Hands-on with Katamari Damacy creator's crazy 16-button game controller (video, update)

You don't often see a video game specifically designed for a 16-button bespoke controller and for a special one-time party, but that's exactly what Keita Takahashi has done with Tenya Wanya Teens. If that name sounds familiar, it's because Takahashi is responsible for the enormously popular game franchise that is Katamari Damacy along with cult favorite Noby Noby Boy. Teens is his first foray as an independent creator under Uvula, a studio he formed with his wife Asuka Sakai, and is a result of a collaboration with event organizers Wild Rumpus and video game website Venus Patrol. As for the party in question, it's one that is being held concurrently with the 2013 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, which is where we saw the controllers and the game in action.

As you can see above, the controller looks a lot like a modified arcade stick. A hand-made effort by programmer George Buckenham, both boxes were built in about five days for around £200 ($302.50) each. According to Buckenham, the easiest part was assembling the electronics; it was the plywood housing that took him awhile to master. As for the game, Tenya Wanya Teens is a highly whimsical affair that is described as "a coming-of-age tale about love, hygiene, monsters and finding discarded erotic magazines in the woods." Tasks include peeing in the shower, punching monsters and taking on grizzly bears. %Gallery-184156%

As for whether the game and the controller will actually be mass-produced, Buckenham and colleague Richard Hogg were unsure. Obviously they'll have to figure out a more cost-effective controller, but even then the answer remains very much in the air. Still, it looks like the crew had a blast designing and playing the game, and seeing as the party is very much sold out, we'd say it was a rousing success. Have a peek at the gallery to get a closer look at the controller and check out the video below for a demo of this crazy little game.

Update: We thought we'd clarify the gameplay here a little further. Essentially, as you move through the game, you're required to perform certain actions when confronted with certain scenarios. For example, if there's a skunk, you're supposed to fart to chase it away. That action is tied to a certain button color. As you move through the game, the colors on the controller change, so you'll need to hunt for the right color as the same scenario occurs. There are also often multiple scenarios happening at once as the game progresses, so you might be frantically looking for several buttons to press instead of just the one. At the end, whoever hits the right buttons the most scores the most points.