Accessible gaming- these paralyzed gamers won’t quit!

In the world of spinal cord injuries, paraplegics are lucky ones when it comes to gaming – other than the Wii Fit and the sadly inaccessible Kinect (what was Microsoft thinking?), they got it good. But for those with no finger dexterity or no arm movement, creative solutions and cutting-edge gaming technology have come to the rescue for successful accessible gaming.

Crystal, a C6-7 quad, is a huge gamer. She loves the Wii and old-school arcade games and didn’t buy anything too spendy to help. Instead, she uses a hair-tie to keep the Wiimote in her hand (I do this too!) and uses the tilt on her chair (she tilts in way back) to keep her balance – so she can hold both the Wiimote and Nunchuck. Smart and creative accessible gaming!

She’s a fan of Tiger Woods ‘08 because it doesn’t require too many buttons to be pressed simultaneously to play (the later Tiger Woods games for the Wii are not quad friendly). She also plays Pac-Man and other arcade games using a joystick, which she puts between her legs, and then ties her legs together with a scarf to keep the joystick in place. Watch her 14 min video

The second video shows a high-quad from the UK playing a soccer game and Half Life 2 on a GimpGear’s Versatility Accessible Game Controller, a mouth-controller made for accessible gaming. Watch as he’s able to control all aspects of the game using the tiny joysticks with his mouth and chin. Amazing to watch. Check it out

And our third video comes from one of the biggest quadriplegic gamers on the planet, Chuck Bittner, a C5-6 quad from New Hampshire known as the “face gamer.” Chuck plays with his mouth by bringing the controllers up to his face. He also runs the web site called AskaCapper.com, where he has dozens of videos showing how he plays, with great commentary (love his voice!). Watch one of his best videos

He started a petition a couple of years ago too, in an unprecedented push to get the gaming industry to support accessible gaming and make it easier to change the button controls on each game (so they’re easier to play; many games are still impossible to play). Watch his video asking for people to sign the petition. He’s also a comedian, and has become a sort of icon in the gaming community. Wired even did a feature on him, calling him “one of the most prominent advocates in accessible gaming.”

And our last video will even help paras play better. The Wii Fit may have been intended for “walkies,” but not anymore. A crafty paraplegic from Vancouver, British Columbia has created an accessible Wii Fit board for his wheelchair (and he sells them too). Watch it in action here

Whether you like to game in the winter when there’s nothing better to do, or you’re a can’t-stop gamer all year round, accessible gaming is not only possible, but is something each and everyone of us can make even better with our own ingenuity.

Which systems do you play on? Have any adaptation tips for accessible gaming?

Watch the videos!

Crystal (C6-7) quad shows her accessible gaming Wii set-up

A C2 quad’s accessible gaming tips using mouth controllers to play Half Life 2

Chuck asks you to sign his game controller petition for accessible gaming

Chuck’s accessible gaming tips: playing with his face (Modern Warefare 2)

A Canadian paraplegic’s creative tip for accessible gaming using his accessible Wii Fit board

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