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Eurogamer 2010 Special Report: The “Able” Gamer

by HardlyDan

SpecialEffect is a UK based charity committed to helping people with disabilities to enjoy computer games. For these people, the majority of video games are too quick or difficult to play. SpecialEffect helps them and their caretakers decide which games they can play and how to adapt the ones they normally could not.

By using different control devices, games can be adapted to allow people with a variety of disabilities to play games.

The above controller has four switches under each large button, making them act like two giant D-pads and is being used with an Xbox 360 to play Forza. The blue button is used in this case for acceleration and breaking and the yellow button for steering. It can be used on any system and each of the eight switches can be mapped to any button on the controller. It allows people without the fine motor controls needed for modern gamepads to play a variety of games and can be used with feet or other body parts.

Tens of thousands of people each year suffer a sudden injury or illness that leaves them completely paralyzed. This system works by tracking the position of the user’s retinas and can be assigned to control a mouse pointer (just look at what you want, then blink to select) or any game that can be played with a mouse. A similar technique is used for the Head Mouse system which consists of an IR camera and a small reflective sticker place on the forehead.

Lastly there is the QuasiCon Axis 1P controller with fully analogue sticks and buttons. It has been designed for people with fine motor disorders and works with most systems including PS3, Wii and Xbox 360. These are so good that I am tempted to get one myself.

Do you know of a gamer who would benefit from any of these products? I suggest pointing them towards www.specialeffect.org.uk and www.quasimoto.com, as they seem to be nearing the forefront of making gaming accessible to everyone.

About Hardlydan

PC gamer, hermit and sometimes surfer living in North Devon, UK. Can normally be found on steam or in the pub.

One comment on “Eurogamer 2010 Special Report: The “Able” Gamer

  1. Thank you so much for posting this Dan. Having been pretty disabled myself, I always think about the new stuff coming out and how disabled people won’t be able to participate at all. This is great! šŸ™‚

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