GDC 2016: The wonderfully weird games of GDC 2016



There’s always plenty of interesting stuff to see at GDC. There’s also some weird stuff – none more so than what you’ll find in Crtl.Alt.GDC, an area of the expo dedicated to showcasing the whacky and the wonderful.

This is a place for unique thinking. A place for rethinking entire input methods, with examples like Crank Tank, a tank-based shooter in which both players control their armored fighting vehicle with a giant wooden crank machine. And then there was Suck My Rainbow, a game in which… well, you’ll see.

Read on to explore some of our favorites from the bizarrely brilliant world of Crtl.Alt.GDC.

Planet Licker


Planet Licker is a game by Frank DeMarco in which the player licks different flavored popsicles inside the controller to propel monsters towards a planet. Yes, really. At least you don’t need to worry about cooties: the popsicles are replaced for every player.



DOBOTONE strips back the modern controller to a two-button gamepad. Up to four players can take part at once, moving through a series of simple but fun mini games with a Warioware-esque charm.

Suck My Rainbow


Less rude than it sounds. In Suck My Rainbow, your controller is a colorful vacuum that demands you “suck” a sequence of color. A sensor at the end of the pipe detects what color it’s touching, so all you have to do is find the right object, be it a wall, a shoe, or some passer-by’s tshirt. Oh, and the vacuum is really a unicorn, in case you hadn’t worked that out.



To bystanders it might look like the player is staring at a white screen, but the helmet on their head has a set of colored filters that reveal different objects on the display when peered through. The goal is to navigate through a maze by switching between red, blue and green filters that each reveal different realities.

The helmet doesn’t look quite as elegant as PlayStation VR or the Oculus Rift, but it’s a novel idea.

Hello, Operator!


Hello, Operator! has you pretending to be an operator from the 1930s – in the “good old days” before landlines and cell phones – as you work a switchboard. It’s more fun than it sounds. Plus, it’s a history lesson!

Crank Tank


Crank Tank uses two custom-constructed control boxes that players turn to move their tanks forward and take down the enemy’s stronghold. It’s an arm workout and video game rolled into one, created by some students at the Parsons School of Design.

Unfortunately you won’t see this sold as a console peripheral any time soon, but the team would love to see it put in an arcade.

The Von Neumann Personality Test

Von Neumann

Find out your true personality by talking with the deranged – and automated – psychiatrist. An infomercial for the service is spliced with old commercials that play on the TV set – which become more bizarre and nonsensical as you delve deeper into the mind.



This is the “world’s first transformable controller” according to the team behind Wiz. Driving a car? Roll it up into a circle. Now you’re on a bike? Straighten it out and it becomes handlebars. On a plane? Turn it vertically and pop out the top to mimic a control stick.

While the current version has quite a few response problems, when it works it’s pretty neat. An interesting way to rethink the modular controller.



A two-player territory-control game played by quilting and embroidering machines. Confused? You can read more about the Disney Research project here.


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