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Adaptive Gaming Resources

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.

Gaming Controllers

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.
  • Blue Tip Gaming- 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.
  • 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.
  • Cross Console Gaming Devices- These USB devices allow you to use your favorite adaptive controller on other gaming systems including PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox360, Playstation TV, PC and Wii. 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. Examples include the CronusMAX PLUS, Titan One/Two, and Brook Super Converters.
  • 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.
  • Mayflash Arcade Sticks - Compatible with PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC and Android. This product's larger buttons and joystick may be easier to access if you have limited dexterity. Note: This controller only provides users with the left joystick function, and not the right.
  • 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 site features a large user forum as well as downloadable controller profiles for specific games.
  • RJ Cooper & Associates - Multiple options for custom controllers which include button location, size, larger joysticks and mounts.
  • VoiceAttack - Voice-activated control for PC games and with voice commands that the user creates.
  • Xbox Adaptive Controller - The first adaptive controller designed and manufactured at large-scale by a leading technology company, the Xbox Adaptive Controller allows gamers with limited mobility to play their favorite games on Xbox One and Windows 10. Players connect external devices such as switches, buttons, mounts, and joysticks to create a custom controller that meets their needs. The controller can also be customized using Button Mapping and Copilot features using the Xbox Accessories App. Compatible switches and USB devices can be found on the Xbox website. This controller was developed with input from a variety of adaptive gaming organizations, including therapists at Craig.

Game Reviews, News, Organizations, and User Forums

As more options become available to players with disability, the Internet has become a clearing house 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.
  • Accessibility and Kinect for Xbox One and Xbox 360 - Features games that work better from wheelchair level.
  • AccessibleGamer - Gaming for people with disabilities. Also provides reviews of games and equipment.
  • DAGER System - Source for accessibility reviews and video games.
  • Disabled Gamers - Reddit message board for posting links and questions about game accessibility.
  • 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.
  • GameFly - Great tool for researching controller configurations and trying games before you buy them.
  • International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Game Access SIG - Wants to make video games playable for everyone, especially gamers with disabilities.
  • OneSwitch - UK-based resource of fun ideas and assistive technology aimed at moderate to severely-disabled individuals.
  • SpecialEffect - UK-based charity that promotes accessible gaming. They have a helpful YouTube channel with videos and examples of adaptive controllers.
  • Warfighter Engaged- Nonprofit 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.

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