Those who play games on the PC have only recently been able to plug in controllers to their systems in order to enjoy gaming on their PCs using console controls. Many games support native controllers now, and entire platforms built for games, like Steam, have started to integrate controller use into their core functionality. Steam used to support its own Steam controller too, however, the platform now also works with standard console peripherals. Simply plug in a PlayStation or Xbox controller into a PC’s USB port, and titles like Elden Ring are good to go. And, for first person titles like Elden Ring or shooters like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, your experience will almost certainly be better with a controller.
With that said, some games are not nearly as fun with a controller. Casual titles where you are matching patterns or quickly pointing out objects, or certain strategy games like Surviving The Aftermath and RPGs like Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous are better with the finer control scheme offered by mouse and keyboard gaming. And certain titles like Zero Sievert simply don’t offer controller support, which means that players are going to be doing a lot of keyboard clicking. And as much as I enjoyed Zero Sievert, I had some sore hands and fingers after long play sessions.
Standard keyboards were not designed for gaming. They were made to mirror typewriters and offer a way to input information into a computer, so gaming with them over long periods of time can be uncomfortable. Many laptop keyboards are even worse, with smaller keys, tinier spaces and less responsiveness to the frantic clicking that happens with some titles. And yet, every PC gamer is familiar with the old WASD method of controlling their characters, where players put their left hand on the keyboard and their right on the mouse.
Situations like that are why The Shrimp mechanical gaming keyboard was created. Manufactured by Nordic Game Supply, which is part of Thunderful Games, The Shrimp is a unique gaming peripheral designed for maximum comfort and control while PC gaming. Even though the base of The Shrimp is a keyboard, you really should think of it like a joystick or other gaming peripherals because you can’t really use it outside of its main function. Getting started with The Shrimp is extremely easy. Just plug in the USB-C connector to the PC, and you are good to go.
The Shrimp’s compact keyboard only goes up to the number 5 on the top row and over as far as R, F, V and the spacebar, so it’s basically the left-most third of a full-size keyboard. Users would not be able to type words such as DOG using it (there is no G) or CAT (because of the lack of a T), so they would be restricted to just a few words like READ, VASE, or SEW. But this specific keyboard is not designed for typing really, other than the WASD keys which are highlighted in bright yellow. Keys commonly used for other functions like crouching, interacting with the environment, switching to a new weapon group or opening doors tend to be clustered around WASD keys, so they are included too. And most games let you reconfigure the controls, so if something is mapped to M (where some players put their map key), then you will need to move that over to existing keys on The Shrimp keyboard.
You might also notice that the Enter key is over on the other side of a normal keyboard, which is missing on The Shrimp. You can move Enter functions over to the left, but there is also a Function key which when pressed activates alternative modes for certain keys. For example, Function and then Escape is the same as hitting Enter. In the same way, Function and a number key will instead become the equivalent of F1, F2, etc.
In addition to the keyboard, The Shrimp comes with a small square wrist pad that magnetically attaches to the keyboard. The magnets hold it in place until players give it a hard pull, like when breaking it down at the end of a gaming session. Sitting your hand on the pad feels really comfortable, and also serves to put a player’s fingers on the same level as the keyboard, so there is no reaching up to grab at control keys. Between having the flat, padded surface and the easy to click, smooth keys, The Shrimp makes for a nice option for PC gamers who enjoy long play sessions. We tested it out with games like Zero Sievert, and while it didn’t noticeably improve our gameplay, our hands felt much better with no cramping when we finally powered down for the night.
There are also some dial-based controls at the very top of The Shrimp. The first dial controls the LED backlight, which is a nice feature to have on any gaming keyboard because it makes for better play in low light conditions. There are actually 17 different settings and modes for the lighting, making The Shrimp pretty deluxe as far as keyboard illumination options go. The second wheel controls the sound volume for whatever title is being played. The sound dial should activate once the USB cord is plugged into the PC and the drivers activate. The third button is for muting, in case players need to quickly disable all the sounds with one push.
The Shrimp mechanical gaming keyboard at first seems like a really odd device, but after trying it out for just a few hours, its functionality became readily apparent. Gamers with dedicated desktop computing rigs that have elaborate keyboards probably won’t want to add The Shrimp to their setup, however, it does make gaming on something like a laptop much more enjoyable. And gaming sessions can go even longer because of the reduced fatigue on a player’s hands and fingers. Plus, as the name implies, The Shimp mechanical gaming keyboard is extremely compact, which makes transporting it a breeze. It even comes with a velvet-like travel bag to make carrying it easy and safe.