Cooler Master Motion 1 Review: Feel the Game

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One of my golden childhood memories is playing in an arcade cabinet that moved for the very first time. It was the late ’80s, and Sega’s downright weird Space Harrier shook me around as I dodged dragons and fired at robots. It swallowed all my pocket money that summer. I felt that same electric anticipation as I unboxed the Cooler Master Motion 1 Gaming Chair, which promises immersive movement and vibrations to enhance your PC gaming.

After an initial burst of feeling faintly ridiculous as I rocked back and forth in my home office, I felt a silly grin come to my face. I haven’t felt racing thrills like that since the last time I was in an arcade. It’s quirky and awkward, only works well with a handful of games, and costs more than you want to spend on a chair, but gamers seeking a jolt of adrenaline will find it here.

Finicky Setup

Photograph: Cooler Master

The Motion 1 Gaming Chair comes in three parts that are easy to assemble, though you might want some help lifting it out of the box. The heavy base section lights up underneath and you plug the power cable into it, then hook up the USB connection to your PC. There is cable management, but you must be careful not to pull on or roll over a cable when you get up.

Once assembled, it looks like a pretty typical, if slightly chunky, gaming chair with an open bucket seat style. The foam base is quite comfortable, and you can adjust the seat height, lock the tilt on or off, and adjust the height of the armrests. Magnetic pillows are easy to position for your head and lumbar support. I am 6’1″ and made it work, but it likely won’t be comfortable for taller folks.

Motion 1 was developed in partnership with D-Box, and you need to install lots of software and sign up for your included subscription to the D-Box library. This is where you find the profiles for games and other content encoded to work with the chair. But you must own or have access to the games, movies, or shows listed. You get a digital copy of Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla with the chair, but that’s it.

The Cooler Master app runs you through the setup process, but the D-Box HaptiSync app is what you use when you run the chair. You can choose your mode in the HaptiSync app and open the Game Center to install the encoded game profiles (it helpfully highlights any games you have installed). There are more than 100 AAA games encoded so far, and the vast majority are driving game series (DiRTF1Need for Speed, and World Rally), but there are a few flight sims in there (Flight SimulatorIL-2LockheedX-Plane), and a handful of other games (Skyrim Special Edition).

The process varies from title to title, but I had to install the profile, run the game, and then tab out and launch the game profile in the D-Box Game Center to play Forza Horizon 5. Then there were special instructions detailing settings I had to change in the game menu. While it was clearly explained, the process could be smoother.

Into the Game

Photograph: Cooler Master

During my first week with the chair, I mostly played Forza Horizon 5. It is the kind of game the Motion 1 is tailor-made for. You lean into the curves, feel the rumble of bumpy terrain, and brace for the rush of acceleration. You are also buffeted and jolted by every collision and crash. It’s thrilling, and it gets your adrenaline pumping. This is no simple four-way tilt and rumble. The haptic effects are varied, and the movements are precise. You can feel the difference between surfaces under your tires, and it delivers a convincing sensation of speed.

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