What can we learn from sex toys, then? First of all, sex toys are technologies that an eminently visual animal will use in non-visual ways, so they are designed to be perceived and felt through touch and sound. Sex toys understand how the body acts and learns, where the body is and how to extend that knowledge into technologies....Sex toys are also examples of ergonomic designs that use limited feedback mechanisms in creative ways. Essentially, a DualShock controller is an awkwardly held dildo. There is no good reason not to be inspired by the palette of expressions that a sex toy can achieve with the same mechanisms. And the same goes for all the computational connectivity of modern sex toys. These devices have Bluetooth, which they use to connect to apps that adjust tactile feedback based on sensor input. These same sensors are widely available in most game controllers. How can we reimagine these inputs and outputs in a way that provides pleasure in the interaction, beyond the mind-driven mastery of the system?
Sex toys are designed to be one part of a larger experience, within a larger setting. They are toys because they help us play. They liberate because they don’t gatekeep play as controllers do, they only aid in its pleasures. And so, game controllers should take that liberating function too. They should liberate us from the Cartesian prison of the gaze and logics that take the form of a game. Sex toys help people create, structure, and enjoy a pleasurable play experience, and videogame controllers should do the same. They should forget being about the game, and refocus on the player as an embodied, emotional being seeking pleasures.