I’ve spent the last two days playing a lot of Battlefield 3. With my feet. For science.
The Stinky controller is an aptly named PC peripheral that’s currently looking for funds through Kickstarter. Simply put, it emulates a number pad. It’s like a giant controller for your feet. And after rewiring my brain, I’m pleased to report this thing could change PC gaming. It works well as long as you can get past the learning curve.
I’ve played a few minutes of a first person shooter nearly every day for the last 15 years. That sad fact has resulted in a lot of muscle memory. My brain has effectively mapped my fingers to the appropriate keys. It knows to move my pinkie down to the control button to make my guy crouch. The pointer finger moves to the R key for reloading. And so. The Stinky controller attempts to free up your fingers.
Your foot rests on the large 4-way controller. Each direction is a key press. Use one foot or two. Right now, while my brain is still trying to get used to the thing, I’m only using my left foot for two buttons. Toes down results in throwing a grenade and heel down for crouching.
Like previously stated, there’s a learning curve. It takes some time for these motions to become natural enough to be efficient. I went through several keybindings before I settled on these two actions.
Think about it: Your feet are just resting there, nearly useless as your fingers do all the work. The Stinky controller is not attempting to do everything, just a couple of common actions. I found it usefully in first person shooters and I imagine it would be helpful in other genres as well.
The controller does not have ramping actions, though. It’s an on-or-off situation. Sorry, flight simulator fans. This won’t work well as a flight pedal controller.
Part of the beauty is also a downfall. The controller doesn’t have a Windows application. It just emulates a number pad. This makes it really easy to map the actions in games since it doesn’t require syncing with a separate program, but you can’t easily program macros for use outside of a game.
The company behind the Stinky controller is looking for $75,000 of pre-orders through Kickstarter. As of this post’s writing, the project has 15 days left with $46,000 pledged. An $89 pledge buys a game controller. Or, if you want it quicker, give the project $129 for expedited production and shipping.
The Stinky is potentially just a novelty. I’m not sure if it has earned a permanent spot under my desk. However, I’m integrated enough to keep using it and even take it to my next LAN party if for nothing other than shits and giggles. The other side is that it could be a gamechanger for some gamers. Either someone with disabilities or the person looking for something new. If nothing else the Stinky is a clever take on gaming.