Stinky Board Review

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We were born with eight fingers and two thumbs, but imagine if we had an extra hand. That would be pretty good for gaming, right? Whether you’re an avid FPS gamer or love to swipe your fingers across the keyboard in your favorite RTS, there’s always an opportunity to make life easier.

Some of you may remember Microsoft’s Strategy Commander, which is best described as an advanced mouse with lots of buttons and a weird handheld device that was larger than today’s modern mice. It slipped and turned! It was kind of the right idea, but it’s hard to move away from the traditional mouse and keyboard combo for PC gaming.

Now it’s time for something different, a way to give you more control over your games without changing the way you currently play with your mouse and keyboard. It makes logical sense. We only have two hands, but we also have two feet, so why not use them?

stink board

Let’s introduce Canadian company Stelulu Technology’s Kickstarted Stinky Board. No, it’s not a device for ironing smelly socks or an advanced electronic cheese board, this is a new controller for PC gamers.

The Stinky Board is a fairly slick looking foot controller with a pad that rests on a series of springs in the footplate. The pad is divided into four additional mouse buttons, which are best controlled via the device’s software once it’s installed and connected to your PC via a USB cable.

The Stinky is really well designed with an aluminum plate on top and all the internals snugly tucked into a sturdy plastic case. The tension of the springs inside the board can also be adjusted at the base of the unit and after playing with it quite a bit this week I’ve found that more tension is always better. At least to deal with my big foot meat slabs.

This video shows how solid the device is.

With four buttons inside the board, my first thought was to use the left and right footswitches to punish. I tried that with battlefield 3 but had little luck. Where the Stinky really seems to shine are in other utility commands like reload, crouch, zoom, or throw a grenade.

Example of the Stinky used in Battlefield 3.

The board comes with its own little piece of software that lets you assign the four pressure points to different buttons depending on what you’re going to be playing. With a simple 3-screen interface, the first section allows binding buttons to actions in a game. This profile can then be saved. It’s a simple device in theory, and the software that comes with it gets the job done without any complications.

Out of the box it supports in-game macros, but at the moment there is no way to create your own via the board software. This can be a factor to consider as it may not be an added feature. Finally, performing custom macro actions outside of a game with a foot print in a professional gaming environment may well be considered cheating.

So, will the Stinky really improve your gameplay and give you an advantage? That’s a question everyone reading this is probably asking themselves; but there is no simple yes or no answer. We are all different. The basic functions of the Stinky are fairly easy to grasp, but actually making someone a better player depends on how quickly they get used to using the board to its full potential.

Players have used their feet to dance or even kick a pedal rock band for some time, but it’s not intuitive for everyone. My drum skills in rock band were okay, but not great, and like me, not everyone’s brain will be able to instantly adjust to using foot pressure to activate button presses. However, with practice and some perseverance, anyone should be able to use the Stinky for an action they perform in their favorite game. That’s the beauty of it, because it can be configured for any button press (single presses or multiple impulse presses), gamers can use it in different ways. Even non-gamers can use it with their favorite applications.

Demo showing how to put your feet on the board.

Tried it out on a few titles this week including The Incredible Adventures of Van Helsing where I’ve used it for weapon switching and to unfold things like the inventory window and in Strike Suit Zero; where I had the Stinky switching weapons and weapon modes. These are two very different types of games, but no matter what the title, there’s always something you can use Stinky for.

The question is, would I recommend the Stinky Board? It really depends on whether you think a few extra fingers could improve your gameplay. If you are well coordinated, using the board can be natural. On the other hand, it might take some practice and that needs to be taken into account. Let’s not forget the disabled players either; This device could be of great benefit to them.

Stelulu has created a solid, well-made product. It’s a great idea that’s simple and works perfectly, but some might find it overkill or a bit of a luxury. If you don’t think using your feet will be a problem, this might be worth adding to your peripherals collection, but it’s pricey at $120. So think carefully before taking the plunge.

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