A week before PAX East, I received a quirky email detailing how a controller that could be used with only your feet would be at PAX East. I initially put it with the rest of the clutter in the ‘follow-up if I have time pile’ but then another email came through that said something to the extent of ‘Not a Prank! You Have to See to Believe!’. With such persistence, I figured I should at least humor these people and swing by to see this oddity. What I didn’t know was that the decision I just made would pretty much make my PAX.
I swung by the Stinky Footpad team at our agreed upon time and immediately noticed that this really wasn’t just a tool for disabled gamers. This was an actual peripheral that had the ability to give a gamer an extra edge during games. You see, the Stinky Footpad is a board that has 4 mappable keys or macros on it that can also be set with various degrees of sensitivity by using different springs. Want to trigger a key? Step on that area of the footboard and you are cooking. This durable piece of metal and plastic was about to blow my mind.
I sat down to try to play Battlefield 3 with the footboard. I could still use my mouse and the keyboard, yet the controller gave me quick access to four additional keys without having to leave the WASD setup. The Stinky had sprint mapped to the top part of the board, crouch to the back part, knife to the left and dive to the right. The board effectively allowed me to access those 4 abilities without ever-changing the positioning of my fingers on the keyboard or mouse. Since crouch and sprint are toggles, I could also hold them while I did whatever else I needed to with either hand. While there was a bit of a learning curve to get used to actually using your feet while playing a game, I found myself getting the hang of it pretty quick.
After learning a little bit more about the Stinky, I discovered that it was built to take an absolute beating. I was shown a video where the team ran over the board with a truck and then was shown that board in person, the only damage it had was friction damage. It was also explained to me that the Stinky is resistant to spills, so if you were using it and happened to dump a drink on it, it is built to keep undesirable things like liquid out of the board. Two things definitely came to mind almost immediately, how come no one had thought of this yet and what other games could it help with?
I started theory-crafting in my head, mapping keys in League of Legends would be absolutely amazing! How about HAWKEN? Yeah, secondary fire, heal and dash would also be nice to have quick access to. How about productivity? I already have programs mapped, how freaking awesome would it be to open them with a simple press of my foot? The Stinky Footpad opened up a myriad of different opportunities. However, I was also told about a gentleman that had visited the Stinky team while at PAX. He had an issue with a hand and was easily able to use the Stinky while playing Team Fortress 2 and was “kicking ass” while doing it. That reminded me of how the Avenger Controller was built to make console games more accessible, the Stinky Footboard could easily be poised to do the same for PC.
After expressing my enthusiasm about the board, I was told that their people would be in touch with my people, but one thing was for certain. The Stinky Footboard absolutely knocked me off my feet. Kudos to the Stinky Team, you guys easily deserve the best tech at PAX! We can’t wait to take it out for review!