If you play video games, there’s a good chance that you also hold strong beliefs about how other people should play video games. There don’t seem to be too many methods to choose from, but we all have our favorites.
Maybe you’re a die-hard defender of the traditional mouse and keyboard. Perhaps you’ve used an Xbox controller your entire life. You might play all your games on a touch screen. No matter what you think, all those options will look good after you’re beaten by someone controlling the game with these these ten methods.
Mothers everywhere tell their children off for playing with their food, but for some, that advice just doesn’t stick. That’s when you get people like BOOM, LLC Robotater, who has made playing with food into an art form. As in, he plays games using his food.
He does this by wiring sensors to a few sliced potatoes, with each individual potato chunk corresponding to an in-game action. Pressing your finger into a russet potato might make your character attack, while gently caressing a King Edward would make your character move forward. He’s even written a Steam guide for anyone else who wants to use spuds to explore Skyrim or score goals in Rocket League.
BOOM is not alone, however. For some people, controlling games with fruits and vegetables is an everyday activity. Streamer Rudeism, for instance, designed a banana-based control scheme to play Overwatch. Fittingly, he plays as Winston, a banana-loving sentient gorilla. He claims he originally tried to make the setup with peanut butter (Winston’s favorite food), but it turned out to be a poor conductor of electricity.
Not to be outdone, the Dark Souls fan community got in on the act. A player named ATwerkingYoshi set up his bananas and promptly beat the game with only 62 deaths. As this article will make clear, beating Dark Souls with weird controller setups is something of a rite of passage. Defeating the final boss by prodding a bunch of bananas, however, has to be the best of the bunch.
This one is the original. The classic. The weird game controller that started them all. We’re talking, of course, about the guy who completed Dark Souls with a guitar. Way back in the misty past of 2014, a humble young man named Bearzly secured Internet stardom forever by beating the most notoriously difficult game of this generation with nothing more than a Rock Band guitar controller and more determination than the average Olympian. He successfully mapped the game’s input to the guitar’s fret buttons, effects switch, whammy bar, and “star power” detector. Unsurprisingly, he quickly ran out of buttons to map actions to. The final run ended up being done without the ability to block, use heavy attacks, move in diagonal directions, or even pan the camera to the right. Despite all this, his run only took 11 hours, and the final boss only took three attempts to defeat.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Bearzly began to wonder what other musical instruments he could use to navigate the hellish world of Dark Souls. He settled on the drums, because they’re a timeless instrument that has been played since the dawn of man. More specifically, he settled on the plastic bongos used to play the Donkey Kong rhythm game Donkey Konga, because why not? The problem with the DK Bongos is that they only have five possible button inputs (six if you count the ability to clap your hands). Six inputs are barely enough to move your character around, let alone beat the game. The ingenious answer was to create three different “control states” that could be swapped between by pressing multiple buttons at the same time. This created a total of 18 theoretical buttons that could be used to play the game. It took almost a month to design the software which would allow the drum to work as a controller, but it only took him five and a half hours to beat the game. That’s faster than most people can complete it with a normal gamepad.
At this point, it starts to get ridiculous, as people turned to increasingly comical musical instruments. How about a DJ turntable? Surely impossible, right? Well, you can watch a guy DJing a Dark Souls boss to death. Meanwhile, the Overwatch community continues their character-appropriate control schemes by using a turntable to play as the DJ Lucio. At this rate, someone will be beating you on Call of Duty with a pair of maracas.
Continuing the Dark Souls theme, people were looking for more and more ludicrous ways to beat the game. Bearzly beat it with a bongo controller he dug up from an obscure 2004 Donkey Kong rhythm game. Surely there were some other strange controllers still out there? Enter the 2009 fishing game Bass Pro Shops: The Strike and its unique fishing rod controller. This forgotten relic was used by ATwerkingYoshi to attempt to beat the infamous Dark Souls III.
Yoshi claims that he can “beat any game with any controller.” That’s a boast he proved by beating one of the game’s main bosses with a controller designed solely for catching sole. The fishing rod is likely the best-suited controller so far, as it has a joystick for movement and conveniently placed buttons on the handle.
Most people would be satisfied with just the fishing rod. Not Yoshi. The very next day, he streamed ten hours of himself playing through the same game with a Mario Kart steering wheel from the Nintendo Wii.
Moving on from the dark and dreary arms race that is Dark Souls, let’s talk about something a little more colorful. Something a little more beautiful. Specifically, let’s talk about lipstick. Using the same Makey Makey kit that was previously used to turn bananas into gamepads, a Counter-Strike player named Chloe Desmoineaux designed a system named Lipstrike. The concept is simple: Applying lipstick controls the game through electronic sensors attached to the lipstick tube. While she uses a mouse for finicky details like moving forward and aiming, every single kill she gets is done solely through the power of makeup.
Desmoineaux came up with the idea as an answer to the stereotype “lipstick for girls, war games for boys.” Lipstrike is a comical spin that’s meant to challenge both of those ideas while also showing off Desmoineaux’s creative expertise. The big drawback, of course, is that you might end every match looking like Heath Ledger’s Joker, but that’s a small price to pay for victory.
Rocky NoHands is the Twitch username of Rocky Stoutenburgh, who was paralyzed from the neck down in an accident when he was 19. Now, he professionally streams the competitive shooter Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, and he does it with only his mouth.
He does this by using a Quadstick, a device intended to help paralyzed gamers play by blowing, sucking, and biting their way to victory. Despite that sounding about as natural as eating soup with a knife, Rocky regularly gets solo wins in a game which requires lightning reflexes and perfect aim. Bear in mind that a typical match has 100 players in it, and every one of those players regularly loses to a man controlling the game with his lungs.
It apparently took him around three days just to design the layout, and even then, there are some in-game actions that he just can’t do. To shoot, he blows into the Quadstick’s middle hole, while crouching means sipping on the left and middle hole simultaneously.
So far, none of these control schemes have been very physically active. They’ve been technically difficult, creative, mentally exhausting, and convoluted, but you don’t need to be physically fit to do them. That’s where a guy named Jayce comes in.
Describing himself as a “dance gamer,” he uses the dance pads from the arcade game Dance Dance Revolution. These jury-rigged dance pads are then used to boogie his way through classic platformers. He’s stomped his way through games like Super Mario Galaxy, Super Mario World, and Yoshi’s Island, and he shows no sign of stopping any time soon. He’s forced to use two dance mats simultaneously to access all the necessary controls. The trickier sections routinely see him dancing around on all fours like the world’s most frantic game of Twister.
Also, some adventurous soul used the same setup to beat Dark Souls III. Because of course they did.
We’ve already talked about Rudeism and his incredible feat of using bananas to play as a gorilla. What other themed control schemes could he possibly come up with? What about controlling the archer Hanzo with a bow and arrow? This isn’t a weird bow and arrow–shaped controller. It’s a toy Nerf bow, modified so that its mechanical movements correspond to in-game actions. Pull back the string in real life, and Hanzo pulls back the string on-screen. Loose an arrow, and your virtual opponent gets skewered.
Not impressed? How about if he was also using a dance pad to control his character’s movement? If he wants to move left, he stamps his foot to the left. If he wants to move forward, he puts his foot forward. He’s jury-rigged a system out of dance pads and Nerf arrows that allows him to essentially become his character, doing the exact same movements and actions as his avatar.
LobosJr is the only person on this list controlling games in the traditional way. He sits on a sofa, with a controller in his hands, and presses buttons until he beats the game. He plays games, in a word, normally.
That is, if you discount the fact that he plays them upside down. Unfortunately, he himself is not upside down, blood rushing to his head. Instead, the image on the screen is flipped through mods. The most immediate problem is the confusing, nauseating visuals, but there’s another issue. The controls themselves are now backward, with left becoming right and up becoming down. The movement and camera controls are the opposite of what they once were, made all the more confusing by the fact that the sky is now the floor.
The upside down run is just one of the many strange ways LobosJr has messed with his own senses while gaming. Before that, he posted a video of himself playing Dark Souls blindfolded . . . and not doing too bad at it, either. He relied entirely on memorization and audio cues to guide himself through the world. Think of it like a bat using echolocation, but instead of catching moths, he’s slaying demons.
Stevie Rex has TAR syndrome, an incredibly rare genetic disorder that means he has no bones in his forearms. Holding a controller or even pressing buttons with his hands is impossible for him, but he’s not giving up on his dreams of playing MMOs. Fortunately for him, he’s got a hidden weapon: his feet.
Steve plays the MMO Final Fantasy XIV with nothing more than a standard controller and his own two feet. Playing a normal game would be hard enough with your feet. A game like FFXIV, where you need immediate access to dozens of different abilities, should be impossible.
Stevie’s success is possible thanks to the game’s cross bar system. Cross bar uses the shoulder buttons to switch between different ability bars. Cross bar was meant to make the game playable on consoles, but it had an unintended customer. With a handful of buttons, Stevie could use cross bar to adeptly control the game’s hectic combat with his feet.
Stevie’s story came to light after he uploaded a video of him playing as a thank-you to the game designers, Square Enix, for including an option that lets him play the game he loves. It’s a tiny change, but it’s one that has revolutionized one man’s quality of entertainment.
We’ll end on an all-time classic, Super Mario World. It’s a simple game, with few controls beyond jump, left, and right. A gamer from Japan still managed to make this control scheme as complicated as possible by completely removing physical inputs at all. He played the game using sound. More specifically, he hooked up a system that interpreted different pitches as game inputs. One pitch might make Mario jump, while another would move him left.
To make the pitches consistent, he used a recorder to control Mario. However, simply playing an instrument normally wouldn’t really be in the right spirit, so instead, he plays it with his nose. There is no clear reason why. Next time you play through a level of Super Mario World and think that you’re a good gamer, remember that somewhere out there is a man who can play the same level by blowing his nose into a recorder.
Aspiring writer who you can follow on Twitter.