Alternative gaming controllers facilitate full-body fun

This article is part of a collaboration with iQ by Intel. While videogames have inspired a staccato of button-tapping throughout their brief but effusive history, the majority of games makes use of few motions other than a twitching of hands and fingers. There are notable exceptions, such as poking tennis balls with the Wii Remote or waving at the Xbox Kinect, but the 900 other ligaments of human physiology get markedly less play. With the new generation of alternative gaming controllers, however, the days of button-mashing may not be long for this world. These recent and fascinating alternatives give traditional controls a…


You can play this psychedelic forest game with a moss controller

If nature was able to make a videogame I think it would be Alea. And it’s not just because it’s a twee, musical hike through a “psychedelic forest.” Nor is it due to its two graphics options: “Shrub” and “Tree.” I say that because you can play it with a moss controller. Like, actual moss, those green clumps of shrub that grow in the cracks of pavements or atop roofs. You’ve seen it. Yeah, that stuff. This is really happening. Right now, at Fantastic Arcade, Alea is being played on an arcade cabinet. You have to poke all four fingers…


Fear Chatroulette’s walking dead, but in a good way

On a daily basis, Chatroulette is home to far scarier interactions than Realm Pictures’ zombie-themed “Real Life First Person Shooter,” but few—if any—are as endearing. The setup is familiar: A player is dropped into a gameworld and explores it through their avatar’s point of view. This world, it turns out, is filled with zombies and the player must kill those from whom you cannot run away. Along the way they can pick up weapons that might be of use. Should their health meter hit zero, they die. Game over. It’s all quite typical, really. Or, rather, it would be quite…


This crab-shaped controller will make you hungry for more anthropomorphic handsets

You’ve got crabs, videogame lover—a crab simulator and crab-shaped controller, that is. The controller was created by John Choi, a student in Carnegie Mellon University’s Interactive Art and Computational Design Program. It consists of an orange body with four articulated crab legs. Unlike the real creature, Choi’s crab does not have claws and can therefore be manipulated without risking the user’s health. Those claws do, however, exist in Choi’s crab simulator, a game in which the crab’s legs are manipulated by adjusting its doppelganger of a controller.  Choi’s crab is an anthropomorphic handset. Since it resembles the character it is…


New episode of Let’s Play takes games beyond the screen

The first three installments of Laurent Checola and Thomas Kimmerlin’s micro-documentary web series Let’s Play invited viewers to examine the new frontiers for game designers, how they are participating in controversial conversations, and how they can challenge conventional notions of play and success. Now, the fourth episode discusses how designers are moving play from the screen to create a more physical, social experience. 


This Xbox controller knows if you’re having fun or not

A researcher at Stanford has modded an Xbox controller to tap into and measure a player’s emotional states, such as whether they are happily engaged with a game, or if they’re ready to throw his very expensive controller across the room. The hand sensors gather signals such as your pulse, skin temperature, and electrical transmissions from your heart, which are analyzed by a computer that predicts how much you’re enjoying the game. The dream is that such information could automatically adjust the flow of games without devs having to worry about difficulty levels and so forth. We’ve seen games that…