XBox controller cast in lead and copper to protest use of game gear in war

Originally published at: XBox controller cast in lead and copper to protest use of game gear in war | Boing Boing

It is a child’s toy transformed into a weapon of war.

I have to wonder how it compares, numerically speaking, to annual sales of toy guns…


It is indeed repugnant that these devices are being used for destruction and killing. They should only be used to create well-detailed, very realistic simulations of destruction and killing. Sheesh!


It is a child’s toy transformed into a weapon of war.

I reject the premise that a game system and controller is simply a “child’s toy”. The fact that M rated games are a billion dollar industry is proof that video games are not only for children.

But at any rate, I would much rather they use an off the shelf controller vs spending millions having a contractor over engineer something that doesn’t work half as well.


I understand the optics… but the first joysticks were created by the military and aviation industry and then were adapted by the gaming industry. Not the other way around.


Officials tout the ergonomic, cost savings, and training advantages of the cheap off-the-shelf controller

So they can buy them from Microsoft for the pittance of $300 a pop, instead of $5000 custom controllers that defense contractors ginned up (which probably suck).


I do not understand the significance of casting the controller like this. It doesn’t really do much to demonstrate or communicate the ‘a thing made to bring joy to children becomes a tool of war’ story to me. The story this is telling is “Hey a custom Xbox controller from Halo or Gears of War limited edition sets!”


From an early childhood memory, aka Atari 2600, and the dawn of home computing:

Gah, we couldn’t afford joysticks for the home computer and proper flight controls (not to mention software) was not available to the home computer market. Thus we were limited to using the keyboard.

Bottom Line: Why aren’t keyboards included in this category of “game gear” and vilified in this manner? (Answer: They are too commodity and as mentioned by @WoolyBugger to inherit both the economies of scale and to greatly reduce the learning curve by capitalizing on their early childhood muscle memory when training the personnel on their use.)


Ya know, why not just go all out, and protest war itself?

Just Saying Come On GIF by A Little Late With Lilly Singh


Not to defend defense contractors, but the military’s own procurement process inflates the price many times. Suppliers have to keep an audit trail of every piece of each assembly: who made it, where, when, which line in the factory, etc. That’s how they get a $500 hammer.

I hope someone is at least inspecting them. It wouldn’t surprise me if the key chip in the controller was sourced from China, if not the whole thing.


Maybe if this were dripping with blood, it would make a better art installation.

I need to buy some pearls to clutch.


Tomorrow’s headline:


Design professor amazed; ‘Honestly, I was just doing the first thing that popped into my head to get tenure’


I don’t get all the hate. Reminds me of Google employees protesting work for the Pentagon. And it raises some interesting questions.

What else have consumer tech companies voluntarily done for the military? Should a gaming company be helping the military do a better job at killing people than it already is? Wouldn’t a blanket ban from a gaming company send a clear message that their tech should never be used for destructive purposes? Are consoles meant to be training kids to be future murderers, even indirectly?

I agree this provides the military with massive savings, but only looking at that angle strikes me as short-sighted. Props to this professor for at least raising the issues, IMHO.


It’s only been about 30 years since this movie came out:



Forget the soldiers, won’t someone think of the artists who are so enslaved to the xbox that they can’t make art without it.

But to @knoxblox’s point, why not just protest war itself? Does it really matter what controllers they’re using? I don’t care if they’re using XBox, PS4, Wii’s, or some custom controller designed exclusively for the military. I don’t see how that matters at all. Hell, they’ve been using video games to train soldiers for awhile now, and there are studies that have shown just growing up playing video games can improve some of the skills needed for air combat, so cutting off the military’s access to gaming hardware will accomplish nothing. If you’re a pacifist, which I am, then protest the war, not the gears of war.


“Protest use of game gear in war”?

I mean if you want to use one of these in a war zone, more power to you:

(Hope you packed a lot of batteries.)


To me it doesn’t feel right telling an artist that their work missed the mark on a certain issue. That in itself suggests the viewer may only be looking at something with a single perspective. Maybe the piece was meant to highlight the link between our leisure gadgets and real life warfare, as obvious as that may be. Who’s to say pointing that out is bad art?

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Anyone. Criticizing art is a valid exercise. It’s all a matter of perspective and opinion. I don’t think anyone is right or wrong here.


I’m not saying that, and I am an artist. I’m just saying we wouldn’t have to deal with these discussions if we could convince many people that war and empire building is senseless and futile, and could never ever beat cooperation and inclusiveness in the long run.