Getting Stinky – Hands-on Impressions of a Gaming Footboard
While at E3 in early June I had a chance to get some hands-on, well, more like foot-on time with the Stinky Footboard, which is a new hardware peripheral targeted at the PC gaming crowd.
The Stinky Footboard is a programmable mouse of sorts to use with your feet in addition to traditional keyboard and mouse controls for use while gaming, or even with other PC software. Through a software utility this peripheral can be programmed to accommodate most mouse or keyboard inputs that a video game or application offers, and each different game/app setup can be stored as a profile for later use. The configuration utility is very intuitive and easy to setup, but the true power of the Stinky Footboard lies within the hardware itself.
At its core the Stinky Footboard is a clickable mouse to use with your feet. It features four pressure activated buttons set at its edges that can be used as substitutes for traditional keyboard and mouse controls while gaming, or even while using non-gaming related software. Each pressure point can be individually configured with commands, as well as its amount of tension. If the Stinky feels like its resistant to your foot inputs the responsiveness can be altered via one of the six different interchangeable springs, so picky gamers will more than likely find the perfect setting for their individual needs.
The particular demo I tested out at E3 featured the Stinky Footboard and Battlefield 3 multiplayer. The Stinky was preconfigured with a profile for Battlefield 3 that the Stelulu team setup using the configuration utility that comes with the hardware (utility only works on Windows PCs, but the board itself will work on Mac.) In particular, the top button was set to act as the game’s run button, and the bottom button was toggled to serve as the crouch function. With that knowledge in hand I placed my size 10 foot on the Stinky and entered a frenetic online match of Battlefield 3.
(Comparable demo of the one used at E3 2013)
The Stinky’s capabilities instantly, and quite literally clicked with me the moment I started racing around the map in search of my first kill. I’m not a PC gamer by trade, so the whole keyboard and mouse setup has always felt strange to me, especially in a shooter like BF3. With that being said I found that the ability to use my foot to control actions that would otherwise be tied to a keyboard button actually felt more natural. Rather than taking the focus of my fingers away from the “WASD” keys to perform a sprint, I could just tap my foot forward on the Stinky to perform the same operation. It helped me to focus on the main controls of character movement and aiming, which is something that feels very out of place for non-PC gamers like myself.
The R2N tech and C-Point design feature both allowed for comfortable foot controls while scrambling around a Battlefield 3 match. Not once did my foot or leg feel fatigued from using the Stinky. The return to neutral technology allowed the board to return to a resting state immediately after I was done depressing one of the pressure points. The amount of force needed to enable a button press on the Stinky is negligible, and as previously stated the tension can be changed if things get to taxing. It honestly felt no different than pressing a button on a mouse, and I never had to raise my foot up and down as if I were stair climbing in my seat. Simply put, the Stinky felt like a natural extension to traditional PC game controls, and it’s a great device for relieving the stress of memorizing the plethora of hotkeys that PC games can offer.
I’ve always disliked learning what every key does for a PC game. Some gamers think it’s a Godsend that allows them to gain advantages on those who don’t study every hotkey, and they’re right, but not all gamers want to learn what every single key can do. Having the ability to bind some of the more crucial input commands to an additional input device is a dream for a non-PC gamer like myself. I was able to jump right into a Battlefield 3 match, and not look like a fool because I hadn’t mastered the keyboard and mouse controls. By just having the sprint and prone commands toggled on the Stinky I was able to somewhat compete, and it felt like a gaming footboard had always been part of DICE’s plans when they designed BF3.
The Stinky Footboard is without a doubt an odd concept to think about it. It’s a PC input peripheral that requires you to use your feet, which aren’t the appendages that most people identify as being used to operate a computer, let alone a fast moving game like Battlefield 3. Surprisingly, its well thought out design actually makes it feel like a natural extension of the traditional mouse and keyboard controls that both video games, and computer applications provide. The freedom it offers can lead to revolutions in how gamers play their games, as well as how regular heavy PC users interact with their machines and software.
If you’ve been wanting to get an edge on the competition, but don’t like memorizing hundreds of different input keys, then the Stinky Footboard is definitely a peripheral you should think about investing in. Its easy to use configuration software and comfort minded design make it a great addition to any PC owner’s hardware lineup.
If you’re interested you can pre-order the Stinky here for $119.00. Full specifications of the Stinky are listed below (will work with Mac, but need Windows to configure.)
- Hardware: 4-Button Gaming Footboard
- Buttons: 4 Programmable Cherry MX Switches
- Connections: USB A Male (PC) to USB B Mini (Footboard)
- Device: USB HID (Human Interface Device)
- Construction: Steel Inner Frame with Aluminum Top Plate for Performance and Durability
- Software: Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista and Windows XP (All versions)
- Internet connection(for configuration software download)
[#ff entbuddha] “Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”