I don’t know about you, but I get incredibly confused by a game like Kerbal Space Program, which is why I can’t tell if this custom-built controller is a blessing or a curse. Suitably named the KSP-HOTASABBAK Controller (Kerbal Space Program – ‘Hands on Throttle and Stick and Button Box and Keyboard’, catchy right?), this marvel of human engineering is almost as absurd as the game itself.
It’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of Kerbal Space Program by now, especially with its sequel on the way, but the concept is fairly simple. You’re in charge of a company akin to NASA run by little green aliens, the titular Kerbals, and you can pretty much build whatever spaceship you like with the many, many parts you have access to.
It doesn’t mean that the spaceship will work, of course, and sometimes it’s funnier if it doesn’t. But the beauty of KSP is that if you can think it, you can build it. Realistically, the easy part is the build process – the real kicker for players comes with trying to control the ship once its airborne, which is why this controller is so intriguing.
Grounded in an old Texas Instruments 99/4A case and inspired by 1970s to ‘80s era NASA, the controller would still be beautiful even if it wasn’t functional. Fortunately, it does work and the utilitarian in my heart finds it gorgeous in every way.
Throttle, pitch/yaw, landing gears, even the staging sequence… if it’s a functional part of the build or flight process, it’s all been taken into consideration on this controller. The best space games love to give you some sort of feeling of control when flying through the sky, but never have I seen a controller which reciprocates that intuition quite so well. If you handed it to me I would believe it genuine NASA equipment if it wasn’t for the new improved spelling of Texas, to Kexas.
You can check out the entire post, including a load of DIY knowledge about how this unit was created, and some footage of all its luminous lights, shiny switches, and the stupidly tempting panic button. If you’re going to make a button that red and that big, you can’t expect me not to body slam it right? Oh, and if you have a thing for physical interfaces, check out our list of the best PC controllers for more handheld goodness.