Hello everyone and welcome to yet another installment of “what can you make into a controller to play hard games with.”
Today we have skilled harpist and vocalist Anna Ellsworth. A few months ago, she posted a YouTube video (opens in new tab) about turning her harp into a controller and playing Dark Souls with it. Since then, she’s beaten Elden Ring’s Tree Sentinel (opens in new tab) and Margit the Fell Omen (opens in new tab) with her harp. (She also beat Dark Souls’ ragequit-inducing duo Ornstein & Smough! (opens in new tab))
In a post on Reddit (opens in new tab), Ellsworth explained how the controls worked.
“A for dodge and G for light attack! To my great sadness, I don’t have a heavy attack string because I needed that real estate for other actions,” she said. “The only control I have over the direction of the roll is just whatever direction my character is walking. It’s a little annoying because when I play with a controller, I tend to do a lot of forward-but-a-little-to-the-right rolls which I can’t do with harp unless I happen to be approaching from a certain angle. Mostly, it’s really just rolling into an attack and hoping for the best.”
The hardest part, however, was adjusting for input lag. There’s a moment of input lag between plucking the string and the controls firing off. Ellsworth said that figuring it out “took some time but isn’t too bad anymore.”
As to how she plays the game better with a harp than some people play with a controller? “To be fair, I’ve spent way more of my life with a harp against my shoulder than with a controller in my hands,” she said. (opens in new tab)
Ellsworth is a harpist and vocalist who has won awards and done national tours in the United States, including as part of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses tour. You can find her on her personal website (opens in new tab), YouTube (opens in new tab), and Soundcloud. (opens in new tab)