Introduction: The Giant Gamepad

I guess the term "The Giant Gamepad" explains itself pretty good in the title... it's basically a great big gamepad, large enough to play alone or with a partner, powered by a MakeyMakey to play videogames on your Computer! :D

I made this gamepad in a Seminar at the University of Education in Ludwigsburg which was called "Gaming im Sportunterricht" (gaming in physical education). The goal was to take video games from the digital world and bring them to the sports hall where students could experience them physically. The whole project was very creative and open and we were able to take our ideas to a primary school and play with the kids. The dileg-SL (Digitales Lernen Grundschule – Stuttgart/Ludwigsburg [digital learning in primary school]) was one of five projects where educational science and media education worked together with other subjects at the University of Education in Ludwigsburg such as Biology, German, English, IT, Maths and PE in cooperation with the Rosenstein primary school in Stuttgart. The result of our seminar work can be seen here as we were featured in local newspapers and television (German language)

starting at 23:30

The giant gamepad was just one of many good ideas and I am sure this thing is great fun outside school as well.


These are the materials that I have used. Of course you can achieve similar results with other materials too.

What you need:

Step 1: Measurements

Measurements are up to you! I still had some of these plastic sheets from my work in a printing company which were 70 x 100 cm but of course, you are not stuck to this. I used two of them side by side to give the gamepad a reasonably big size and then randomly decided about the size of the buttons, looking which size I liked best while still having enough space for wiring it up at the top.

For the buttons, I first used a sheet of paper to fold an arrow just to get the look and feel. I felt confident about the size and the alignment and next I went for the round buttons to match the size of the arrows. I used 4 round buttons to make it in a SNES style gamepad.

Step 2: Glueing and Cutting

As we are dealing with adhesive aluminium tape, which is conductive, there is not much hassle about the buttons. One just has to make sure the tape is connected when you make the buttons. I have glued down the tape in rectangles first and then used the arrow and a pen to outline the final button. For cutting out the buttons, I used the steel ruler and the cutter. I did not use much pressure while cutting, just enough to cut through the aluminium but not all the way through the plastic sheet.

Step 3: Wiring

After the buttons are cut, we need to wire them up. I simply used copper wire connected to one side of a button and then drew them up to the top of the sheet where I used a wider space for connections to the MakeyMakey. To isolate the wire I used the sellotape.

Step 4: Connect to the MakeyMakey

As you probably know, we connect the gamepad to the MakeyMakey with alligator clips. The arrows are pretty intuitive, for the rest of the buttons, you can decide which of the available buttons you want to use, accordíng to the game you want to play. In my case I used the giant gamepad to play SuperTuxKart, you might need to adjust them in the settings. To make it easy with the MakeyMakey, use jumper wires and connect them to available WASD headers on the backside. in my case the controls are the following:

arrow left ---> left

arrow right ---> right

arrow up ---> accelerate

arrow down ---> brake

W ---> shoot

A ---> Nitro

F ---> hurl

S ---> look back

D ---> rescue

G ---> pause

Finally your need one connection for ground.

Step 5: Play

Now you are all set up and ready to play! Fire up SuperTuxKart and have fun with the Giant Gamepad!

Step 6:

Makey Makey Contest

Participated in the
Makey Makey Contest