Games that do cool "Out of Band" things with peripherals

We all have games that we talk about on this forum that are part of our posting brand, and one of mine is Downwell.

I've bought it anywhere between several and many times. I think i even first heard about it on this podcast about 10 years ago!

I've been playing it again with an arcade stick lately and it's an amazing arcade game to play with a joystick. So imagine my surprise when I happened to use the PS5 controller that was sitting next to me and realized that the palette I had selected (matcha) matched the color of the LED on the controller. And I went to change the palette and the color of the LED bars changed to match. It is delightful!

What other games communicate "out of band" to the player? I'll accept neat VMU interactions and weird stuff arcade marquees may or may not do. Psycho Mantis is a good one too. I think pinball games do this frequently, but I'll need to research it a bit.

Others have chimed in after I posted about it in the games we are currently playing thread and I've done the pasting so you don't have to.

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@“Karnovski”#p69848 I’m pretty sure in some of the Resident Evil games on PS4 the controller light matches your health status. I’ve always liked little details like that.

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@“captain”#p69850 In Yakuza 0 the light blinks when hooligans start running after you in the street

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@“IsopodBod”#p69876 Kirby and the Amazing Mirror is one I’ve gone back to a lot but never played all the way through! I did the same thing last time and just collected as many color sprays as I could find. Getting all the different colors is oddly satisfying and I thought it was super neat when I was a kid too, especially since sometimes they’d be themed a certain way. Like I remember there’s a “cherry” one where Kirby gets turned red with green feet. Pretty simple I guess, but it’s a cool feature!


A certain post-game stage in Kirby Star Allies uses the specific pitches of the joycon's HD rumble motor to play the Green Greens tune… there are quite a few Switch games that use the joycons for sound effects, actually (not to mention Labo, Puchicom, 1-2-Switch, etc which heavily utilise controller gimmicks that may or may not include a video component).

There's a Lamborghini game on SNES that lets you shoot other cars off the road by plugging a Super Scope into the second controller port.

It's not quite what you're after, but beating certain versions of the original Wing Commander would prompt a connected printer to print out a congratulatory message... but that was just a fig-leaf for a debug message for an error they weren't able to fix before launch, so they just changed the message itself to say "thx for playing!" instead of "memory leak" or whatever.

HD Rumble is so underrated. Octopath Traveler with joycons in TV mode has my favorite subtle motions for things like opening doors, concocting potions, and if you pickpocket someone with Therion you feel the coin drop in your hand.

i thought that Silent Hill Shattered Memories game for the Wii did some neat stuff with the Wiimote speaker, like phone calls with a lot of crackly static, that really added to the atmosphere of the game. i had a good time with it.

Death Stranding blares baby crying sound effects out of the tinny controller speaker if you fall over or get hit, usually when everything is going wrong, so you can replicate Norman Reddus' stress levels in real life.

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@“gsk”#p69951 but beating certain versions of the original Wing Commander would prompt a connected printer to print out a congratulatory message… but that was just a fig-leaf for a debug message for an error they weren’t able to fix before launch, so they just changed the message itself to say “thx for playing!” instead of “memory leak” or whatever.

This wasn't sent to a printer, but displayed whenever exiting to DOS. There was a crash while trying to clean everything up and quit, and rather than fix it they changed the error handler for that crash to instead say a "Thanks for playing" message.


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Maybe not 100% fit for this thread, but when I played the demo disc for the first Silent Hill, the controller rumble pattern that happened when the player was injured _seemed_ like it was the throbbing of a heartbeat. Given that it was also about 1am or so at the time, this was very effective in a horror/suspense game at adding an extra layer of tension.

Doki Doki Literature Club comes to mind, for spoilery reasons.

I‘ve got a WonderSwan One Piece party/board game with an LED embedded into the cart somewhere around here - IIRC the idea is you pass the handheld around your group of friends, with the LED changing state so everyone can see when it’s time to pass it along (and to help prevent cheating, I suppose).

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@“rejj”#p69964 This wasn’t sent to a printer, but displayed whenever exiting to DOS. There was a crash while trying to clean everything up and quit, and rather than fix it they changed the error handler for that crash to instead say a “Thanks for playing” message.

Ah, I'd conflated it with some other game that definitely physically prints out a message at the end, hell if I can remember which one.

@“Tradegood”#p69952 i was playing ps5 demon's souls the other day, in upper latria (3-2?) and was wondering why my controller was ominously pulsing. then, i walked through a doorway and saw >!the great big throbbing heart!<

rumble rules

The stone of agony, baby!!

In the United States at least, Okamiden preorders came with this larger stylus that was just like the paintbrush in the game. I always thought that was cool in the sense that you‘re using this specific peripheral to do all the paintbrush actions, even though at the end of the day it’s just the same as using a regular stylus. Super simple, but definitely something I could see contributing to someone's immersion.


Pathologic 2 has hidden microphone functionality, or it might be haunted. No one's really sure

https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/pathologic-2-train-summoning

edit: ignore the author's crabby appleton comments - I'm sure he's a nice guy but he really whiffed on the game