Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the hardware they game with. Some like giant arcade sticks, some prefer smaller gamepads, and the debate between symmetrical and asymmetrical joystick layouts will continue for centuries. What everyone can agree on is that a a controller that replaces every button with analog sticks has no place in this universe.
Although joysticks have been a part of console gaming back to its earliest roots, the gamepad has more or less come to dominate gaming on the sofa. The Nintendo 64 was the first console to introduce a tiny analog joystick to its gamepad-style controller, followed by the Sony DualShock for the PlayStation, which upped the analog stick count to two. We haven’t completely decided where these analog sticks should be positioned on a controller yet, but we’ve more or less decided that two is all we need—or have we?
That’s the question one talented YouTube hardware hacker is asking, with their latest video debuting a highly customized Xbox One controller that goes all in on analog joysticks (with seven of them in total). It’s completely cursed, but it’s also completely functional.
In addition to the controller’s standard pair of joysticks, the D-pad on this special boy has been swapped out with a stick, all of the face buttons have been swapped out with a stick, all four action buttons have been swapped out with a stick, and not even the shoulder buttons were safe. So to press A, B, X, or Y, for example, you need to push the joystick in one of four different directions. The mod required lots of lots of soldering, and in some cases, strategic scraping away of sensor material so that the joysticks didn’t register an input when in the center position.
The controller’s case required extensive modifications, too (translation: it was hacked away using a rotary tool) which are all but hidden using custom-designed, 3D-printed spacers for the additional joysticks to sit in. The final product looks more or less professional, and as you can imagine, is a complete nightmare to actually play games with, as Solderking demonstrates later this in this video. Even harder are simple things like just trying to navigate settings menus using the new assortment of sticks. Why anyone would do this is beyond us, and it’s reminiscent of New Coke: an interesting experiment that no one should ever try again.