Never before has the phrase "look, ma, no hands!" been more impressive.
Gamer Benjamin Gwin published a video to YouTube on Sunday showing himself clearing "Dark Souls," a notoriously challenging title, using only voice commands. The game requires fast reflexes -- you need to dodge enemy attacks and counter with precise timing -- which makes the feat pretty darn impressive. Most of us probably couldn't beat the game with a standard controller, much less whimpering "strafe right, attack" at the right moments.
And while "Dark Souls" is challenging for most, the ability to forego plastic controllers or keyboards altogether might bode well for gamers with disabilities.
"'Dark Souls' has a sort of mystical difficult quality among modern games," Gwin told The Huffington Post via email. "However, the game isn't about raw difficulty, it's about patience and learning. I try to show the limits of how a famously difficult game can be beat and I hope new players who think the game is too difficult can see how anything can be beaten with some persistence."
Gwin streamed gameplay live via his Twitch channel, so viewers could watch and comment in real time. All told, it took him about 30 hours to complete his controller-free "Dark Souls" run, which was facilitated by Voice Attack, a Windows program that lets you map voice commands to keyboard presses and mouse actions.
"The hardest thing ... was resisting the urge to yell or make comments to the stream in tough situations, because messing up your next command usually means death," Gwin told HuffPost.
While beating "Dark Souls" with voice commands seems gimmicky -- though, perhaps not as gimmicky as beating it with a guitar controller, which Gwin's also done -- it actually has positive implications for people with disabilities who have difficulty using standard video game controllers. Something very action-based like "Dark Souls" probably isn't a realistic choice for most, but voice controls likely could be used for something with a slower pace -- the "Final Fantasy" series, perhaps.
"A viewer already messaged me telling me how he thought the tech I used could be used to help his physically disabled friend get into new kinds of games," Gwin told HuffPost. "I think voice control can be an excellent supplement to gaming, and the program I used works perfectly well with any PC games or applications."