Trends come and go, but some things seem to never die. Ever since the earliest days of Pong and arcade cabinets, video games have survived ups and downs in the economy but have so far remained a rather lucrative industry. In fact, the past years have been rather kind to gaming and gamers, with the surge of titles, devices, and accessories to tempt buyers to part ways with their hard-earned money. There has even been a sub-culture where people have started making their own gaming machines and peripherals. While a gaming computer might not be everyone’s forte, some more adventurous gamers might dare to dabble in a bit of DIY experimentation. What better way to get started then than with your own game controller that looks like it jumped straight out of a video game.
Designer: Input Labs
Thanks to modern electronics and 3D printing, it’s almost too easy to make your own gamepad with your own unique design. Of course, making it functional and ergonomic is a completely different matter, and it takes some domain knowledge to pull off a successful design. Thankfully, there are quite a few designers out there already doing much of that work, and some are even sharing the recipe completely free of charge.
The Alpakka game controller is one such design. It is already distinctive on its own, just by the way it looks. Unlike most controllers with smooth curves and polished surfaces, Alpakka has a more faceted and geometrical appearance that would fit perfectly in low-poly games such as Minecraft (though one could argue even Alpakka is too high-poly for the voxel game). Whether it makes for a comfortable grip is probably a bit questionable, but you can easily change that, too, by simply modifying the design for 3D printing.
And that is what really sets this controller apart from other quirky and interesting designs we usually come across. Everything you need to know about making the controller on your own is available under the very liberal Creative Commons license, meaning you can tweak it to your heart’s desire without worrying about getting sued. All you really need is to get a hold of all the components needed as well as a 3D printer. It does require that you know your way around soldering electronics and whatnot, but that pretty much comes with the territory.
Despite its almost whimsical appearance, the Alpakka is serious about its gaming functionality, including dual-gyro sensors that could be used in lieu of a mouse. And just like the design itself, the software needed to make these functions work is available under an open source license so that anyone can use them or, if they also have the know-how, even tweak those features to their liking.