Walking, as we’re coming to find out thanks to cutting-edge robotics research, is an epically confounding feat of physical dynamics that we humans somehow manage to pull off subconsciously. Which may explain why it seems like so much fun to literally walk through a video game world rather than symbolically do it with one’s thumbs. Like Allen Pan does in the below video, for example, after he turned a treadmill into a PS4 controller compatible with Death Stranding.
According to Pan, an electrical engineer who consistently turns out insane contraptions like this one, the Death Stranding PS4 treadmill controller, which comes via Polygon, was made in order to help people keep on top of their fitness-focused new year’s resolutions. Toward the beginning of the video, Pan notes that people usually drop off after “Quitter’s Day,” which lands about three weeks into the new year, and says that he wanted to figure out a way to help people exercise “not just for January, but for forever….”
With that goal in mind, Pan, plus Peter Sripol—the YouTuber/engineer who also builds insane contraptions like this supremely mondo lighter—turned their efforts toward making the treadmill-operated version of the “action” game that was released on PlayStation 4 in November of last year.
Pan’s PS4-treadmill controller, which uses a harness to keep players in place while running. Allen Pan
Speaking of which, Death Stranding, is, for those who haven’t had a chance to run-wobble their way through it yet, a game that takes place in the United States after a cataclysmic event known as “Death Stranding” leaves ghostlike creatures walking the surface of Earth. It is the brainchild of famed Japanese video game director, Hideo Kojima, and has a storyline that’s often cited as weapons-grade ridiculous. As IGN points out, however, Death Stranding basically boils down to a “40-hour series of glorified fetch quests” for players, which perhaps makes it a dubious purchase, but a shoe-in video game for a treadmill-controller nonetheless.
In regards to the treadmill-controller itself, Pan went for a simple design that uses the treadmill’s motor to trigger potentiometers that send signals to the game to have the character walk or run—when a player moves the treadmill belt at slower speeds, the first potentiometer is triggered and the character walks; if the player moves the belt at higher speeds, the other potentiometer is triggered and the character runs. (Players are held in place on the treadmill with a strap that wouldn’t look out of place on a rock climbing harness.)
Norman Reedus, who stars in Death Stranding, commenting on Pan’s video. Norman Reedus
As for the results? Pan’s treadmill-controlled version of Death Stranding looks like a brutal workout, but also like a ton of fun. Especially in a party setting, as is clearly demonstrated in the video. Seriously though, if Kojima Productions doesn’t at least consider making an official, treadmill-controlled version of Death Stranding, it may be missing out on an unthinkable amount of money.
What do you think about Allen Pan’s Death Stranding treadmill-controller? If it were on the market right now, would you run out and buy one, or would you need it to be compatible with Smash Bros before purchasing? Give us a rundown of your thoughts in the comments!