Adaptive Gaming Resources
Share Your Story! Are you an adaptive gamer? Would you be willing to share your setup or story with us? If so, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig Hospital patients are among the two-thirds of Americans who play video games. Yet because of their injuries, many of our patients have difficulty operating their gaming controllers. The Tech Lab works with them to find gaming options and equipment that best meet their interest and abilities. Our patients not only have fun, they also benefit from the therapeutic aspects of gaming, such as planning, organizing, time management and problem solving.
The key to accessing and enjoying the world of gaming is through the controller. In the past, resourceful gamers had to adapt these devices; today, more manufacturers and organizations are taking the lead.
- Accessible Gaming Shop - Features OneSwitch products, various controllers including a one handed gaming controller as well as information and links to others dealing in accessible gaming. Available for most gaming systems; access options include large switches, as well as eye, mouth or head control options.
- Ben Heck - Markets single-handed controllers and Xbox One and Xbox 360 controller monitors.
- Broadened Horizons - Broadened Horizons unique video game controllers allow anyone, regardless of ability or disability, to play competitively as an equal. Available for most gaming systems; access options include button style switches, sip ‘n puff switches and head control options.
- Dragon Gaming Speech Pack - Software sold by Dragon Naturally Speaking that works with Dragon Naturally Speaking to use your voice to play video games.
- Edimensional Compatibility - Access Controller compatible with the Playstation 2, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC platforms (Controller is automatically compatible with the PS2 and PC). Allows total control of games with one hand.
- Evil Controllers - Modified and customized controllers for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4. Some can be used by one hand or are switch-activated. They include features such as auto-aim or rapid-fire.
- LP PAD Black - Fully functional wireless controller that is compatible with all popular Xbox 360 games. Features a large game pad on a flat surface which provides easy access for the user. A second joystick can be used with the chin.
- One Switch - UK-based resource of fun ideas and assistive technology aimed at moderate to severely-disabled individuals.
- QuadJoy Joystick - Software upgrade allows the unit to function as a Microsoft 16 button X-Y-axis joystick. The 12 puff and sip functions can be programmed uniquely when in joystick mode. Users can purchase additional software to improve their ability to use the Quadjoy for PC gaming.
- Quadstick: this mouth-operated game controller for quadriplegics is compatible with the PS3, Android and many PC games that use a joystick, mouse or keyboard. It can also be used as a mouse and can control other infrared devices. The Quadstick web site features a large user forum as well as downloadable controller profiles for specific games.
- Rowdy Monkeys- Ideal for gamers with extremely limited mobility such as C5 spinal cord injury. Available for Xbox 360, Wii and PS3; modified controllers with larger buttons and adapted joysticks.
- R.J. Cooper - Multiple options for custom controllers which include button location, size, larger joysticks and mounts.
- Say 2 Play - Enables voice control for the world’s most popular PC games.
- Titan-One - This unit’s USB device allows you to use your favorite adaptive controller on other gaming systems including PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox360, Playstation TV and the PC. You may need additional equipment for wireless use. Comes with Gtuner Pro software so you can create macros and remap any button or joystick on your controller.
- Voice Attack - Used with Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software, the Gaming Speech Pack instantly executes your desired action with amazing recognition accuracy.
Game Reviews, News, Organizations, and User Forums
As more options become available to players with disability, the Internet has become a clearinghouse for information, tips and reviews on how to make the most from your gaming experience. Here are just a few of the resources available
- Ablegamers- provides the largest database of mainstream videogame titles, complete with reviews focused exclusively on the accessibility of a given title.
- Accessible Gamer - gaming site for people with disabilities. Also provides reviews of games and equipment.
- Accessibility and Kinect for Xbox - features games that work better from wheelchair level. Click HERE for XBox One; HERE for Xbox 360.
- D.A.G.E.R. System - Source for accessibility reviews and video games.
- r/DisabledGamers – Reddit message board for posting links and questions about game accessibility.
- GameBase - is dedicated to helping people with disabilities play and enjoy video games. (They were using this YouTube channel for updated information. Although it's no longer being updated, it still has a lot of good information.)
- GameFly - Great tool for researching controller configurations and trying games before you buy them.
- Game Accessibility - aims to inform disabled gamers about the availability of accessible games, and acts as an academic resource for developers, publishers and researchers to stimulate accessibility in games.
- Game Forward - launched in 2008 as a blog focusing on Game Accessibility by an avid gamer with Cerebral Palsy, this site has expanded to include coverage of Serious Games, Health & Fitness Games, Educational and Training Games, and Virtual Worlds.
- International Game Developer’s Association - wants to make video games playable for everyone, especially gamers with disabilities.
- Special Effect - UK-based charity that promotes accessible gaming. They have a helpful YouTube channel with videos and examples of adaptive controllers.
- Warfighter Engaged- Non-profit organization devoted to improving the lives of severely wounded veterans through personally adapted devices. They modify video game and RC vehicle controllers and their support page includes other resources related to adaptive gaming.
Using Online Games for Treatment/Therapy
The Tech Lab also helps patients incorporate online gaming as part of their therapy. There are hundreds of free games available that can be used to sharpen a variety of skills. After reviewing each patient’s functional abilities, our therapists typically trial a couple of games, apps or switches to determine if we can help address his or her therapy goals.Online games can be a task-oriented and patient-focused intervention. We provide our patients additional time as well as another activity and environment to work on their therapy goals.
Here are a few of our favorite games:
- Plants vs Zombies - Click on the suns to gain credit to buy different types of plants. Drag and plant them on the grass to protect your house from the zombies. More zombies, areas to protect, and types of plants as levels increase. Game ends if the zombies get in the house. This is a great game for working on visual scanning, divided attention, spatial relations, figure ground, problem solving and more.
- Mahjong Dimensions - Click on matching tiles to remove them from the game; tile must have two adjacent sides free. AARP has a (http://games.aarp.org/ ) great website with a lot of free online games. This is a great game for working on visual scanning, form constancy, speed of processing, spatial relations and more.
- Motor Race - Move race cars while playing against the computer. It tells you how many spaces and where that number of spaces would be. ToyTheater.com- One of the things we like about this site is the screen is simple with few advertisements to clutter the screen and distract users. This is a great game for working on spatial relations, visual motor coordination, problem solving and more.
- Super Hyper Spider Typer - Type the letters seen on the iguanas to make them disappear before one of them reaches the spider. Easy, medium and hard levels. You have three lives. This is a great game for working on visual scanning, speed of processing, object identification, visual motor coordination and more.
- Wordshake - Click on the letters to create a word then click submit. Boggle style game but letters do not have to be adjacent. This is a great game for working on visual scanning, memory, speed of processing and more.
- Werebox - Click on the box to turn it into a ball and click on the ball to turn it back into a box. The goal is to knock the red boxes off while keeping the blue boxes on the screen. This is a great game for working on visual scanning, divided attention, spatial relations, sequencing, problem solving and more.
- Zuma - The frog in the middle shoots out balls of different colors. Put cursor where you want to shoot the ball to get three of each color in a row to disappear. The goal is to have all balls disappear before the ring reaches the skull. Increased difficulty with levels. You can't shoot through rows of balls. This is a great game for working on visual scanning, divided attention, speed of processing and more.
We have also worked with local universities to create carts with switches that control the arrow keys on a keyboard thus making arrow key games a whole body intervention.
A few of the games and sites we often use are:
- Shape Switcher - Move the player with arrow keys through different gates that change the players’ shape or color. Shape and color must match gate to be able to go through it. Goal is to make it through maze to the star. This is a great game for working on visual scanning, navigation, speed of processing, problem solving and more.
- Scramball - Use arrow keys to navigate a moving ball through the maze, avoiding black holes and getting necessary keys to unlock parts of the maze. Increasing difficulty with each level. This is a great game for working on sequencing, spatial relations, speed of processing, problem solving and more.
- Montris - Use L/R arrow keys to move; Up arrow to rotate clockwise and Down arrow to drop. Goal is to fill up entire row to make them disappear. This is a great game for working on visual manipulation, form constancy, spatial relations, speed of processing, problem solving and more.
LOOKING FOR MORE?
- EyeCanLearn - Has activities to exercise your visual information process skills: perception, tracking, focusing, and eye teaming.
There are lots of web sites available to exercise your brain. You can conduct an online search for brain training games or try out one of these:
Adaptive Gamer Videos
Sometimes the best way to understand adaptive gaming is to see how others are doing it. See the media gallery below for a few videos of people using adaptive ways to play video games.
* The Tech Lab offers these resources for educational purposes and does not endorse any products, including those mentioned on this site. Many others are available. Please check online for additional products, manufacturers and user reviews.
We Learn From Our Patients, Too!
We were having trouble connecting with a young man recovering from a severe spine injury. Traditional therapies weren’t working. He was depressed, didn’t talk to other patients and seldom came out of his room. I learned the thing he missed the most in life was playing video games. We set up his bed, television and wheelchair so he could access his computer. Soon he was teaching me how to play World of Warcraft. His spirits soared and he began hosting competitions with other patients, having fun, doing what he loved. We have since started an adapted gaming program in the Tech Lab and have received grants for more equipment and software. Today, everyone at Craig Hospital can benefit from that patient’s singular passion in life. He literally changed all of our lives.
Erin Mustin-Firsch, MS, OTRL
Tech Lab Specialist