We’ve seen controller modifications before. Some are designed for a practical purpose like allowing someone with limited mobility to play Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Others serve little purpose other than the engineer being able to say, “I did that.” Jake Middleton, a former NASA engineer, has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a controller mod that probably falls into the latter category.
It is called the MEGA-one, and he has designed it to work with PlayStation 4 and Xbox One controllers. Its function? To turn the force feedback up to 11 using an industrial-grade vibrator.
Let’s just get this out there. This thing is bulky, heavy, awkward, ugly, and prevents you from using the DualShock 4's touchpad. I don’t see the demand for it being that much higher than say — zero, but Middleton doesn’t care about practicality or demand for the mod.
“As an engineer, I have to follow rules, I have to make sure it's safe, make sure that it's planned out, make sure that it meets all the specifications,” he told GamesRadar. “But sometimes the other side of my brain just needs to turn off, and I need to flip on the switch that says we can do some really cool stuff! And who cares if it's crazy, let's just do it.”
Middleton says he knows the device is impractical, but that once he started sketching it out, he got more and more excited to build it. There is already a functional prototype, and it’s just as unattractive as it sounds.
While I do not doubt that Middleton intends to deliver should he meet his Kickstarter goal, I am not convinced that the whole project is not just a satirical poke at the lunacy of crowdfunding scams. An over-the-top video with loud, bad music and generous use of hyperbole throughout the description frame the project in a way that has you asking yourself, “Is this a joke?”
“MEGA-one is by-far the most insane, over the top, PlayStation 4 / Xbox One controller MOD in the entire history of homo sapiens!” says the Kickstarter page.
The mod costs $129 Canadian (+$35 shipping) and takes about 5 minutes to assemble. There is also a "Ready-to-Play" version for CA$198 (+$40 shipping) that comes fully assembled with a PS4 or XB1 controller already attached.
Regardless of whether the campaign is a satirical social commentary or just a crazy engineer with a crazy idea wanting to share it with other crazy people, we may never know. However, as of this writing, at least 12 backers are willing to pay $164 for the device. Middleton has set a low goal of $7,461 of which he has $1,198 so far.
I wish him good luck in his endeavor, whatever his purpose, but even with such a low goal, I don’t see this all-or-nothing campaign getting off the ground.