Dark Souls Beaten With A Bongo Drum Controller

Mastering a game you love can be bittersweet. You’ve conquered the highest peak and can see the whole world beneath you, but where from here? You could try hacking limbs off or plucking your eyes out. Or using a weird controller, I guess, if you’re less prone to dramatics.

Benjamin ‘bearzly’ Gwin has been challenging himself with Dark Souls for a while, beating it with one single finger, with the plastic drums and guitar controllers of Rock Band, and, now, the bongo drum controller from GameCube rhythm ’em up Donkey Konga.

Look, here he is beating the legendarily frustrating Ornstein and Smough boss battle:

As you might guess, they have a complicated setup. As this diagram explains, the bongos only have four main inputs on the skins, so he wrote software which binds the controls across three configs cycled through by pressing parts of the bongos together.

“Total run time was just under 5 hours and 30 minutes, with somewhere around 57 deaths in total,” he says. If you want to see more, the whole stream is archived in two parts.

His future wacky control plans include bananas through a Makey Makey, and a Dance Dance Revolution mat. I once saw a few folks using bananas in a Super Hexagon tournament. I think my flatmate placed high enough to win a prize on bananas, actually. Kids these days! What a wondrous thing the openness of PC gaming is.


  1. Cockie says:

    Now if he beats Cloudbuilt that way I’ll be really impressed.

  2. Orija says:

    Ornstein and Smough only got frustrating if you kept repeating your mistakes every time.

    • Rizlar says:

      Yeah, they are tough but I had heard a lot about how hard that fight was supposed to be and for me it really wasn’t as difficult as some of the other boss fights. Possibly because my playstyle revolved around endless stamina regen, running away and blocking, so pretty much perfect for that fight. Manus, on the other hand…

    • Geebs says:

      Also, much harder if you’re trying to kill Smough first. Ornstein-first is the easy option, although points given for going mêlée.

  3. MrFinnishDude says:

    I was waiting for him to beat the game by a sick bongo solo.

  4. Premium User Badge

    distantlurker says:

    Medieval Elvis thanks you very much.

  5. DXN says:

    I refuse to be satisfied by this until he plays by vigorously hitting the bongos instead of just… fondling them. I refuse!!

  6. Incompleteness says:

    It doesn’t sound as swinging as the title makes it sound. Maybe if he were to edit in bongo sounds to match his button presses?

  7. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    Last night I was watching some dude play Binding Of Isaac with a dance pad on Twitch.tv and annoyingly he was still better at it than I am.

  8. Moraven says:

    He needs to play with more than 1 drum set.

    There is this guy who played Donkey Konga 4 player mode solo with 4 sets of konga drums.
    link to youtube.com

    I want to see samba de amigo controller playthrough.

    This kinda reminds me of people with disabilities playing with limitations. Some amazing play in games like Starcraft 2 with people using their chin and one button arm.

  9. Wytefang says:

    I’m confused why this even remotely merits any kind of media coverage in our industry. Who really, honestly cares about this?

    • Jannn says:

      I care sincerely, does that count?

    • Immobile Piper says:

      That’s not how the game is meant to be played. Yet someone went and did it anyway. That makes it interesting. It’s like multiplayer Super Mario 64, sure it’s probably more a quaint novelty than anything else, but I for one enjoy ooh’ing and aah’ing at novelties.

      People playing games is interesting. Even more so if there’s a gimmick attached like a challenge (anyone remember that Jedi Knight speedrun a while back?) or a weird controller like we have here.
      It’s us looking at some individual’s feat of mastery over something, there’s inherent interest in that. I guess it’s similar to what draws people to golf and such. I find golf quite boring and not meriting much coverage either.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      I have literally nothing to add that the above didn’t already say. I am just commenting to make it clear that somebody else honestly cares about this. What’s more relevant on a gaming site than the way people play games?

  10. jrodman says:

    no shovel.

  11. Swordfishtrombone says:

    Feynman would be proud.

  12. Jernau Gurgeh says:

    I would like to add the inevitable “I can’t even play this game with a normal controller” comment. Is it alright if I do that?