Nintendo Wii and Eye Tracker



Don't get too excited - this won't work on the likes of Wii Sports. It does show massive potential though if 3rd parties were allowed to adapt more mainstream games.

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SEGA House of the Dead - Eye Tracker Accessible

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One-Switch FPS Design Challenge - Results in

GameCareerGuide's Game Design Challenge: One Button - Image of a game button marked with the letters F.P.S. - for First Person Shooter.Results are in for the one-button game design challenge to come up with an original and succinctly put First Person Shooter. Click the picture above to read more.

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Happy 30th Space Invaders

Image of Space Invaders in Colour - on a 1979 Taito Cocktail machine. Space Invaders was released 30 years ago this month in Japan, and changed the world a little bit for ever. 1up.com have posted a "Ten Things Everyone Should Know About Space Invaders" in tribute.

By the way, using 4Noah and MAME, it's possible to play a perfect version of Space Invaders on your PC using one-switch. With MAME cheats installed you can switch off the aliens shooting at you, and set your base to fire automatically. It changes the game, but it's still a lot of fun, and accessible for some where before it wasn't.

Via: Vintage Computing and Gaming

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Music Catch

Abstract colourful shapes collecting game - Music CatchMusic Catch is a mellow shape collecting game that should work really well for many head-tracker gamers and I would hope some eye-tracker gamers too. Avoid the red shapes but pick up as many of the other colours as you can.

If the display window is too small for you, please get in touch, as I could pretty easily host a fuller screen version at OneSwitch if there's any demand.

Via: JayIsGames

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Sunny Day Sky

Image of a cartoon bear with an umbrella, jumping on and over cartoon buses and cars. Another one-switch playable game is Ferry Halim's web-game "Sunny Day Sky". Cute and highly accessible for gamers with pretty good timing skills. Use the left-mouse button to open and close your umbrella to fly over and land safely on the top of passing busses and cars. Sweet.

Via:
Game Guardian

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A Game for Helen - Special Effect

Image of ten year old girl Helen, smiling warmly. Text reads: A Game for Helen - Help us create a very special computer games suite for the young people of Helen and Douglas House.Last Friday Special Effect launched themselves formally in Oxfordshire. Here past, present and future projects were demonstrated and explained to the gathered crowd. Likely future UK Prime Minister, David Cameron was there as a speaker. He mentioned that after being shown around a nuclear submarine packed full of technology the day before, it was great to see technology that's designed for enriching people's lives, rather than for blowing them up. He also made mention of his 6 year old son who has Cerebral Palsy, and pledged to open any doors he could for the charity.

Have a good look around their newly spruced web-site to learn more of their projects. I'm especially excited to be involved with the "Game for Helen" project. And again, visit their Facebook page to see photos of the recent Accessible Gaming Roadshows.

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Running Man

Image of a Green and White 'Running Man' sign. I've been training for a couple of months for the London Marathon 2009 (if I get through the ballot). This follows many years of sitting comfortably on my back-side scoffing food and drink and doing very little in the way of exercise. Just managed a few miles round the back roads of Billericay. Caught my reflection when I got back. Beetroot-Head sprang to mind...

Anyway - thought I'd share a link to "Gmaps Pedometer" which allows you to double-click points on Google Maps images to plot the length of a journey. 26 miles for a marathon seems a very long way off!

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The Rat Race

Image of a black and white game - with a stick man standing - whilst a timer marks the passage of time. "Life Is A Race" is a somewhat depressing one button game. Tap your switch (set to left-mouse button) as fast as you can to get through the stages of one man's life from cradle to grave. It's a bit like the ancient Atari game "Drag Race" and might be quite fun for some. To make life really easy - use the rapid fire option within "JoyToKey" if you can.

Via: IndieGames.com

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Special Effect Roadshow

Image of a man using a large AbleNet green button to make a car go in BurnOut Paradise on the Xbox 360. Off screen he is assisted by someone steering using a conventional controller.The Special Effect Accessible Gaming Roadshow has been a great success in Oxfordshire. I recently met up with some of the volunteers running these events and chatted about what worked and what didn't at the show. Here's a snippet of thoughts...

Nintendo Wii: The Wii and Wii Sports has been very popular. However, many players found the game they most wanted to play, Bowling, very difficult. In this game you have to re-enact a bowling action whilst holding a finger trigger down. At the end of your motion you have to let go of the trigger just at the right time. Many of the learning disabled gamers there found it really tricky to get this timing spot on. Potential solution? Give an option to remove the necessity of letting go of the trigger. When you stop your swing - you automatically let go of the ball.

Super Monkey Ball 2/Deluxe Mini-games: For the gamers unable to hold a Wii remote (of which there are many) a switch accessible alternative was provided. Bowling could be played with a single button thanks to an aim that constantly swang left and right. Unfortunately unless you chose to be "Baby" which of course many people were reluctant to be - the auto-aim swept at a frustratingly fast rate. In the game there is a facility to then add spin to the ball, but for those unable to activate this the game proved to be too difficult with balls constantly going out of bounds. Potential solution? Offer a gutter bumpers option, so that the ball could not go out of bounds, just as with the real game.

Pool proved to work really well, where an assistant would help the player aim up shots, according to the players wishes. The gamer could then tap their switch to choose the power and play their shots. For gamers unable to say 100% where they wanted to aim for - a helper could constantly slowly adjust the angle of the aim. When the player hits their switch - that's their choice.

Xbox 360 Burnout Paradise. Not as popular as the EyeToy nor the Wii but much enjoyed by those playing it. The split controls worked well to support team play. The digital steering proved a little dificult for some as it's hard to make small adjustments. Potential solution? Hardware to offer a way to vary the strength of maximum strength steering.

EyeToy Play went down a treat, with many thanks to the Sandbox "Play Room" on the original EyePlay game. There was no pressure here, with all the time in the world to experiment and have fun.

Just want to close in saying how impressed I've been with the Special Effect organisation and volunteers. Great to have linked up with such enthusiastic people who genuinely are making a difference. And if you want to see how much accessible gaming is enjoyed, then take a look at Special Effect's Facebook gallery here.

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Wobble Bob

Image of one-switch game Wobble Bob. A cartoon platform game featuring a wobbling purple blob with googly eyes. Wobble Bob by Lukasz Lesicki won a recent one-button competition for the Dobbs Challenge. It's a collect-em-up platform game. Wobble Bob wobbles back and forth continuously. Depending on when you press the SPACE bar will decide which way he'll jump.

It's a good idea requiring a lot of skill to complete - but quite forgiving too (large jumps don't kill you). I was however disappointed to see a completely unnecessary mouse reliant menu system. I wish one-button game developers could see how disabling this is for gamers using a single button alone to play. I want one-button to mean one-button access for everything.


Via: OddBob

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Switch Accessible Scissors

Image of switch adapted scissors.
Had a recent request on where to find switch accessible battery powered scissors in the UK. These are used with one person holding and guiding the scissors whilst another presses their switch to stop/start the chomping. This is what I found...

Started with a nice blog post on switch adapted scissors I remembered at TLWMSN blog.

Found some switch adapted scissors in the USA and Australia, such as these from Enabling Devices. However these are marked as not RoSH compliant and not for sale in Europe. AbleNet have a good video showing how a velcro strap and battery switch breaker can make a pair of battery scissors more accessible.

Basically, the scissors and velcroed to be on all the time, and the battery breaker controls on/off power. When you fit a switch breaker, you may need to nibble away a small hole to fit the lead through from the battery compartment. This isn't as good as fully switch adapting the unit with a socket mounted in the scissors, but it's a lot easier to do.

You can get unadapted electric scissors / power scissors in the UK from a few places it seems. eBay is an obvious place but Iosss.com seems the cheapest.

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Peggle and Bejewelled

Image of the game Peggle - a little like a Bagatelle or Pachinko machine.
A couple of nice head-tracker compatible games, Peggle and Bejewelled, have come to my attention recently. Both games can be played at your leisure and both can also be played in a team with one player aiming and a second player activating the a left click to select (using a single switch). Peggle features a colour-blind fix option too which is more than nice.

Via: IGDA GASIG Blog

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Project Ice Cube

Project Icecube is a proper one-switch game, albeit one that requires a high level of skill to play well. Everything is controlled using the SPACE BAR:

Jump: press and/or hold space and let go (jump = on let go)
Climb Ladder: press space and let go (when over/under a ladder)
Change Direction on ladder: press space and let go (when on a ladder)
Go Through Door: hold space when next to door
Water Seeds: hold space when next to seeds

Via: Richard Van Tol of AudioGames

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Tower Bloxx

Cartoon Image of a number of teetering tower blocks with cartoon people flying into them using umberellas.
Tower Bloxx is not a pure one-switch game - but once a "Quick Game" is clicked on it's (mostly) just SPACE or left mouse click to drop blocks. Quite a lot of skill is needed with this timing based tower building game, but if you do get the knack of it - it's addictive fun.

There is a commercial 3D version from Digital Chocolate, Tower Bloxx Deluxe, but I found this crashed badly on my laptop once I'd paid for it and presently won't work at all. Meanwhile - there's an alternative version of Tower Bloxx over at DiggyGames.com that is worth a play.

Via: Hybrid Arcade

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Pacman Pachinko

Image of Pacman Pachinko front screen - large yellow ball with cartoon eyes surrounded by smaller balls with eyes and dollar signs.Pacman Pachinko is not a true one-switch game - but can be played with help with just the SPACE BAR. It's a gambling game a little like Pachinko (balls drop down and hit pegs) and a bit like Pacman (you have to eat all the dots and avoid the ghosts). The idea is to build up as much cash as possible then quit.

What I like about this is that although it's hard to complete some of the levels - you can have fun playing at your leisure no matter what your ability. So on one hand - a nice little cause and effect activity - and on the other - a challenging game. I've passed a message onto the programmer in the hope that he'll consider a true one-button version. Download here.

Via: Eelke Folmer

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1984 - Atari Mindlink

Atari Mindlink. Image of a Karate Kid looking gamer playing an Atari VCS game of Mind Breakout - using muscles in his forehead.
In 1984 Atari were working on perhaps the first ever attempt at a commercial video game head-controller: The Mindlink. Left and Right movements could be controlled (to a degree) using left and right eye-brow muscles, with three games being linked to this device: Bionic Breakthrough, Mindmaze and Telepathy.

Atari found themselves ahead of their time, and ahead of available technology. Gamers complained of head-aches as they strained to play the games with any accuracy, leading to the technology being ditched.

YouTube Videos: MindLink, Telepathy.

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i-Limb Bionic Hand

Logo for Touch Bionics - with strap line 'Get a Grip on Functionality.
i-Limb is a very impressive bionic hand that has just won the UK's leading engineering innovation of the year. How many years before people with perfectly working hands start to want their own upgraded bionic versions I wonder...

Via: Linkbunnies.org

Wheelchair Revolution

Design a one-button first-person shooter game

GameCareerGuide's Game Design Challenge: One Button - Image of a game button marked with the letters F.P.S. - for First Person Shooter."The Challenge: Design a one-button first-person shooter game.

Assignment Details: This design challenge comes from Brandon Sheffield of Game Developer magazine and Gamasutra.com, and his assignment details are extremely minimal.

Design a one-button FPS game.

Describe
the game idea
the game mechanic
the platform
the target audience
why your game will be addictively fun.

That's it.

Succinct ideas will be highly favoured! Can you describe all this in only a few sentences?

Remember, the businessmen and women in the game industry don't want to read a hundred-page design document.

Get to the point. Sheffield will weigh in on the results. (Hint: Click here to find out what kinds of themes and styles he might be into.)

To Submit: The forum is the place to go to ask questions, discuss ideas, and kvetch about this particular challenge. Send your answers to gamecareerguide@gmail.com with the subject line "Design Challenge: One Button."

Entries must be submitted by June 18, 2008. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

Please try to keep your answers to 500 words or fewer -- and remember that part of this particular challenge is delivering a great idea succinctly. "

The responses for this challenge will appear the week of June 23, 2008. "

Via: Robert

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One Handed Game Controllers Update

ASCII Grip V2 one hand Playstation controller. Also known as a SAMMY Grip V2.Just made a few updates to the Accessible Gaming Shop One Handed Controllers page. Almost everything is back in stock my end, with a small update to the eDimesional Access Controller link. I may even be getting a small batch of the elusive DragonPlus RPG controllers in.

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Music Search

Music Search - image of a Space Echo tape effects unit.
There are lots of places to discover music you might like, especially tracks you'll never have heard before. Building mixes is fairly easy using the likes of Spotify which can then be Paused/Played or skipped using a single switch.

8tracks.com - Create music mixes up to about 30 minutes.
Last.FM - Very simple search site - with a huge range to choose from.
MySpace Music - Many bands and artists have some free tracks to listen to.
Sound Cloud - Much non-commercial music.
Spotify - Perhaps the best of all, but with limited access around the world.
The Hype Machine - Lots of unusual and rare tracks.
We7 - Fair range of streaming music.
YouTube - Staggeringly huge range of music videos to track down.

See also the OneSwitch.org.uk Switch Accessible Music area for more switch music ideas and this great Free Music for Videos post [updated June 2015].

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Um Jammer Lammy - One Switch Guitar Hero

With all this talk of Guitar Hero being made accessible for one handed gamers - you may wonder if there's anything for one-switch / one-button gamers. Well there is - and it's probably what inspired Guitar Hero in the first place: Playstation One and PS2 game "Um Jammer Lammy".

It's the follow up to the fun and funny PaRappa the Rapper - but this time with an Easy option that allows the game to be played with a single button. You have to tap out guitar licks and riffs in time to an on-screen display (requiring pretty accurate timing it must be said). The aim is to get through a number of songs, to progress through a wacky surreal story. Huge fun if you can play it fairly well. Could also be played in a team too on harder levels (with a chance to mess about with virtual effects pedals such as a fuzz box and over-drive). Click the picture above for a short YouTube video clip.

Anything free for PCs? Chuck Rock Dance.

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Wii Hacks - One Handed Nunchuk D.I.Y. Guide

Hacking into the electronics of Wii controllers seems to be a very popular thing to do. Ryan Culy made this very nice adaptation for a disabled friend:

"This custom Wii nunchuk was something that I designed for a good friend. His left arm only extends a little below the elbow, yet he has always been able to use videogame controllers with little difficulty.Unfortunately, most games for the Wii require the use of the nunchuk attachment, and holding two separate pieces for motion controls was not an option for him. Although my redesign for the nunchuk is intended to be used at the elbow with the joystick resting on a knee, it is simple enough that it could be used on a foot as well. The two buttons from the nunchuk were moved to the side of the Wii-remote where they can be easily pressed with the middle and index fingers".

More fantastic Wii Hacks at Johny Chung Lee - including the possibility of head-tracker control over Wii games.

Via: BenHeck.com and Wiimote Hack

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eDimensional Access Controller - On Sale Now

Image of eDimensional's Wireless Access Controller for one handed play of PS2, PS3 and PC "First announced back in October of last year, the Access Game Controller designed by technical wizard Ben Heckendorn for disabled gamers is finally ready for sale via eDimensional's website. The device, listed for use with the PlayStation 2, PS3, and PC, allows one-handed gamers modify the controller as they see fit via a series of circular modules containing face buttons, shoulder buttons, analog sticks and a d-pad.

The controller can be preordered right now for £70.85 delivered (about $140), with a shipping target of 8-10 weeks. A portion of all proceeds goes towards Children’s Hospital and Veterans Affairs Medical Centers."

Great work! More on one handed controllers at the Accessible Gaming Shop.


Via: Kotaku

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6 Differences - Head Tracker Game

Cropped image from the game 6 Differeces. A picture of a half-man/half-stag wearing a suit, sitting neatly in a dirty tube train.
6 Differences is the follow up to the beautifully animated 5 Differences - a trippy Spot the Difference game. The theme feels a little like that of a David Lynch film being slightly warped, but suitable for most. I like it very much.

Accessibility wise - it's head-tracker and eye tracker compatible - although you'll need accurate clicking skills. The original game window used at CrazyMonkeyGames.com is a bit small I found. Click on the picture above to play a full screen version (press "F11" on a PC to improve things further).

Via: IndieGames

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ZAC Browser - Aimed at Autistic Kids

ZAC Browser - banner image with an Angel FishZac Browser is a closed off section of the internet aimed at Autistic Kids. It features an easy to use browser with a selection of activities such as games (think Sesame Street from the 90's onwards for content), music, video clips and stories.

One problem for me was that the site seems to have band-width issues - so when downloads are slow - I can see kids getting click happy and annoyed that it's not doing what it should. A lack of a progress bar / download bar left me thinking that the games area was empty for quite a while too. Maybe when things quieten down for them things will run much smoother.

This all said - it's a very fine effort - that may just suit a number of head-tracker and eye-tracker using kids very well indeed.

Via: Leandro and TLWMSN Blog

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D.I.Y. Rock Band Accessibility Modification

Image of the Sex Pistols - maybe not the most accessible band!
"Kinetic.com have posted a D.I.Y. modification guide for Rock Band for people who can't use their legs on the drum set kick stand. Instead, the mod adds a button to the drum stick to replace the need to use one's legs on the kick stand."

Via: Able-Gamers and Reid Kimball

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