Action RPG Dark Souls is widely regarded as one of the toughest games in existence, but that hasn't stopped the ambitious "bearzly" (aka Benjamin Gwin) tackling it with the "most obscure" and "terrible" controllers he can find.
As of March 2016, the Canadian gamer had finished the PC version of FromSoftware's game using nine different control methods, each of which offers an unlikely alternative to the standard gamepad, as well as mouse and keys, earning him the world record for Most alternative control methods used to complete Dark Souls.
The list includes a Rock Band guitar peripheral, Rock Band drum kit, Rock Band piano, Donkey Konga bongo drum, microphone (using voice control only), Wiimote, dancemat, steering wheel and an Xbox 360 pad, albeit played with one finger.
"bearzly" says he uses the PC version of the game because "it's much easier to interface different controllers to a PC than a console"
The 26-year-old programmer from Alberta also says that challenges take a great deal of preparation. He hopes to complete the game in the future with Kinect, Powerglove, a bunch of bananas (for real - see here) and "anything else I can get my hands on."
During our video shoot, we caught up with “bearzly” for a Q&A:
Why did you start playing Dark Souls with unconventional controllers?
I was watching others challenge-run Dark Souls in different and exciting ways. It was suggested that someone should try using a guitar controller.
So I took the Rock Band peripheral that I had lying around at home, started streaming, and the rest is history.
Why Dark Souls?
It’s my favourite game and I know it very well. It’s also notoriously difficult, but I wanted to show to everyone that a game this challenging could still be reduced down to being beaten with a guitar controller... or any other controller!
Was it easy making the controllers compatible with the game?
For the guitar and drums, I used existing tools to make them work. Others, like the bongos, I wrote custom software for because the bongos don’t have enough buttons. I have a programming background, which enables me to create runs that nobody else could accomplish.
What has the reaction been like?
I started on Twitch with two viewers and 13 followers. I now have a lot more! The initial reaction was crazy. People are always requesting new things. It’s been an amazing experience for me.