Console and controller modders are a fun group of people. Their projects range from simple repaints to custom consoles, and their commitment to voiding warranties and risking breaking things in pursuit of creating something new is truly inspiring. One such project came across my timeline earlier today, and I was immediately captivated by its terrible beauty. It was a GameCube controller with a dead wasp encased within the A button, the work of Twitter user @mrmctwig/Topher.
In a controller ???????? pic.twitter.com/nIllYIR7Iy
— Spooooky Toe-Fur (@mrmctwig) October 16, 2019
To create these custom buttons, Topher first made a mold of the original manufacturer GameCube buttons in silicone. He then cast them in a two-part epoxy resin. The wasp itself was a three part process involving casting the clear top, positioning the wasp in the mold and adding more resin, and finally adding a layer of black resin for the background.
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“I have really only been modding controllers for just under a year,” Topher tells me, “but I’ve always liked tinkering and remember swapping buttons around on my NES controllers as a kid. I started modding GameCube controllers just after Super Smash Bros. Ultimate came out. I had stumbled onto someone’s custom controller online and kind of just went ‘I could do that!'”
Help came from the Custom GameCube Controller Discord, a community that — well, is all about customizing GameCube controllers. Why GameCube? The controller’s been popular ever since the release of Super Smash Bros. Melee on that console almost two decades ago, and it’s still the preferred way to play Smash games today. Nintendo even released some new models when Ultimate came out last year. That said, the stock version isn’t the prettiest thing to look at, so it makes sense that Smash players would want to create something akin to the custom fight sticks that other fighting game players use.
Personally, I’m in love with the wasp controller. It’s immediately striking, and even after the initial surprise wore off it’s continued to captivate me. It seems to suggest so much — the ways in which games freeze reality via pausing and saving, the beauty of dangerous things, and the bittersweet nature of play and competition. Or maybe I’m just overanalyzing.
Anyway, Topher’s done a lot of other controller mods, too. They include a glittery weed leaf A button (nice), neon-dyed controller shells, and colorful cable swaps. You can check them all out on Twitter and his Instagram.