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Technology has advanced enormously over the past few years, and accessibility in gaming is better than it has ever been. PlayStation recently revealed a new accessibility controller for people with limited hand movements, following in Xbox and Steam’s footsteps. For those who cannot use their hands at all, things become more difficult. This technology is still being developed, and more methods are being found all the time.

Perrikaryal is a Twitch streamer with a master’s degree in psychology who has been using her platform to promote a new way to play. Her EEG headset reads her brain function, and via a key bind, it controls her character on screen. She decided to begin testing the technology with one of 2022’s most difficult games, Elden Ring.

Despite having the footage to prove her work, some people have accused her of faking. Perri thinks this is giving her “way too much credit.” In an interview, she explained to us how EEGs have been used to read brain patterns since 1988, and in the 30 years since, technology has come a long way. The only thing she’s added was a key bind.

So far, Perri has only bound the attack button to her EEG, and everything else she does with her hands. However, she has plans to slowly introduce more commands, and a gyroscope in the headset could allow her character to move using only head movement. This would allow her to use two buttons at once, something she’s unsure will work if she focuses only on brain activity.

As she plans to add another key bind into the mix, she explained to us her thought process. “I’m adding another [brain-powered input] today or tomorrow and that is gonna throw a massive spanner in the works. But we’re gonna do it, and hopefully we’ll get to the point where we can play the entire game with no finger lifting at all.”

Aside from the disruption this will cause, there are a lot of other issues to overcome. “What’s the thing that’s going to cause me the most pain? Healing,” she confirms, “Movement is always going to be difficult and I haven’t figured out a way to press more than one key at once. So moving is going to be really challenging in Elden Ring, maybe other games would be fine with it. But these headsets and this one in particular has gyro controls.”

The headset she uses is made by Emotiv, which creates a number of different headsets. The EEGs are sold publicly, and people have already been using them to move wheelchairs and control cars. However, the use of EGs as controllers has been limited so far. Prices range from around $1,250 to $30,000, which can be a steep barrier to entry.


But what is Perri actually doing when she tries to pull off an attack? “I’m imagining pushing something heavy forward really, really slowly because that sort of movement visualization is meant to be the best according to the company. It’s meant to be the best way to really differentiate patterns of brain activity. You can basically do anything, but it might not be enough to trigger it.”

It’s not a perfect system; there is both the difficulty of concentrating in the midst of a boss fight, as well as the delay between wanting to attack and pulling it off. “I’m getting better at realizing what to do and what not to do, but that’s just practice,” she explains, “The more you train it, the better it gets at distinguishing things.”

“I’m not very good at anticipating my actions and get confused. I get distracted really easily, so I’m trying really hard all the time to remember what the latency is and start [concentrating] before I get there. You can do that when it’s just the one enemy over in the corner, but when it’s someone like Rennala, and you have about half a second or you’re about to get bitten by some vampire girl, it’s stressful.”

Stress is such a detrimental factor when it comes to controlling games using the EEG, and yet Perri has chosen one of the most difficult and stress-inducing games you can choose. When asked about it she explained, “I’m a little bit of a masochist.” The inspiration came from the Elden Ring community who are constantly trying to make the game even harder.

Twitch streamer Perrikaryal faces Elden Ring boss Rennala playing with EEG headset

“The Elden Ring community is always very geared towards trying to make a hard game harder for themselves. There was a guy who used bananas [as a controller]. MissMikkaa used a dance pad and that was the first kind of ingenious thing that I saw on Twitch and I thought wow, okay, I want to jump in and be a part of this”

“I think it fits the EEG really, really well because it’s such a challenge and it’s such a milestone that if you’re playing something else that was easy, it’s [just] over. [There’s] nothing for any audience to follow and get involved with the community themselves. It kind of feels like you’re all on this really awful difficult journey together.”

But it hasn’t always been that difficult despite Elden Ring’s known difficulty. “I found Margit and Godric weirdly easy because I wasn’t expecting it,” she explains, “I was really under-leveled and I just sort of went for it and I think because of all the summons and the fact that you can just stand back, it was fine.” It’s the bosses that others have found easier that she has struggled with.

“Rennala is the one I’m doing now, [and] it’s hurting me. I died 100 times because you have to attack a million different times and in a really dangerous place with really precise locations, precise timings. I’ve never got her down to phase two, I haven’t even started her boss fight really. I might still be doing Rennala in 10 years’ time.”

Twitch streamer Perrikaryal defeats Elden Ring boss Rennala using EEG headset

Luckily, it didn’t take Perri 10 years to beat Rennala. She completed the challenge the weekend after our talk. She doesn’t want to stop when she finishes Elden Ring though. She has plans to continue practicing with her EEG and try different genres of games. While she wants to try popular genres like first-person shooters, there are other genres that have more interesting applications. “These, like puzzle games and choice games, could be quite cool if I could find a way to make it, so that instinctually I pick answers and I don’t have necessarily control over stuff; that would be amazing if that’s possible.”

But the end goal isn’t really about beating the Elden God, it’s about something much bigger. “I’m thinking if I can bring awareness to [this tech] it’s amazing and there are some people reaching out to me who are doing their Ph.D. programs or who are working in VR, [and] I’m just saying yes. It has a lot of potential for accessibility,” she continues, “With disabilities, people assume that I think we forget that it’s not just about necessity, [but] just making someone mobile is not enough. If someone’s missing out on gaming, if someone can’t get involved with the thing that everyone else is doing, that gives so many so much pleasure, then that sucks.”