Adapted Controller

There are now many types of controller and methods of adapting controllers to help disabled gamers. I have a Mad Catz Xbox controller which I bought a few years ago after I had a home visit from the charity Special Effect. Afterwards, we concluded that it was a good option because you could swap the analogue sticks around to different locations and it was compatible with pc as well. In addition to the controller, I have two micro-switches attached to be able to use the trigger buttons which work using various pieces of software like cronusmax. Micro-switches and buttons are very useful for improving your gaming experience as they can be placed within easy reach so give you a more comfortable button layout. With Duchenne, it becomes too difficult to properly hold a controller, so anywhere a button can be adjusted or replaced with something easier to press makes your response quicker and your game better. How the controller is positioned is also a factor in adaptations. I use a clamp and a flexible arm to attach the controller to my wheelchair in a comfortable and easy to reach place just in front of my hands. Below is a picture of me set up with the controller.

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Furthermore, I am looking forward to trying out the new adaptive controller from Microsoft to see how useful it could be. It definitely looks like it has great potential to make gaming easier by creating a sort of hub for all the different controller inputs like buttons and triggers. It is good to see disabled gamers being considered and catered to more and more with new technology by companies and developers. There are now many emulators, button mappers and controller types to choose from to help disabled gamers, which is a very positive thing. Without these options, I would not be able to enjoy many of the games I love, and by providing these methods, game developers are improving the inclusiveness of gaming.

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VoiceAttack software

Where has this been all my life? I recently stumbled across this piece of software while looking for a new mouse. I went onto a website and saw someone using VoiceAttack to help them play some games, so I thought I’d give it a go myself. I would definitely recommend buying it as it is easy to use, requires very little training, and cost less than £10. VoiceAttack allows you to use voice and other actions to input commands. Using a microphone, for example, you can create a voice command to press a button or perform an action in game. I have used other similar software before for my console but not to play pc games, and VoiceAttack is a really great way to enhance your gaming experience. So far I have only played one game (Star Wars Battlefront 2) with VoiceAttack enabled, but it made it so much more fun. Rather than just using mouse clicks to move and fire, which is my normal method, I can use powerups, crouch and jump just by saying ‘jump’ or ‘aim’ for example. You can also create a number of profiles, which can be tailored for each game you play and changed very easily.

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Gaming

Gaming is something that I very much enjoy doing, both on pc and console. A lot of games are not the most user friendly for people with Duchenne given the lack of strength in our arms and hands, but increasingly disabled gamers are being considered by developers. There are now lots of other ways to improve your experience, such as with micro switches, adapted controllers, and voice commands, a number of which I have only just learned about. In this section I want to talk about games I like and the various methods to improve gaming experiences for disabled people.