This week, I became aware of a product that 200,000 years of human evolution has led us to. The answer to a greasy gamepad isn’t wet wipes, soap or a mirror to take a long, hard look at yourself in. It’s gaming chopsticks.
Just clip the plastic holder between your index and middle finger and you’ve got yourself a handy way of picking up nuts, crisps, sweets or whatever else you want to grab without touching it directly.
While cynics would consider this an over engineered solution given most of us have no fewer than eight fingers and two thumbs, perfectly evolved for grabbing food (take that, cats and dogs), the gaming chopsticks’ main appeal is that your game pad will remain grease free.
You might think this ~NZ$15 solution is just a weird novelty that nobody would actually buy, but you’d be wrong. In April, a very similar looking product called Snactiv raised NZ$58,712 from 911 backers on Kickstarter. Presumably this figure would have been higher, but the people who needed it most struggled to hold onto their incredibly greasy mice long enough to enter their card details.
Depressingly, these aren’t the only companies to try and engineer a non-willpower based solution to the scourge of finger grease on gamepads, keyboards and other technology.
Pringles’ Hunger Hammer gaming headset
In 2019, Julius* Pringles, the moustachioed mascot of Pringles who I assume is the CEO and founder, had a dream. That dream was to 3D print a feeding mechanism and secure it to the side of a Razer gaming headset, to push Pringles towards your mouth at the press of a button.
The company sent a prototype of the not-to-be-taken-seriously product to Engadget, which you can see in slightly underwhelming action below.
Honestly, at this point it’s surprising that nobody’s taken inspiration from horses and just marketed a KFC family bucket with a head strap and RGB lighting.
Microsoft’s grease resistant Xbox pad
Microsoft’s engineers did the impossible: they made a grease-resistant Xbox pad. Actually, they made 200 of them, and all of them were exclusively available to Kiwis and our friends across the Tasman Sea. A bit weird, but I guess it’s nice to be thought of?
In any case, the controller comes with a special urethane coating which actively repels grease, meaning that even the slipperiest gamer should be comfortable playing… if not with the life decisions that led them to this point.
The PlayStation Chip Picker
Yes, Sony really did make a product to pick crisps up without A) touching them or B) breaking them in the process.
Like the previous solutions, this wasn’t commercially available, but was considered worthwhile enough to be a pre-order bonus for customers buying PlayStation 4 consoles in Hong Kong. There’s even a third-party version that doubles as a smartphone stylus. What a time to be alive.
Others, meanwhile, see grease not a problem to be fixed, but an opportunity to give the glutenous gamer what he or she really wants: even easier food delivery.
It was assumed to be a joke, until it wasn’t. The KFConsole is a KFC bucket shaped gaming PC with its own dedicated food warming section which uses the copious amount of heat generated from the ray tracing graphics card and other components to keep your fried chicken crispy. PC game tech specialist Cooler Master will be doing the honours, apparently.
KFC, of course, are no strangers to stunts like this, having previously made a dating sim where you try and seduce Colonel Sanders. Something I’m sure he would be baffled about if he were still alive today.
No release date yet, but keep an eye on this page if you really must. It likely won’t go for… a poultry sum.
The King’s Throne
Gaming chairs are nothing new, even if they do tend to just be slightly plushier office chairs with garish colour schemes. This one from Burger King, however, offers something more: it offers burgers at the touch of a button, with built-in GPS tracking to buzz the whole chair when your food is nearby.
Obviously, and thankfully, this wasn’t commercially available. Instead it was given to a bunch of influencers and made available as a prize for Spanish burger buyers.
Game Christmas Tinner
Saving the worst until very last is British high street gaming retailer Game which created something that is one part edible food to one part war crime.
The Game Christmas Tinner is a three-course meal in a tin, aimed at “those hardcore gamers that don’t want to leave their gaming chair on Christmas Day.” The carnivore’s version starts with a layer of scrambled egg and bacon, which then takes you via mince pies, turkey, gravy and brussel sprouts through to a vomit-inducing finale of Christmas Pudding at the bottom of the tin. Ugh.
Obviously the majority of these products aren’t real – or not real in a mass produced way, anyway. But the fact that companies keep on bringing up snacking and gaming at the same time makes it seem like this is indeed a real phenomenon.
So, my fellow gamers, I beg you: take a break to eat, wash your hands and then return to your console. It’s just a better way to live.
*The Pringles mascot’s actual name! Look it up.