Action RPG Elden Ring has been played with just about everything from bananas to Guitar Hero guitars to dance mats. A Twitch streamer has now put the crown on it all and uses her brainwaves. Twitter users are divided: Is this the future of gaming or just clever fake?
What’s it all about? Elden Ring triggered a huge hype when it was released in 2022, because the games from developer FromSoftware are known for their high level of difficulty. But the first players quickly conquered the game and were looking for new challenges.
There was a real competition to outdo each other with ever more absurd controllers. A Twitch streamer who goes by the name “Perrikaryal” is a hot contender for the title of “Weirdest Way to Play Elden Ring” right now: she’s playing Elden Ring with her brainwaves.
Slay dragons with brains
What is the streamer doing? Perrikaryal, who says she has a master’s degree in psychology, has an EEG hooked up to her streams. This is a medical device that can measure your brain activity. The streamer uses this to control her character in Elden Ring – at least partially.
How is that possible? EEG stands for electroencephalography and is a method used in neurological research and diagnostics. Electrodes are attached to fixed points on the head. These electrodes can measure voltage differences across the scalp caused by activity in the brain.
The device then displays the brain activities in the form of waves, which you can’t make out with the naked eye at first. However, the streamer managed to link a specific brain activity to an in-game storyline.
So far, only one attack is possible with this method, so Perrikaryal does not (yet) control exclusively with her brain. However, she has already managed to use this method to kill a dragon in Elden Ring by repeatedly hitting it with her shield.
Why only one action? Perrikaryal explains that it is quite difficult for the program to distinguish between activities. Visualizations would work well for her: she imagines pushing something very heavy forward to perform the attacks.
In principle, this is like an on/off switch: either the activity is there or not, the program does not have to differentiate between different patterns. If you put in a lot of effort and don’t move much, it’s certainly possible to link different activities with keys or key combinations.
“Imagine a paraplegic destroying you in CoD”
How are the reactions? Taking to Twitter, where the story was shared by journalist Jake Lucky, users were initially impressed: “I think the ‘Unique Controller’ category is over. It doesn’t get more impressive than this,” one wrote (via Twitter).
Some viewers are downright euphoric: They already see the future of gaming here. And that is long overdue because the technology has been around for a long time. Because technology could open up completely new possibilities, especially for people with disabilities:
I am so happy to hear this story as it gives hope to many severely disabled people to be gamers. Imagine being completely destroyed by a quadriplegic in Call of Duty!
I love tech like this, the future of games is bright.
Twitter user “ZeusKabooze” via Twitter
The advantage over Neuralink, a comparable project by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, is that the EEG is a non-invasive procedure and does not require a chip implant in the brain. But Perrikaryal says she’s not averse to getting in touch with the Tesla boss: she won’t have to constantly apply saline to boost conductivity or charge her device.
However, there are also critical voices that suspect a clever fake behind the recordings: the gameplay could have been recorded beforehand or a friend from the off could control the character with a controller. “Streamers are just making things up now. Viewership must be way down,” writes Twitter user.
Others, on the other hand, argue that control with the EEG is definitely possible and not as complicated as some might imagine. Perrikaryal herself provided evidence in a stream that she doesn’t use a controller or dance mat to attack. We have included the corresponding clip for you here:
In a stream that is still running, the streamer shows on her Twitch channel how she trains the program to recognize various activities and (as of January 24, 2023).
The idea of controlling a character using only your brainwaves still sounds like science fiction. But in fact, a “deep dive” is already being worked on, which should allow players to immerse themselves in the game world with all their senses. You can see what it’s all about here:
The “Deep Dive” should let us immerse ourselves in .s like never before – what is that actually?