We made the Steam controller sing The Star Spangled Banner

Test Steam Flag

Last year saw Valve release the Steam controller, liberating PC gamers from the tyranny of their desks and introducing them to a brave new world: the couch. And while our Steam controller launch review suggested it was unlikely to dominate the input device firmament just yet, we can now confirm that it is in fact the most musical—and patriotic—controller available to PC players.

To explain: Steam forum user [bil] Pila has devised a method for playing midi files using the vibrations of the Steam controller's haptic feedback motors, and it's pretty easy to pull off. Just download the package located in the source thread, find or make some midi files, place them in the same folder as the executable, and then run the executable via Command Prompt. The Steam controller will vibrate, beep, and boop with whatever midi file you've chosen. In our case, the glorious national anthem of 'merica.

Valve's plastic brainchild probably won't be invited to perform at too many baseball games, sadly. It doesn't have quite enough power to properly belt out every note, so expect the more complex midis to barely make sense. Stick with simpler tunes if you can, and be warned that this kind of tinkering isn’t exactly sanctioned, and has the potential to blow out your controller’s haptic feedback features. Interestingly, it's not a huge surprise that the Steam controller can play midi files—the haptic feedback technology is based on existing speaker tech. Let us know what you decide to make it sing.

James Davenport

James is stuck in an endless loop, playing the Dark Souls games on repeat until Elden Ring and Silksong set him free. He's a truffle pig for indie horror and weird FPS games too, seeking out games that actively hurt to play. Otherwise he's wandering Austin, identifying mushrooms and doodling grackles.