A mad gaming mod scientist has worked out how to control a Steam Deck with a pair of iPods, because… why not?

Person playing Steam Deck with iPods
(Image credit: nekomichi)

Before he climbed Mount Everest, explorer George Leigh Mallory was asked “why do you want to climb Everest?”. He responded, famously, “Because it’s there”. We can only imagine that's the thought process this bonkers Reddit user had when they plugged a pair of iPods into their Steam deck to control the handheld computer’s games.

In what is becoming some kind of crazed theme in the world of game controllers (there’s a trend for people playing the notoriously difficult Dark Souls with dance pad controller peripherals, or Guitar Hero gaming axes), this is just another example of ‘why not?’ made real.

[Follow-up] Tired of playing on your Deck with proper controls? Why not play Skyrim with a pair of iPods as controllers instead? Guaranteed to spice up your gameplay with an extra layer of challenge! from r/SteamDeck

While pointless, and probably taking far too long, it’s still fun. Isn’t It? I think it's fun. The Reddit user presumably did too.

Like, don’t, but also, cool?

Taking to Reddit with a nightmare in ergonomics and a disgrace to game controllers everywhere, Redditor nekomichi shows off playing some popular games with his iPod-enabled Steam Deck abomination. They manage to get a fair way through Helgen in ever-popular RPG Skyrim for example, the two iPads connected through their 30-pin connectors to a docking station hooked up to the Steam deck.

How did nekomichi do it? As they explain in a previous post from a week prior, they’ve had to use a custom firmware called Rockbox to connect the iPods to Steam Deck, “which allows them to act as USB input devices.” 

From there, “The iPod Mini on the left is acting as a mouse cursor controlled by the four directional keys with the center button acting as a left click (attack), the iPod 4th generation on the right is acting as a multimedia controller, with fast forward acting as taking a step forward and rewind as taking a step back”, they explain. To add some extra fun, they note that they have to mash the forwards button to move around in-game because “it's not possible to send button-hold commands.”

It doesn’t help that one of the click wheels is apparently faulty, either — although whichever way you look at it, it’s never going to be a viable way to play your games. 

Is it fun? Yes. Wacky? Absolutely. We suspect as well that nekomichi might be a mad scientist: But who doesn’t love a bonkers researcher who puts things that should never be paired together just to see what happens? Now that you’ve made your Frankenstein, nekomichi, can we have a go? Please?


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Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.