*By Zane Bhansali* Four years ago, Aziz “Hax$” Al-Yami was one of the best Super Smash Bros. Melee players in the world. But after suffering what he said felt like “an explosion” in his left wrist, Hax’s once-impressive tournament performances were marred by serious physical pain. After two diagnoses of early onset arthritis and a calcified tendon, doctors gave the player an official recommendation of “activity modification” — in other words, quitting Melee. Instead, Hax found his own solution: a different type of controller. In 2016, Hax was approached by Hit Box, a company with a history of manufacturing keyboard-style controllers for fighting games. Hit Box was aiming to apply the same principle to Melee, a very tricky proposition. Melee's native GameCube controller possesses the remarkable ability to operate in near full analog, with thousands of coordinate pairs available to the control stick — a far cry from the fightsticks Hit Box had previously adapted, which only recognized eight directions. After a series of creative differences, Hax's collaboration with Hit Box failed to properly launch. But he didn't abandon his wish to play Melee again. Instead, he set out to manufacture his own ergonomic controller, which he named the B0XX. “There’s just nothing else that I’ve experienced in my life that allows me to express my creativity to the degree that Melee does,” Hax said in an interview on Cheddar Sports. But the B0XX's two-year development process has been turbulent. While Hax has spent much of his time designing the controller to ensure it alleviates his hand pain, his greatest obstacle has been convincing the community that the B0XX should be legal for tournament play. It is notoriously difficult to learn the ins and outs of a keyboard-style controller. Nevertheless, many have argued that a version of the controller without artificial limiters in place would allow users to perform techniques that are functionally impossible on a GameCube Controller. It wasn't until Hax released a [near 150-page document](http://20xx.gg/file/B0XX.pdf) detailing his design philosophy that he was allowed to play with his controller at tournaments. For Hax, the complex process has been a blessing in disguise. “I never went to college, largely because of Melee,” he said. “I basically conducted the research project that I kind of always wished I had back when I was in high school. Being able to put my mind to something that I actually wanted to get done was something I’d wanted for a long time.” With that said, the completion of the B0XX — pre-orders are now available — has also allowed Hax to pursue his dream once again. “The B0XX changed my entire life by allowing me to do the one thing that I have an unwavering passion for, which is playing Melee,” Hax said. Hopefully, his controller will inspire others with the same condition to revisit the game they love. “I’m just thankful that my work paid off and that the B0XX is here to not only allow me, but other players going through the exact same thing, to play their favorite game,” Hax said.

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