The Blog Carnival

Image of a big-wheel at a fun fair. Patrick Black has taken on the baton of the Blog Carnival which brings together various bloggers who wish to share knowledge on Assistive Technology for all. Should be live some time today. Image via a Flickr funfair album.

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Handheld Audiogame: Bandai Mousou Controller

Image of a Japanese advert, with a man with his eyes shut, playing on a handheld mini-joypad, known as a Mousou-controller or Moucon-controller. GameSetWatch recently posted about the Mousou or Moucon range of mini handheld video games, with the twist being that you have no screen. You have to play by sound and feel alone. in short, they're hand-held audio-games.

There are three games at present being two arcade classics (Street Fighter II and Xevious) and a baseball game that I've never seen before. Fascinating idea. See more over at Bandai's YouTube channel.

Update: See Javier Mairena's excellent post over at Videojeugos Accessibles for a detailed break-down of the games. Use Google Translate tools to view in English.

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C-SID: games Console Switch Interface Deluxe



Was chuffed to see my C-SID controller get the SpecialEffect video treatment at their fantastic Gamebase. There's been a small update to the controller since I first released it in 2007 in that it now comes as standard with adapters to suit PSone, PS2, PS3 and PC USB and also with an added SELECT button rather than just a socket for SELECT.

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Dropzone

Image of RAF game Dropzone. Image of a plane about to drop cargo on a painted red white and blue target. This is a first. My Mum sent me a one-switch(ish) game, called Dropzone, from the RAF. It's an on-line hit the target game, and needs very fast reactions. The menu is mouse based only unfortunately, but with help there are three one-switch playable games. I like the Land Rover drop game where you have to take into account the wind direction as they flop down to earth suspended by parachutes. Worth a peek. Thanks Mum!

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Dog Days are Over



Less mangled version of Florence + The Machine's Dog Days are Over can be found on YouTube.

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Switch Adapted Camera D.I.Y. Guide

Image of a Switch adapted VTech Kidizoom digital camera with connected yellow accessibility switch.Thanks to Ryan Savage and his ever thoughtful Mum, I finally got around to adapting a digital camera. This was to be a 13th birthday present for him, so I was very pleased that the adaptation worked out. I was even more pleased to later receive an e-mail containing four of the 100 plus photos Ryan took in just two days. Cracking photos, Ryan, great stuff!

For anyone wishing to have a bash at adapting their own digital camera / video recorder, I have just posted a D.I.Y. switch accessible digital camera guide. For those who would like me to adapt a VTech Kidizoom for them, please get in touch.

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Circus (one-switch or head-tracker game)

Colourful retro graphics of a seesaw, mad haired circus performer, and three rows of balloons overhead. The prolific William Pilgrim has added to the switch accessible arcade classics with a remake of a 1977 game called Circus. Highly colourful with a catchy Vince Clarke-ish sound track this is a happy little game, even if you do quickly end up with a dead circus performer. Playable with a single-switch (you'll need fast reactions) or any mouse compatible controller (easier). I will ask William if he'll consider releasing a slowed down version when he gets time. UPDATE: That was fast! A slower version is now available. UPDATED UPDATE (29.01.10): A new improved version is now available with speed control for both mouse and switch input.

As well as working on Circus, William has released the latest revision of his 4Noah utility, labelled 4Noah 2010 Beta. It's a tidier utility and more versatile to boot. I've been using this and other 4Noah utilities to play emulated Playstation One games in a one-switch manner. Basically this means, lots more 3D one-switch games. Destruction Derby and Everybody's Golf 2 (with Easy Shot on) have been working out lovely. More soon...

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Gamma IV update



A very quick Gamma IV one-button game competition update: Indie Games posted a few video clips of up and coming games for March the 10th and you can follow more of the games revealed so far at TIG Forums.

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Accessible Gamebase

Image of the brand new Accessible Gamebase web-site from SpecialEffect. Bayoneta pictured. SpecialEffect launch their Accessible Gamebase today and it's a big deal. They are hoping to build an active community and are actively encouraging people to contribute. After a little familiarisation you'll hopefully find it really easy to learn all about good accessible games as well as how to add your own content.

Here's some of my personal highlights: Bayonetta review, some one-switch games I'd never seen before, some excellent videos and the switch gamers group. That just scratches the surface. Be really good to see you over there valued blog-reader.

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Skoogmusic at BETT

Image of a white cube with coloured domes (the Skoog) surrounded by various instruments, underneath which reads 'Music for Everyone'. Skoogmusic are presently down to be exhibiting at BETT which started yesterday and runs at the London Olympia until Saturday evening. BETT is a massive show that promotes education and training technology. I'm far too indie (aka skint) to exhibit at such a show, but I highly recommend you take time to see the Skoog in action if you can get there. It is a thing of wonder.

Update: Skoog featured on the BETT 2010 Review at Teacher's TV (7m54s – 9m33s)

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Nanogames Competition: One Month

Nanogames. Image of lots of the accessible games. You could win them all!It's competition time! Dennis Asher has very kindly donated 20 free activations of his brilliantly accessible Nanogames package for me to give away. These will work on most modern PCs, Macs and some Linux machines.

Each activation will bring 20 games that can be tweaked in a wide variety of ways to make them suit most players. Have a go on the free trial download if you'd like to see just how flexible these games really are. Bloomin' marvellous!

So what do you have to do to win? Simply e-mail me a brief line, and I'll put you in a virtual hat. Come Wednesday the 10th of February I'll make a draw using a switch lottery number picker (what else!) to pick 20 winners. That's it!

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The Ouch Podcast: January 2010



Lovely! I can now embed the Ouch! Podcast into my blog. You can too if you follow Damon Rose's technical tips here (it's a simple bit of cutting and pasting). This month's show...

"Adrian Mole author Sue Townsend has an impressively long list of disabilities and medical conditions. She joins Liz Carr and Rob Crossan in the studio to discuss why she wanted Moley to face death through serious illness in her latest book, his friend Nigel's blindness and her love of the Jeremy Kyle show amongst other things. Simon Minty gives his take on this month's news. Music is from The Fuzzbomb Band, a Brighton based group with learning difficulties and raw punk talent!".

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A One Switch First: Puz

William Pilgrim has been hard at work on a range of new one-switch bits and bobs. First up is 'Puz' a match the colours game with no time pressure element. Very interesting is the teaser video of a one-switch accessible level designer which I think is a first. Brilliant!

You can see more of William Pilgrim's experiments and work at his YouTube channel and at the 4Noah Laboratory.

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Leaf Blower Switch Bowling



Bowling using an AbleNet PowerLink unit for controlling mains powered devices, an accessibility switch and a garden leaf blower. Via CEE Jean Piaget's YouTube channel. Great idea!

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Blade Runner: Love Theme

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2000-09: Top 10 One Switch Games

Image of Aurikon a one-switch space shoot-em-up.I like one-switch games, you may have noticed. Satisfying the list-making-retentive in me, here's my personal top 10 one switch games of the last decade, 2000-09 (I'm trying not to say 'noughties'). Things have come such a long-way since 2000, but it wasn't until 2009 that the first ever mainstream game was released with a full one-switch mode. There's a long way to go, but in the meanwhile, let's go, SYNSO...

10. Mushihime-Tama (2005 - CAVE - JAMMA coin-op): The follow up to Uo Poko, Mushihime-Tama is a match-three colours puzzle game for one or two players. As with Uo Poko, there is a collaborative two-player mode. Unlike Uo Poko, there are end of level big-bosses, potty infant-school-choir music and a strange woman with huge boobs. Wierd and wonderful.

9. Canabalt (2009 - Adam Atomic and Danny B - FLASH web-game): Panic-parkour game. For players with very fast reactions.

8. Gimme Friction Baby (2007 - Wouter Visser - FLASH web-game): Brilliantly simple and well-thought out Puzzle Bobble inspired game in black and white. Quite the time killer. Alternative link.

7. Shenmue II Darts (2001 - SEGA - Dreamcast/Xbox/Xbox 360): Highly addictive one-button mini-game of darts. You'll need to get someone to play a fair-sized chunk of the main game in order to play darts, especially if you want to find all the different opponents, but it's worth it. "Yeah! Let's Darts Man!"

6. Mystic Mine (2009 - Koonsolo - Windows/Mac/Linux): Brilliant multi-player fun for up to six one-switch players. Superb accessibility features include speed adjustment over the entire game.

5. SY!NSO! (2009 - Bagfull of Wrong - PC/Xbox 360): Squid Yes! Not So Octopus! and follow up Squid Harder show how bonkers-hard games can be made accessible too. Not for all players (you do need really good eye-tracking skills), but it's so sweet to have options these days. Shoot-em-up joy. Uses a wonderful William Pilgrim 4Noah utility to add one-switch access.

4. The Way of the Empty Hand 2 (2009 - Grame's Free Games - PC): A one or two-player martial-arts retro styled game with beautiful music and sound effects. Featuring a unique way to tailor-design your fighting technique all within a one-switch framework. I just love this game, it feels right, is huge fun, and shows all develoeprs of 2D and 3D fighting games how they could add a one-switch mode too.

3. Star Trigon (2002,2009 - Namco - JAMMA/PC/iPhone/iPod/FLASH web-game): Originally a super-obscure Japanese arcade video game, 2008 and 2009 saw Star Trigon released on more main-stream formats. The PC download features an accessibility mode that makes the entire game accessible using a single-button. An absolute first from a mainstream publisher. More please!

2. Strange Attractors 2 (2008 - Ominous Development - PC): Award winning gravity controlling game like no other (well, exluding Strange Attractors 1). Imaginative and impressive audio/visually. Suited best to players with precise switch skills and patience.

1. Aurikon (2005 - Aggressive Game Designs - PC): On the run in space with one-switch controls. Fantastic accessibility options and huge fun. Would love to see this crossed with Namco's Star Blade and some psychotronics.

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Doctor Why And The Caves Of Death



The Doctor and his intrepid assistant Wendra are drawn to the icy world of Fridgia by a distress beacon. What awaits them inside "The Caves Of Death"? from Shoot Your Mouth Off productions.

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Missile Strike

Missile Strike from Graeme Singh sees another all time classic arcade game made massively more accessible. Based on Atari's cold-war nuclear nightmare, Missile Command, but with added one-switch, head-tracker and eye-tracker accessibility. Now many more people can delay global nuclear annihilation. Happy new year!

Added to the OneSwitch.org.uk library Switch Arcade Classics section.

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Rough Guide to Accessible Britain

The Rough Guide to Accessible Britain - Free for Blue Badge holders. "The popular Rough Guide to Accessible Britain can help you make the most of many wonderful venues, events and activities around the UK. It's not available in the shops". Free to blue badge holders, £6.99 otherwise and only available for a limited time via Motability. Looks very good.

Thanks to Alicia Howell for the tip.

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2009: All Blogged One Switch Games

Star Trigon - Namco PC game with Accessibility Mode for one-switch play.
One Switch Games Blogged in 2009

A Sliding Puzzle for Helen - A fine title where you can use your own pictures.
Bloxland - A Tetris one-switch experiment.
Canabalt - On-line panic inducing run-for-your-life game.
Cubes - Q*Bert made one-switch accessible for the first time.
Dracula Cha Cha - Nutty and loveable Tomena Sanner inspired game.
Escargone - A flawed one-switch-ish platform game.
Gamma IV The Game - A unique puzzle game for PC's. Donationware.
Here Comes the Duck - 7-128 software's blind-accessible one-switch game.
Matching Pairs - Christmas matching cards game.
Mystic Mine - The finest multiplayer one-switch game to date.
NanoGames - Highly accessible on-line casual games with settings ripe for tweaking.
New Age Curling - On-line one or two player winter sport.
One Switch Football - William Pilgrim's one player football game.
Ropor - Retro styled swinging robot game.
Scott McKay Games - Four one-switch games.
SlotBahn - Scalextric with one-switch game play, but mouse based menu.
Star Trigon - The first ever mainstream game with a deliberate one-switch mode.
Super Press Space To Win - Silly RPG 'game'. Made me smile though.
Switch Soccer - Football to me.
SY!NSO! - Rob Fearon's wonderful-barmy arena shoot-em-up for PC and Xbox 360.
SY!NSO!2 - Squid Harder - Fierce!
The Amazing Dare Dozen - Very simple but tricky on-line catch-the-egg game.
The Factory - Retro Remakes competition winner.
Train Tracker - On-line train set.
Universal Access Games - Highly polished educational games.
Way of the Empty Hand 2 - Wonderful one or two-player fighting game.
Wobble Bob - Another flawed one-switch-ish game.


ATE Arcade

Atari VCS and 4Noah VCS utility - Making the inaccessible accessible.
Electro Mechanical Games - Whack-a-mole, crane games and more.
Pinball - Including specially adapted tables for one-button play.
RCA Studio II - Featuring the first ever one-switch console game. It's not good!


Favourite Other Posts of 2009

AbleGames 2009 - Assistive Technology Partner's fantastic accessible gaming show; BBC One Switch Accessible Newsreader; Colin McDonnell; One Switch Sound Sample Player and Tink; Retro Remakes 2008 Competition; SpecialEffect Roadshows; The One Question; The Skoog; Video Game Accessibility: The 1970's.

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Happy 2010!

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