Thursday, September 28, 2023

The Fisher-Price baby’s first gamepad has just been modified to play Elden Ring

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Shreya Christina
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I never thought I’d be writing about my baby’s Fisher-Price gamepad again, but here we go: A modder has changed the cheap music-filled toy in a complete Xbox gamepad with everything you need to play Elden Ring. And unbelievably, he did that without losing anything the Fisher-Price Game & Learn controller‘s built-in sound effects – meaning you can now combine your Malenia run with classic kid hits like “1, 2, 3, 4, up goes your score!” and “Orange, purple, white and pink, green, red and blue, woohoo!”

This may not be surprising if you’ve heard the name Dylan “Rudeism” Beck rather, because this is actually one of the less ambitious controller stunt pulled the New Zealander and Twitch streamer – he’s the guy who rhythm Dark Souls 3 with a single button “Morse code” controllerbuilt motion controlled lightsaber and force glove for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and rigged its own valve, wobble and horn controls for Untitled Goose Game† You can see them all in the tweets below:

But Rudeism tells The edge that the new Fisher-Price mod is one of his favorite builds after all, “purely because of how clean it looks.” After some fiddlinghe was able to cram in an entire Arduino Pro Micro clone, a two-axis joystick (since the original Fisher-Price “joystick” was really just a button), and a few microswitches to activate the click-but- non-electric “shoulder buttons” also in real buttons.

However, all of the original Fisher-Price buttons still work — right down to the Konami Code Easter egg — because he’s set up the Arduino to piggyback off their input by soldering directly to the pre-existing board. So yeah, he mostly plays games with the actual Fisher-Price gamepad, not just with a Fisher-Price gamepad as the shell. You have to plug it in though: “Unfortunately not much room for batteries,” he says, since the Arduino takes up that space.

How does he get every Xbox button out of these limited controls, you might ask? You can’t get them all at once. But he did rig the Fisher-Price slider as a mode selector that either lets you have a left? or right analog stick at any time, as well as access to the Start, Select, and Guide buttons on A, B, and C. The “bumpers” can be both bumpers and triggers in their own right as they press a different switch depending on whether you rock them left or right.

Rudeism says it was a two week project and started as a joke: deal fighter Wario64 tweeted that the gamepad would be “perfect for Elden Ring”, and he decided to put that to the test. Sadly there’s no footage of Rudeism destroying bosses with the baby gamepad yet, but he says he plans to beat the entire game this way (he’s also working on a YouTube build video if you want to try it too) . The total budget was $20, including the controller itself – but admittedly not the old 3D printer he used to make holders to hold the joystick and switches in place.

I don’t know if I’ll build one of these with my now two year old’s pad, but it’s a joy to see this piece of plastic and circuitry in the headlines again.

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