Switch Accessible Xbox 360 at Special Effect

Switch Accessible Xbox 360 - Part of the Accessible Gaming Gear set-up for the Special Effect Accessible Gaming Roadshow.Things have been a bit quiet blogging wise whilst I've finished up some work for Special Effect. It's been fun building four accessible gaming set-ups, and training a number of volunteers. My daughter and I are a little sad to see the gear go though...

I'll post more after I've updated the Special Effect web-site. Meanwhile - nice to get a little mention at Xboxer.tv.

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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

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mono8 - monochrome 1key explorer. Mono8 is a "1 key explorer" retro themed game. You control a cute little creature in a dark world. What's the aim? Not sure really - none the less, it's quite a diverting little game. It is tough though!

Link with thanks to: OddBob


One Switch "Shoot Zonez"

EyeToy.com Shoot Zonez one switch games.
EyeToy.com have five one-switch playable target games at their "Play Sports - Shoot Zonez" on-line gaming area. It's a bit empty now, but if you can organise to play the game at the same time as some of your friends whilst connected to the internet - you can play some really competitive games.

The games all need mouse control to navigate the menus unfortunately. What have you got though? Ice hockey and football penalty shoot outs, basketball a fair-ground target game and a daft cake throwing competition. You can slow down the pointer using CPU Killer, but this doesn't slow down the 20 second "easy" count down within which you have to complete your go.

Of note, the UK version seems to be aimed at multple players or just for practice, whilst the Australian version seems to be a one player game only.

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The Drugs Don't Work

Unspeakably sad day yesterday... A good place though.

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 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...


The Nun who Nurtured Ska and Reggae

Sister Marie Ignatius Davies
There's a great BBC radio recording at BBCCaribbean.com about the remarkable Sister Marie Ignatius Davies and her work at the Alpha Boys School in Kingston, Jamaica for homeless and "wayward" boys.

This wonderful woman showed some of these troubled kids a better way. This included running a sound system for weekend dance nights and even jumping in the ring with kids twice her size to teach them some discipline through boxing. She brought a love of music to many of the kids, some of whom went on to become important exponents in the Ska and Reggae explosion in the 60's and 70's. Without Sister Ignatius it seems that I'd be without my favourite band The Specials - so here's my tiny tribute to her.

link via: Ben Schogler




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