To design a high-fidelity interactive project from start to finish


To create a new tangible alternative game controller for an existing video game.


  • What are some simple video games that are primarily played using the WASD, arrow keys, and/or mouse?
  • What are some key mechanical objects depicted in those games or related to the games’ themes?
  • What physical gestures are present in the game play?  Actually or by representation?
  • What are some existing alternative game controllers?  Look up the Nintendo Zapper, Nintendo Power Glove, Gametrak, Steel Battalion controller, Dance Dance Revolution floor mat, Guitar Hero and Rock Band controllers, Wiimotes, etc.
  • You might also look up Imogen Heap and Ginger Leigh.
  • How might you augment an existing non-digital object with sensors?
  • Could you control a game with a fishing rod? An antique radio? A record player? A violin? A toaster? A telescope? etc.
  • How can a game influence our values?  Pose a protest?  Or make a political statement?
  • How does an embodied interaction with a game change our interpretation of it?


  • Circuit Playground Express or other 32u4/M0 Arduino-based microprocessor (the Ardunio Uno and other Atmega328 boards can not replicate the keyboard or mouse)
  • A video game that is primarily controlled with the WASD keys, arrow keys, or mouse.
  • Other components as needed for your idea


Your final project should serve as a functional controller for a computer game of your choice.  We will write Arduino code that will make your Circuit Playground Express (or other 32u4 or M0 board) replicate the functionality of a keyboard or mouse.  As far as your computer is concerned, the CPE/B will be a keyboard/mouse.


  • The game you choose should not have an existant alternate controller (so don’t design for guitar hero, DDR, etc).  The game also must be a computer game and not a console game as it needs to be controlled with (custom) keyboard and mouse inputs.
  • Your controller should include enough inputs and outputs to be the only device needed to play the game.  For instance, you may also need to include controllers for number keys, the space bar, etc.  Or you may need to choose a game with less inputs.  The player should not need to use an additional mouse and/or keyboard to play the game.  Using a mouse and/or keyboard to navigate menus to start game play is fine, however.
  • Your controller may not use joy stick or button components.  This includes not using the touch pads as buttons. Do not map the accelerometer directly to mouse movement either. Use other digital and analog senors for inputs.  You will need to be creative, yet logical, about the mapping.  This will be the challenging part of the assignment, but also the fun and creative problem solving part.
  • Your controller should output at least 4 distinct control values to the game (such as W,A,S,D).  These commands may be sent over USB cable or Bluetooth.
  • Your controller circuit should be enclosed in a case or house suitable to its design.  You may 3d print, laser cut, or otherwise fabricate a housing, or use found/purchased enclosures, hacked toys, etc.  This enclosure should be of a higher quality and refinement that your NIME enclosure. Consider the color, materiality, and signifiers of your controller.  Remove any unnecessary / distracting bits (blobs or glue, tape, etc).  Do not use/hack an existent alternate controller like the Gametrak. 
  • Whether you use a breadboard or solder your components is up to you.  In either case, your whole circuit must fit within your enclosure.  You may want to use M3 bolts and nuts to connect wires to the CPE for reduced size and increased security.