Does the future of game controllers hold the ability to make them whatever we want?
It’d be pretty terrible if an injury or disability prevented a videogame enthusiast’s ability to play. This is the personal reality for some disabled gamers every day. Controller mod group Evil Controllers is working on a solution with a prototype Xbox 360 controller made out of duct tape, a bag of rice, and 360 controller parts.
The bag of rice makes the controller fully moldable. Buttons and controller sticks can be removed and placed in any position. The controller provides even more freedom in that any function can be assigned to any button.
Steve Spohn, who has muscular dystrophy, thinks that a flexible controller design is a great idea. “When you’re disabled, sometimes you’re bed-bound, you’re in a hospital, you’re in a VA, and really, videogames are your escape and controllers allow you to get to them,” he says.
Evil Controllers has also developed a method through which shrugging one’s shoulders will perform a button function. That, along with the bag of rice controller prototype, could allow the disabled to play where they couldn’t before. The controller is still in a design phase, but will potentially work for other consoles in the future if it goes into production.
The bag-of-rice controller is great for disabled people that want to game, but it could also be good for controller design in general. It’s unorthodox, but what if Sony, Microsoft, or Nintendo came up with a controller that we could rebuild for every game? Something like that could be a similar, but different step from the motion gaming phase we’re about to see the entire industry enter this year, and one that a more hardcore gamer could possibly get behind.