Wacky controllers

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Wacky controllers
Sometimes gamepads are just a little too mainstream.
The days of the traditional keyboard and mouse or gamepad setups could be dead. Nintendo convinced everyone that it would be a good idea to point a remote at your TV or go jogging with it in your pocket, Microsoft feel that “everything is better with Kinect”, and Sony continue to experiment with a variety of objects such as cameras and books. Thankfully not all peripheral manufacturers have given up on traditional controllers, but that doesn’t mean that they’re unwilling to experiment. Here’s a run down of some other controllers that are making an impression. If you get in early enough you can take the hipster approach when everyone else starts talking about how one of these is the best way to play.

Hit Box:
You could be forgiven for not quite “getting” the idea behind the Hit Box. It is essentially a wooden box, but it is pegged as a fightstick…only it’s missing the stick part. The controller features a variety of buttons used to control both movement and actions. Instead of holding up to jump or down to duck, the player must press the corresponding button. It is certainly one way of ensuring that you only have yourself to blame if the wrong move comes out. The Hit Box is making waves within the fighting game community, though it has a long way to go before it is considered the one true way to play. If you want to see the basics of the Hit Box, the video below teaches you everything you need to know. The Hit Box is on sale for $159.99 for the model that is compatible with PlayStation 3 and PC or $225.00 for the version compatible across PlayStation 3, PC and Xbox.



Penclic Mouse:
If this was a Bond film it would be a pen that doubled as a mouse and an explosive dart launcher, but unfortunately it is not. Ok, this “controller” is more suited for office tasks and mundane things like that, but it would really feel like futuristic warfare to smite foes with the flick of a pen. Penclic Mouse is being pitched as a precise controller, which leads to “better results in less time”. Plus its design is supposed to cut down on the risk of developing RSI. Now if that isn’t a pitch for a potential game controller, we don’t know what is. Finally, the pen truly is mightier than the sword!


Makey Makey:
Ever wanted to control Mario using a banana? Not the kind of question you get asked everyday, but that is one way in which you could use the Makey Makey kit. The Kickstarter campaign was a tremendous success after the team were able to showcase how people could control practically any computer program with a variety of household items. Included in the pitch were examples of people playing the piano with their stairs, playing Pac-Man with modelling clay and, as you may have guessed, playing Mario with a banana.



Starcraft II Stick:
Oh look, another fightstick. Again, not quite. This creation was originally a submission for an art piece commissioned by the fighting game forum, Shoryuken.com. The winner walked away with $1,000 and the challenge of actually creating a working model of the stick. Thankfully Mauricio Romano was up for both parts of the challenge. The impressive creation uses Sanwa buttons in two sizes and a custom pointing device mounted on an Ultrastik analogue joystick configured as a mouse to simulate the traditional StarCraft II control scheme. Does it work? It does indeed. Does it work well? Err...not particularly. This was really a project done simply because he could. It's unlikely to become the controller of choice for Starcraft professionals, but it's interesting to see what people can create when challenged.






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mark@clickonline.com
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