There are all sorts of silly peripherals for PC gaming, ones that claim to add features or are so sophisticated that players need a Ph.D to install and learn to use them “correctly”. Some are for aesthetics or to show off pride in a particular title. Then there are the peripherals that legitimately enhance your gameplay experience. Of those, few rely on simple mechanics and function to increase your efficiency. Recently the Stinky Footboard burst onto the scene with snickers and giggles aimed at the silliness of the name and the function of it altogether. After spending even a minimal amount of time with it, one thing becomes increasingly apparent: the Stinky Footboard will force itself into your gaming habits forever.
To explain what the hardware does is surprisingly simple, almost insultingly so: a board lays flat on the floor and players can access multiple “buttons” to do particular things in their games. The glory comes from the ease of installation that players will find. Simply plug the device into your PC via USB and the software is installed. After that, if the game you’re playing allows keyboard input (sorry console players, you won’t see a compatible version for a while), the Stinky Footboard can be used. There are four directional buttons on the footboard and each is programmable to a particular function in your game. In an MMO for instance, you can map your health potion and mana potion to two particular directions, allowing easy accessibility in dire situations. Shooters, like Call of Duty, allows players to map lethal and support grenades, knifing or even crouching to your directional buttons. The benefit to players is that your fingers can remain on the important buttons, typically offensive or defensive abilities, without worrying about the support options that can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
The footboard software allows particular profiles to be created and saved, depending on the game that you’re currently playing. While some of us will dedicate hundreds or thousands of hours to any one particular title, there are just as many who spread their gaming out over dozens of others. With easy-to-use software, you’ll never have to concern yourself with remapping over and over, relying on previously saved profiles for particular games or even particular in-game characters who have differing skill sets. Hardware is also included to allow you some semblance of customization. With six additional springs and adjustable tension, called a TBOX™ because it sounds cooler, users can change the amount of resistance to a comfortable level. It’s a great option for those with a lead foot who constantly are pressing the buttons inadvertently.
The final benefit is one that isn’t immediately apparent. Because people from all walks of life enjoy playing games, sometimes there are physical disabilities that make certain genres or titles very difficult to play. Soldiers, some of the most passionate gamers in the world, face a loss of their favorite hobby if a bullet or explosive disfigures their hand. The Stinky Footboard helps to solve that issue. By allowing four buttons to be mapped to the foot, a hand requirement can essentially be completely ignored. Additionally, two footboards can be used simultaneously and, while it would certainly take some time to learn to use feet exclusively, the option is there.
It’s not just MMO and FPS games that benefit, as racers can map an accelerator and brake, MOBA fans (think League of Legends) can map skills, and even strategy game players will find some use. The Stinky Footpad seems like an unnecessary peripheral, particularly at $119.99, but if you enjoy gaming and you dedicate your time to becoming more efficient at whatever titles you’re playing, it will rotate into a “must use” peripheral nearly immediately. It’s truly a piece of hardware that you never knew you needed.