaty hand could mean a serious injury. Is it necessary for playing Call of Duty? Well, maybe not. But ask yourself this: is it necessary to play Call of Duty at all?
In all seriousness, Gamer Goo makes prima facie sense to me as a product for professionals, for whom fame and money is riding on their performance. I’ve never heard of a Super Smash Bros. player’s controller flying out of her hands because they got too sweaty, but I imagine slippage is possible and undesirable in a high-stakes situation. The question is, is it worth it for casuls like me?
More Like This:
- The Wet and Wild History of American Nintendo Cartoons
- 4 Potential Video Game Adaptations of I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson
- Jorge Luis Borges’ New and Improved Pokemon Type System
Take it to the Lab, Boys
Before I tried it out, I wanted to know what was in this stuff. I am someone who is “into” skincare, with a daily routine that would seem extravagant to most (and yet pales in comparison to some). I needed to know what I was about to put my hands through.
Gamer Goo is mostly water, alcohol, and thickening agents. The alcohol gives it its drying properties, while arrowroot powder, xanthan gum, and magnesium aluminum silicate make it viscous. There’s some glycerin, which is naturally produced by the skin and helps hydrate it, and some silica thrown in to improve absorption.
You might be worried about phenoxyethanol or parabens, but they’re just preservatives. Without wanting to get into a big thing about it, some studies have shown these substances can cause problems — but those studies aren’t dealing with the cosmetic-grade versions, or with absorption through the skin. Parabens are fine and phenoxyethanol is fine and if Gamer Goo — or anything you put on your skin — didn’t have some kind of preservatives, it’d start getting gross pretty quick.
Gamer Goo comes in various fragrances, all of which are achieved through the use of essential oils. These can cause irritation and damage to the skin long-term, but since you’re not putting Gamer Goo on your face everyday, it’s probably fine.
The only real hesitation I have about the product is that products containing alcohol can actually cause the skin to produce more oil over time, but again, since you’re most likely not applying Gamer Goo on a regular, frequent basis I’m not too concerned about it.
Secure in my knowledge, there was nothing left but to proverbially Do the Goo.
Applying the product was a bit of a challenge. Gamer Goo’s site strongly suggests (in all caps) that you apply a pea-sized amount, but an amount closer to the size of several chickpeas shlorped out into my palm when I squeezed the tube. I began rubbing my hands together, but they remained stubbornly wet and sticky as my cameraman/roommate looked on in horror. After several minutes of sustained rubbing, my skin had drank deep of the Gamer Goo and was beginning to dry. Clark tells me that the company is releasing an updated, thicker formula soon, so they’re aware of the product’s current propensity to, uh, squirt a little too enthusiastically.
Running my fingers over my palms, I attempted to discern how Gamer Goo had transformed me. It felt strange, but not bad. I picked up a PS4 controller and it felt… good. I should add that I was using my oldest controller, which has been so well-used that the matte plastic finish has worn down and replaced with a kind of slick-to-the-touch sheen. It’s not uncomfortable, but you can tell the difference between it and a DualShock that hasn’t been used to reach max level in Destiny 2. The Gamer Goo kind of alleviated that feeling and gave the controller more of a fresh out of the box grip.
I started up Crucible, Destiny 2‘s competitive multiplayer mode. I would say that I am “ok” at it, but it occasionally causes me a great deal of angst when I get on a losing streak and refuse to quit until I just win a game. Would Gamer Goo save me from this fate?
As it turns out, it did. My team won handily, and I ended the match with a respectable 1.5 efficiency rating. I was never in danger of having my controller fly out of my hands, but the Gamer Goo left a dry, satiny feel on my skin that actually made gripping the DualShock a little more pleasant.
Next, I moved on to a player versus enemy activity — activating a Black Armory forge. My allies and I fought valiantly, but in the end we couldn’t pull it off in the time limit and I quit in frustration. Maybe the first try had been a fluke. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe Gamer Goo couldn’t make me a better gamer.
Or maybe I just wasn’t using enough.
Please Don’t Be Like Me
In Marsha Linehan’s Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, patients are taught to make decisions based on “wise mind” — a state ruled neither by impulsive emotions nor cold reason alone, but informed by both. One skill used to achieve this is asking oneself “is this wise mind?” I found myself asking that question as I stood naked in my bathtub, slathering Gamer Goo all over my body.
I headed back to the lost forge with the novel sensation of all of the skin on my body tightening ever so slightly. I poured bullets into the Fallen enemies swarming around me as a white cast formed on areas where I hadn’t rubbed the Gamer Goo in enough. And finally, I stood triumphant over the Forge Guardian, my body having achieved the matte, powdery finish of an unnervingly realistic sex robot.
Stunned by this turn of events, I considered two possible explanations. The first was that I had been paired with better players by the game’s matchmaking service this time around. The second was that coating myself in a thick layer of alcohol-based grip-enhancing gel for gamers improved my performance. I’ll leave it up to you to make your own conclusions.
I would probably use Gamer Goo again. Just on my hands, though.