For a gaming company typically not keen on taking risks, Nintendo’s ink-projecting shooter Splatoon (2015) was a rare success in splatting expectations. In the multiplayer team-based shooter, stylish little inklings (or, squid kids) lug around guns, paintbrushes, buckets, and other strange ink-flinging weapons with the sole goal of painting as much turf as squiddingly possible (or capturing objectives, among other game modes). Splatoon ignited a long withstanding community of dedicated inkling fans upon its release.
Imagining Splatoon as an arcade-like shooter with a physical splat-gun and a VR-esque headset almost seems too good to be true. But researchers over at Meiji University, led by Associate Professor Tadashi Hashimoto, have recently made efforts to make such dreams a reality. The Kougaku Navi-fostered experience is employed by a hacked Splatoon-themed water gun, a back-holster for the Wii U GamePad, and the Sony HMZ-T1 Personal 3D Viewer (that VR-headset looking contraption).
Aiming is more intuitive
The back-holstered GamePad makes for gyroscopic movement in the game. As the player turns, the camera in the game does as well. Aiming is more intuitive with a modified water gun in the player’s hands, rather than wielding the large GamePad (as the game initially forces the player to do in the game’s tutorial). The gun has a tiny analog to move forward and back. There’s also a trigger, of course, to splat any inkling in the player’s path. Upon pulling the hacked water gun’s trigger, the GamePad vibrates as well.
In the Google Translation for the project’s site, Hashimoto wrote of being inspired by virtual reality for this peculiar project. While not actually VR specifically, the project still hearkens to the immersion of other VR experiences—specifically the modification of an actual water gun for the experience, and the Sony headset for the player’s immediate point-of-view. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever be able to play this hacked Splatoon experience, but in the meantime, we can look on and admire the researchers’ hard work. Maybe it’ll even inspire some researchers and tech-savvy hackers stateside to recreate their own arcade-beckoning Splatoon experiences. After all, the future is bright, and full of splatting.
You can read a more in-depth (and Google Translated, unless you’re fluent in Japanese) look at creating the hacked Splatoon water gun experience here.