IGDA Game Accessibility Special Interest Group

Microsoft Aren't Listening!



Microsoft Aren't Listening! - Image of a grinning Chimpanzee with it's fingers in it's ears. ....and nor are Sony and Nintendo, but one at a time...

I'm getting really fed up with Microsoft's restrictive attitude to controllers on the Xbox 360. Some years back, when Microsoft were forming their console world domination master-plan, they decided it would be wise to put blocks on 3rd parties creating controllers for their console without their say so. A money making ploy. The result today is a pitiful choice of alternative controllers - perhaps the worst for any console I've seen in the past 20 years.

Microsoft later started to show a little recognition of this, stating that they "need to bring more people in" with more accessible controllers. So far, all I can see is an arcade stick that won't work on most 360 games and some rip-off BUZZ controllers that have been used with quiz games.

There has been a ray of hope in the form of an unofficial Playstation controller adapter, called the XFPS 360 or XFPS Sniper from non-approved XCM. It's a good device in my experience, allowing you to connect many of the huge range of Playstation controllers that are available. Unfortunately it is very expensive and requires a wired controller (to get around Microsoft's anti-non-approved controller circuitry). So you are looking at about £80/$160/100 Euros just to be able to use an alternative controller that might work for you.

What's worse is in Microsoft deliberately trying to put a stop to this with their latest wired controllers. According to Play-Asia - this adapter "Does not work with latest Xbox360™ wired controller model X811616-005 ".


Plus points for the Xbox 360 come in a recent price drop - but what use is that to the many people that can't play on one? Solutions? If Microsoft could bring out an official Playstation controller adapter for £20/$40/25 Euros that doesn't need a wired controller - all would be forgiven! But do they care?

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Switch Adapted Wii Remote



Switch Adapted Wii Remote from Broadened Horizons.Broadened Horizons (aka Gimp Gear) have recently added a switch adapted Wii Remote to their Video Gaming Accessibility area. This allows gamers to strap a Wii remote to their arm and activate the A button and the B trigger using plug in switches or sensors.

This won't suit all games, but should open up the likes of Wii Sports to more gamers. Grand work.

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Apple Mac: Assistive Gaming



Apple Mac Accessible Gaming.The Apple Mac isn't the best served machine with accessible gaming, so it's really great to see it getting a big push at new site "Assisitive Gaming". Primary exponents of Apple Mac game accessibility David Niemeijer of Assistive Ware and free lance journalist and gamer Mike Phillips are in charge of proceedings. See Mike in action here - perhaps the fastest thumb in the world! Good luck to them.

Further links: One-switch Mac Games.

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PS3 Accessibility



Kind of sums up a lot of people's difficulties I thought! Click here for full sized.

Via: Alienmelon's game Haxed.

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Accessible Gaming in 1981



Adaptive 'Head wand' being used to play Bowling on the 1976 RCA Studio II games console. Photo by Meri Houtchens-Kitchens.
I've just received a scan of "Adapting Audio/Video Games for Handicapped Learners" by Karen Hughes - dated November 1981. Fascinating reading for me - and there's an interesting parallel with the photo above with some recent work I've been undertaking.

The photo above is of a gamer using head-control to play Bowling on a 1977 RCA Studio II games console using a "head wand" to press down on the keypad controller. It seems that this plays in a very similar way to "Super Monkey Ball 2" which I've recently had set-up on a Nintendo Wii to play with head-control and/or switches. Nothing is new it seems!

Hopefully I'll be able to get some more up from this article in the near future, if I can get permission from Karen Hughes. Fantastic pioneering work.

Scan with thanks to: Michelle Hinn.

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Making Console Games More Comfortable With Cheats



Making Games More Comfortable: Cheats Thanks to work I'm doing with Special Effect, I've had recent access to games console cheat disks from Datel for the first time. These are something I've rather foolishly overlooked for the past long-time.

To use you insert a cheat disk into your console (I've tried a Playstation 2 and a Wii in GameCube mode) - find your game from a long list - then tick the boxes next to the cheats you want such as infinite health, unlock everything, giant jumps and so on. When ready - you hit START, swap disks with your desired game - then play.

I've uploaded some useful basic Cheats information at the Accessible Gaming Shop but the short of it is - I can recommend these highly to those struggling with games on the Playstation 2 and Gamecube. I must contact Datel and thank them...

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