One of the things that always fascinated me as a kid where big and complicated joysticks. I loved the concept of a controller that had a lot of buttons and shiny things to push and that basically made you look like a spaceship captain when you were playing. So when my friends at Tinkertank asked me if I wanted to host a workshop where kids could learn about game development & electronics a bit, that was basically a match made in heaven.

So i did a workshop together with 10 kids, where we would code a little videogame and design & build a controller that had to be used by 10 people for that same game. So after 2 days with 5h each working on the controllers the kids came up with a top-down space shooter where the spaceship was controlled by 10 (!!!) people space-cadettes.

We had 3 teams:

Engine, Shields & Laser Cannon

The Engine Team had a Custom-made joystick made out of interchangeable action figures, so that every player could use his own action figure. They used an old kitchen machine as the thruster lever and a touch-sensitive VHS-Player for opening the hatch of the spaceship.

The Shields team had a joystick in order to position the shield around the spaceship, because of course you only could save yourselves from laser balls coming from one direction at a time. This shield had 3 colors they could set. Each color had to be set with a 4 digit code the shield-engineer would have to enter on a numberpad.

The Cannon team built a massive Shoot button out of a 30x30cm piece of wood and controlled the direction with a wheel. They could shoot one laser bullet at a time after which they had to reload the laser by aiming a flashlight at a light sensor which would turn so you had to follow that with your flashlight.

Verena Nagel and Michael Scheuerl also helped a lot with the Coding, the Concept and the Workshop itself.