Shoot 1UP (Xbox 360) - Updated for Disabled Gamers

Shoot 1UP is a "bullet-hell" shoot-em-up for the Xbox 360 with a brand-new addition of accessibility features, many of which I've never seen before on any games console.

Programmer, Nathan Fouts of Mommy's Best Games, sought the assistance of the Accessible GameBase and AbleGamers.org to help with accessibility features. His very polished game now includes:

A high-contrast option, to aid with tracking the on-screen action.
A choice of difficulty modes.
Speed control.
A full one-switch mode.
Auto-fire mode.
Reconfigurable controls.
Quick start option.

Fantastic stuff, Nathan! Look out for a GameBase review soon, but until then, I encourage a pop over to the full press release.

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Links Lucky Dip

Image of a colourful Japanese Pachinko gaming parlour.Too many links and too little time to do them justice, so here's another lucky dip for games:

Xbox 360 Indie Arcade shoot-em-ups at XNplay, including the about to be highly accessible Shoot 1UP (speed control, one-switch option, high-contrast options, reconfigurable controls).

New Future Pinball tables ripe for adaptation listed at Pinsimdb.org. See the ATE Arcade for more.

Partially one-switch accessible NeoGeo Bowling with a nice multi-player mode at Classic Games Arcade. On-line emulators are no where near as versatile for access as an off-line version, but they're a very quick way to get at the games.

Virtual Atari is another on-line emulator of the much loved Atari VCS. Includes one of my all time favourite games Superman. See the ATE Arcade for off-line versions.

And very interesting, in the pipe-line, work from Ovine by Design. A full playable simulation of an arcade. See Retro Remakes for more.

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Battery Water Pistols for Switch Access



I've not had one in my hands yet, but it seems like there's a new source for battery powered water pistols that look easy to adapt for switch accessibility. It's an AK47 Aqua Fire Water Pistol. It should be quite easy to adapt, roughly following this old "Water Blaster" D.I.Y. Guide.

Try eBay and Google Shopping to track these down whilst you still can. If you'd like for me to adapt one, just get in touch. Link via The Gadget Show.

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SYNSO Championship Edition

Image of SYNSO Championship Edition, an arena shoot-em-up, much like an updated psychedelic version of Robotron: 2084. In the top corner are four arrows, one highlighted, as part of the 4Noah SYNSO one-switch gaming utility.
"Survive 5 minutes. Eat gem and fruits. Score massive". Easy, surely?........ No..... It's not. Especially not if you are playing with the 4Noah SYNSO utility for one-switch play. It is a massive grin though, if retro shoot-em-ups are your bag. I've managed 1 minute and seven seconds using this adapted one-switch mode. Can anyone beat that?

UPDATE: Rob 'Oddbob' Fearon has worked through the night to add accessibility options to give you control over the overall speed of the game, and two ways to adjust how fiercly the alien hoards attack. Brilliant! The game can be made playable to many more players now. It's "pay-what-you-want", so go and get it, and have a tweak!

Via: Bag Full of Wrong and reviewed in full at the Accessible GameBase.

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Gambler

Image of the game Gambler. An oriental half-man half-cat fires arrows on an ornate ancient boat, towards a blue monster. I love games from Infectuous for their unique style and humour. I love Gambler doubly so as it's also one-switch compatible. Read a full review over at the Accessible GameBase, where you can find many more one-switch game reviews.

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Dream Train

Image of a Switch Adapted Toy Train set from Dream-Technology. Just released by Dream-Technology is a chunky looking switch controlled train set for the young and young at heart. The track can be expanded, so it would be possible to have this running all around the house. Quite like the idea of attaching a Flip video camera to the front of it for recording a switch controlled video.

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Gaming on a Collision Course

Image of an old Atari VCS with an old TV, with the inset picture taken from Aphex Twin's Come To Daddy, of an old lady bracing herself from the onslaught of a shouting alien. 7-128.com and AbleGamers.org have jointly published a paper entitled "Gaming on a Collision Course". It's all about the financial importance of game designers taking into account an ageing gaming population. It even includes a forward from the pioneer of home video games, Ralph H. Baer (aged 88). All good stuff, and more weight to the cause.

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Call for Reconfigurable Controls for All

Image of a Phoenix Revolution controller by Radica. Out of production controller that allowed you to swap game pods such as the thumb-sticks, D-pads and face buttons.Chuck Bittner, a quadriplegic gamer, has started an on-line petition calling for reconfigurable controls for all games. In an ideal world, such a thing would be built into the fundamental design of all game consoles. Until then, game designers are wittingly or unwittingly disabling many players for want of such a simple feature.

Reconfigurable controls are something that the Accessible Gaming community at large has been calling for over many years (see this IGDA GASIG Blog post). It's great to see this finally getting some very broad support. When you think about the huge range of ways that people may need to play, it seems crazy that this isn't a standard in mainstream games.

Link via: Hack a Day and Kotaku

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Robot Dog



Freakish and disturbing, but really impressive at the same time. Would you ride on one?

Link via David Bane's Twitter feed, Top 10 Robot Videos on YouTube.

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Alternative Wii-motes and D.I.Y. Modifications

Image of a young boy playing a Wii game, using a cap with velcro straps to keep the Wii remote in place for head play. You can find all kinds of alternative ways to play on the Wii over at the Accessible GameBase. Adaptations include the Wii Remote Lite (half the weight), a mini-trackball to take the place of the D-pad, switch and joystick interfaces and more.

You may spot that there's still no way for switch users to emulate specific motions to play the likes of Wii Sports. One day...

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Super Robot Wars Controllers - Back In Stock

HORI Super Robot Wars Controllers. For one handed play.I have a small batch of one-handed HORI Super Robot Wars controllers back in stock again.

These are Playstation 2 controllers, but using an easy to connect adapter, can be used on many other games machines too. You can see alternative one-handed controllers over at the Accessible Gaming Shop's One Handed area.

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Touch Sensitive Gaming on a PC

Image of three iPhones all displaying controller software, making the touch-screen act as a mouse, keypad and more over a PC or Mac.
I've recently been looking at ways to make gaming accessible for people who need lighter controls than standard. As part of SpecialEffect's GameBase, I was asked if I could reduce the weight of a Wii remote. It turns out that it's quite easy to more than halve the weight, simply by leading the batteries out into an external box, and pulling out a few unnecessary components. See the Wii Remote Lite prototype here.

A week later, I've been approached to see if we can find a solution for two teenagers with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. They used to be able to play Playstation and Xbox games, but no longer have the strength to use traditional controllers. I at first thought of a touch-sensitive glove patch-leaded up to a switch interface. I then remembered Mobile Air Mouse, which is a way to emulate the mouse and keyboard using the lovely touch-sensitive screen of an iPhone or iPad. That could open up a lot of PC/Mac games, and indirectly older console games via emulation).

Would love, love, love to see something like the Mobile Air Mouse giving super-light touch sensitive control over games consoles. PS3 would likely be the easiest target. Xbox 360 the least likely (see Microsoft Aren't Listening).

Many thanks to Will Wade for the Air Mouse info. Will often passes on really useful accessibility tips my way. This might be invaluable.

UPDATE: My colleague, Bill Donegan, at the Accessible GameBase has just pointed me to a USB external touchpad for the PC, called a Glidepoint SmartCat. We think this could be hooked up to an Xbox 360 using an off the shelf adapter. Wonder if the Peregrine glove might be usable too? Watch this space.

New gaming hardware added to the Accessible Gaming Shop Various section.

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Electronic Soup Podcast

Image of a monkey, representing me, struggling with a very old-style upright large reel tape-recorder with spooled magnetic tape all over the place. Text reads, Special Effect Electronic Soup Podcast. Part two of the Accessible GameBase Electronic Soup Podcast has just been released as part of the "Access Collective". You can listen to it in a variety of ways, or read the transcript here. What's in it? I'm not telling, you'll have to find out for yourself!

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Magnetic Letters

Image of virtual magnetic fridge letters scattered all around. Some of the discernable words include, Love, Super and OldTake a load of magnetic fridge letters, put them in a virtual world and allow dozens of people to try to make words all at the same time. Sounds like sweet fun for a few moments, but then you realise there's a few people trying to spell very rude words. Quickly, you decide to remove a few of their letters and you're in a grand scale battle to clean up the world of filth and degradation!

Or vice versa, depending on your state of mind. There's three rooms, same game, just different players. Go for the one with the least players if you want a chance of spelling a five letter word.

"Letters" is available to play over at Lunchtimers. Link via Five's Gadget Show.

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Accessible Play Grounds

Image of an accessible round-a-bout, with two young lads in wheelchairs being spun round by their Dads, all grinning broadly. Not sure how I missed "The Play Park" in Exeter (UK), but like Morgan's Wonderland before, what a fantastic thing. Why is this level of accessibility still so rare? Really wish we didn't waste money fighting wars, when we could spend it on stuff like this...

If you're interested in this, do take a look at these too: Boundless Playgrounds (Canada and USA), Judith Aronson-Ramos (USA), GL Jones Playgrounds (Wales) and a BBC Video of The Play Park.

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Morgan's Wonderland

Image of a wheelchair accessible Carousel, at Morgan's Wonderland theme park. Morgan's Wonderland is the self-claimed "World's First Ultra Accessible Family Fun Park". Undeniably, a huge amount of thought and effort has gone into it, browsing through their Park Attractions pages. I'd love to see all theme parks made much more accessible, with more open to wheelchair users who can't easily transfer from their chair.

Personally, my dream theme park would be designed by Keita Takahashi, the canteens by Heston Blumenthal, that has a bit of a Scooby Doo haunted fair theme about it, and of course a highly accessible arcade designed by me and some selected friends.

Thanks to Mike Taylor of Excitim and Dream-Technology for the link.

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PS3 Tilt Sensor



"This short video demonstrates the use of a tilt angle sensor to simulate the analogue joystick input for the LEPMIS PS3-Switch Access Pod. The tilt angle sensor can be used for a number of things, including mouse input to a computer, (under development), as well as the original purpose as a tilt angle warning device for wheelchair users. The sensitivity is adjustable, (using specialist equipment), depending on the specific requirements of the application. For more information contact me. Geoff@LEPMIS.co.uk"

Via: LEPMISGeoff YouTube channel

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One Handed Controller

Just received a brand new replica of the long discontinued Dragonplus RPG DuoCon2 one-handed controller, thanks to Consoles and Gadgets. In my view, the best one-handed controller available for playing the likes of PS2, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Review up at the Accessible GameBase.

More one handed controllers at the Accessible Gaming Shop.

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Sonar





Link via Axcho on Twitter.

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Switch Adapted Turbo Twister and Push Button

I've been receiving some updates from Adam Perry on his switch adapted radio controlled car, and push button switch. Love seeing stuff like this. He said that he picked the car up from Pitsea Market in Essex, but can't find any more that are the same. If anyone knows where you can buy more of these, please let me know, and I'll pass it on.

See my D.I.Y. pages for more ideas on switch adaptations, if you fancy following Adam's lead.

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Never Again!

Image of four octogenarian runners.

It's not likely that I'll be chasing after legend Fauja Singh, after boiling up in my first ever marathon run. I completed the race in just over six hours, after a ding-dong battle with Little Miss Sunshine, Spiderman and a 10 pound note.

Running for SpecialEffect really gave me a boost, as did all the personal good luck wishes, sponsors, family, friends and the relentlessly rowdy and supportive crowd on the day.

My friend, Andy, who I ran alongside, even managed to get us interviewed live by the BBC at Tower Bridge, which was great for the charity. At the end I was just beaten by a Storm Trooper and Princess Leia. It felt good just to finish.

Thanks so much to all those who have sponsored. I'm very close to my target, so this is my last call to any who'd like to sponsor, or learn more about SpecialEffect, to pop over to: www.justgiving.com/kneecruncher. Normal service will resume shortly.

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