After a year of work, Michael, a 19-year-old in California, put the finishing touches on a highly anticipated set of plastic testicles — a GameCube controller designed to look like a dick and balls. “Everyone who’s seen it so far has the same reaction,” he tells me. “At first, their gut reaction is that it just shouldn’t exist, but then they come around to being oddly happy that it does.”
To be sure, Michael, a hobbyist controller designer, didn’t make this vascular, plastic monstrosity to satisfy his own artistic impulse. He did it at the request of Ludwig Ahgren, a 26-year-old YouTuber, esports commentator and one of most popular streamers on Twitch. “I was hosting what I think was one of, if not the first Among Us tournaments on Twitch before it exploded, and Ludwig was in there with a bunch of his friends,” Michael recalls. “As host, I said whoever won the tournament would get a custom controller made by me — and Ludwig won.”
When Michael asked what kind of custom controller he wanted, Ahgren responded, “Oh, I want a dick and balls.” Confused, Michael tried to follow up with Ahgren to make sure he really wanted a controller made to look like a penis. “I reached out to a few of his roommates and they were like, ‘Yeah, just run with it,’” he says. “And so, I did exactly that.”
Michael was just days into his freshman year of college, but like many titans of industry before him, he stayed focused on what mattered. “Instead of working on homework, there I was, hunkered down in my dorm trying to design a GameCube controller with a dick and balls,” he explains.
The design wasn’t necessarily easy to pull together. As he worked, hours began to turn into days, and discarded sketches, crumpled and thrown away, accumulated in the trash can next to his desk. “Obviously, the balls will be on the controller itself, but [Ahgren] said he wanted a dick and balls — shaft and all,” Michael recalls thinking. “How do I make this work?”
Knowing he’d ultimately have to find someone to sculpt the controller, Michael turned to other GameCube controller designers. “There’s only one guy, really, who sculpts GameCube controllers, and his name is Design Out of Shield,” Michael tells me. “A lot of people say the controllers he makes are cursed, which they kind of are because they look crazy. But they’re really awesome sculpts, and I knew he was the only person capable of doing the job.”
Michael, however, wasn’t sure Design Out of Shield (aka Isaac Caplan Wilson) would take on his request. “I gave him the idea, told him who it was for and was like, ‘I know it’s weird, but would you do this?’ He was instantly in and super down for it,” Michael says. “He took my sketches, and we went back-and-forth and came to the conclusion: The balls will be on the bottom of the controller, the shaft will be the cable and the plug will be the tip.”
With that, Wilson took the new design, “researched that area of the body and then sculpted by hand,” Michael explains. “He did all the paint and gave it multiple layers to get a nice gradient flesh color, which definitely took some time.” A month later, Wilson, who’s based in the U.K., shipped Michael the controller shell. “I mean, he’s an expert in the field; it’s one of the best sculpts ever — and the anatomy is on point,” Michael marvels.
Next, Michael needed to finish the buttons, which he initially wanted to have fake hair for a pubic effect. “But inlaying hair into anything could be an issue, so we just went with the black silvery buttons, which I think complement the skin color really well,” he says. “Once that was decided, I got a friend from Arizona to finish the buttons, and another friend to get the skin-toned color on the cable done.”
Meanwhile, Michael customized the “innards” of the controller himself, making it “not only a very nice looking controller, but technically one of the most advanced controllers you can get.” All told, the project cost him $500 (not counting his time).
But the most surprising aspect of the design, Michael says, is how good it feels to wrap your sweaty palms around it. “The way you normally hold a controller, your fingers wrap around the back, but because there’s something in the way now, you have to kinda move your fingers to… Well, you basically have to wrap your middle finger around the balls,” he explains.
And similar to a vibrating Rumble Pak shoved into a Nintendo 64 controller, the bulbous testicles hanging from the front of the controller give it some extra heft and a “prestige” feel. “Honestly,” he says, “there’s no way around it — the dick and balls controller feels really good in your hands.”
The fleshy monstrosity — head, shaft, balls and all — now lives with Ahgren. But Michael, like any true visionary, sees a future flush with testicular controllers: “Everyone who’s tested it says they like the feel of it, so maybe one day Nintendo will make heavier ‘prestige’ controllers. And right now, the best way to add that weight is with a big ol’ pair of balls.”