Saturday
Aug312013

PAX Prime 2013: Kicking down the Stinky Footboard

 can admit that I have issues when it comes to playing complex video games. So many of the buttons are a strain to reach and different combinations are at times difficult to execute. This is greatly expanded whenever I need to play something on a PC using a keyboard and mouse. By the time I find out which key allows me to run, or how to change the camera mode I have already been taking out by the opposition. It would be nice if playing the game could be simplified in some way, perhaps with the assistance of a strangely named computer accessory. This is where the Stinky Footboard comes to the rescue.

The creator of the Stinky Footboard, Luc Levasseur was nice enough to give us a demo of how the Device actually works. Using Battlefield 3, I was able to map the run and crouch commands to the top and bottom of the board, as well as my secondary weapon and knife configured to the left and right locations. A simple roll of the foot will take the place of several combinations of keys, leaving me free to attempt to aim my weapon at another opponent. This is a huge assist for someone as unskilled as I am in Battlefield, which is the main reason why the Stinky Footboard was created.

Levasseur said the inspiration came from playing Battlefield Bad Company 2 on PC, which required the player to hold down a key to stay in the crouched position. Looking for a better solution, he along with other designers and engineers were able to produce a pedal for multiple key bindings. I asked perhaps the most obvious question about the device, which was the origin of the name. Luc said that it was the only name that would always come up in the conversation, since the player primarily would be playing barefoot or with socks on. Its quirky name is perhaps the only silly part of the device, as its multiple functions and solid design are no laughing matter.

The footboard is very sturdy, my biggest concern initially due to the multiple drum pedals I have broken in the past. Lavasseur even tossed the device down in defiance of my concern over the rigorous design, confident that it was built to last. The footboard is built with four programmable Cherry MX switches, as well as an aluminum top plate and steel inner frame. The input on each of the four switches is comparable to a mechanical keyboard, with an instant reaction to the click without a delay for the best accuracy possible. The Stinky Footboard also comes with a dedicated program that is able to create key bindings to the device, and set up other preferences. The best thing about the program is that each preset will be automatically saved, so there is no need to keep the software running in order to play with the desired presets on the footboard.

In speaking with Luc about the device, many other applications were discussed that really make the accessory a valued item for any gamer. Whether it is a person with a disability that prohibits them from holding a controller or other devices, to the player suffering from arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Now with the Stinky Footboard, that hard work is now delegated to their feet. Also it can be used with other programs on PC, Mac or Linux. The possibilities are many, and the device itself is play tested to work with every type of PC gamer. The device is available now on their official website, and will be available in retail locations in the U.S. and Canada beginning in September.

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