Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll

Psychedelic image of a late 1960's record player, with yellow text reading, Don't Think I've Forgotten, A documentary film, Cambodia's Lost Rock and Roll."During the 60's and early 70's, as the war in Vietnam threatened its borders, a new music scene emerged in Cambodia that took Western rock and roll and stood it on its head - creating a sound like no other.

Cambodian musicians crafted this sound from the various rock music styles sweeping across America and England, adding the unique melodies and hypnotic rhythms of their traditional music. The beautiful singing of the renowned female vocalists became the final touch that made this mix so enticing.

As the peasant Khmer Rouge army closed in on the capital city of Phnom Penh, Cambodian rock and rollers played at rooftop parties while bombs ignited the evening sky.

After taking over the country on April 17, 1975, the Khmer Rouge began one of the most brutal genocides in history, killing 2 million people - 1/4 of the Cambodian population. Intellectuals, artists and musicians were murdered simply for their status. Only a few miraculously survived to tell their story.

This documentary film, DON’T THINK I’VE FORGOTTEN, provides a new perspective on a country usually associated with war and genocide. By celebrating this powerful music, and the people who created it, Cambodia's musical heyday emerges from the shadows of tragedy into the light of history."

Taken from I've found this music fascinating since first hearing it in City of Ghosts. Thought I'd share it with you.

Wheelchair Bungee

Bonkers! Link via Barrier Break and Disabled World's Twitter feed.


Switch Accessible Guitar Heroes

Image of a young man playing Guitar Hero on an array of seven medium sized multi-coloured accessibility switches, arranged in an arc.The Enabling Devices love-in continues, after I discovered their switch accessible Guitar Hero rig (via Dave Banes Access newsletter). There's a good YouTube video here, showing off how it can be used.

Alternatives to this come from RJ Cooper or going the D.I.Y. route as followed by the kit used at AbleGames 2009. Rock Band is also a possible alternative for D.I.Y. hacks, although as of yet, it's not so good for one-switch players, lacking Guitar Hero's one-button playable mode.

UPDATE: Enabling Devices have uploaded another short video, where a user named Ben, is interviewed about his experience using the adapted Guitar Hero set-up.

What's really rubbish about both Guitar Hero and Rock Band is that they force you to use their dedicated lumpy controllers. Why not allow people to use the Joypad if they want to? Especially as this flexibility opens up a massive range of alternative access controllers that people might already have paid out for.

Added to the Accessible Gaming Shop section on Console Switch Interfaces.

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The Source FT Candi Staton - You've Got the Love


One Switch Bowling: Switch Lanes

Image of one switch bowling game, Switch Lanes from SwitchInTime.comWish for something long enough, and sometimes you'll be pleasantly surprised. Switch In Time software have newly released "Switch Lanes", a 1950's themed switch accessible bowling game. They've kindly agreed to send me a copy, so expect to see a review with video up at the Accessible GameBase soon. I'm hoping for gutter-bumpers, but I don't actually know if they even have this facility in America. If not, they're missing out on bounce and strike fun. What the game does definitely offer though is the facility to shorten the length of the alley, which is a great idea. Watch this space...

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Switch Bowling Ramp

Image of a young woman to the side of a ramp, pressing an accessibility switch on her lap, triggering a switch activated bowling ball kicker.At last! Enabling Devices have a switch accessible bowling ball kicker on sale, that looks like it will connect to most ramps at bowling alleys. It runs off 8xAA batteries (not rechargable) and, from what I can tell, pushes the ball from underneath on the press of an accessibility switch. You'll obviously need someone to assist the player to line the ramp up as they want it (or use video-game mode, where the helper steadily adjust the aim left to right, stopping the second the player hits their switch or indicates 'Stop!').

If $449.95 is too much, or if they won't send to your country, you could always build your own. I've built one for about £10 before using a Golf-Putting toy, wood, metal and a lot of time. For more bowling ideas, take a look through the other bowling blog posts here.


Digital Camera with Large Controls

Image of an orange VTech Kidizoom adapted digital camera, sitting on a black motorised tripod, all connected to a large control panel.Enabling Devices have an adapted V-Tech Kidizoom camera with a large control panel and motorised tripod for $399.99. It doesn't look like you can connect your own switches unfortunately, but I can see this being a really excellent solution for some.

If you fancy creating your own switch accessible camera, take a jump over to this OneSwitch D.I.Y. page.


Eye Mario System

Waterloo Lab's Eye Mario system allows a person to play any NES video game using eye movements alone. The video above gives a basic overview of how this system works. For a more detailed break-down of how it works, they've also provided an overview document for your eye-balls.

Link via: Thomas Westin on the IGDA GASIG mailing list.



Love the comment on YouTube: "They should have every traffic light in America play this during the red light. Then everyone would have to get funky!". Have always thought there should be more artistic and/or fun street furniture in the world. Parliament-Funkadelic at red lights would be a good thing, surely?


Kinect: Milo and what could be...

Avoiding any mean-spirited Charlie Brooker type-comments, that is a pretty fantastic looking game. I haven't been so impressed by a new style of game since I first saw Shenmue demoed in 1999. This said, there's virtually no thought for alternative access I'm guessing, but so much food for thought. Just imagine if you could use the Kinect as an additional accessible controller, alongside your alternative controller of choice. So many possibilities...

Via: TED Talks

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Arjo vs. Oxford Hoists = Annoying and Disabling

Image of an Arjo mobile hoist squaring up to an Oxford mobile hoist in a mock-up Street Fighter video game style battle. In the UK at least, there are two different and incompatible systems for hoisting people in and out of their wheelchairs. This is immensely frustrating for people wanting to use public facilities such as swimming pools and Changing Places accessible toilets. I think it stinks that Oxford (owned by Joerns Healthcare) and Arjo have been building hoisting solutions for 50+ years and neither have found a solution to this problem for people. Business getting in the way of what is right?

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Knobz - Take Control! Image of joystick extensions from MERU. If you're in the UK, you're possibly grinning slightly incredulously at the name. If you're not in the UK, carry on... Knobz are a quick and easy way to customise a power-wheelchair. And if you don't like their designs, they'll consider making a design of your own. I like MERU very much. They make some really brilliant stuff. Take a look at their latest video to learn more.


Sniff Controlled Wheelchair

Image of two cartoon lemons, one cut in half, with 70's font around reading 'Scratch and Sniff'"Scientists have developed a device that allows people with severe disabilities to control a wheelchair by sniffing. Researchers from Israel have also used it to help patients who are completely paralysed to communicate ..... The team said it allowed paralysed people to communicate, in one woman's case for the first time in 10 years."

Read the rest over at the BBC. Thanks to Mike Taylor at Excitim and Dream-Technology for the link.

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Dream-Technology - Switch Modules

Dream-Technology Accessibility Switch Modules: Anti-Tremor Switch and Switch Filter.Dream-Technology have a couple of very handy looking accessibility switch modules newly added to their impressive catalogue. These are both designed to assist people in avoiding accidental presses of their switch, in two different ways. There's also hint of a Wireless Switch Converter, that looks extremely useful. These added briefly to the Accessible Gaming Shop Switches section.

Belated add, is mention of their Special-Dream Projects, popped in the Tailor-Made Game Controls section. All very good stuff.

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Nathan Fouts says...

Image of American actor, Wilford Brimley, a gruff looking man in his late 50's stating 'Offer Game Accessibility Options. It's the right thing to do.' whilst pointing.Nathan Fouts, author of Shoot 1UP, has blogged a list of excellent Accessibility Option Ideas. As the author of the game with the most accessibility features ever seen in a games console game, he's worth taking seriously. Really looking forward to his next game now, Grapple Buggy.

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AbleGames 2010 - Saturday August 21st 2010

Image of a family playing Neck N Neck, adapted for switch accessibility. Taken at Assistive Technology Partners' AbleGames 2009.
Image of two lads being given instructions on how to play a switch adapted pinball machine, using a huge mirror to make it easier to view the action from wheelchair height. Taken at Assistive Technology Partners' AbleGames 2009 AbleGames 2009 was amazing, so I was delighted to learn that AbleGames 2010 will be going ahead later this month. I'll let Assistive Technology Partners do the sales pitch...

"Gear Up and Get Your Game On!

Assistive Technology Partner’s invites children 3 - 18 years of age with disabilities and their families to this second annual event. AbleGames provides a fun environment for children with disabilities to play adapted computer, Wii and other kid-friendly games. Participants can enjoy a Wii racing game using a controller adapted to allow participation using only head movements. There will be a wide variety of switch accessible computer and pinball games including basketball and horse racing. Come and experience the possibilities of what accessible gaming and assistive technology can do to enhance the quality of life for children with disabilities.

Limited Space Available, call now to apply 303-315-1278 - $25/participant (includes T-shirt and lunch) - August 21, 2010 - 10:00am - 2:30pm - Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 W 6th Ave, Golden, CO 80401"

If I could, I would, and if you can, you should. Have a fantastic day you lot!


AbleGamers on CNN

AbleGamers 1930's style Propaganda poster, stating Everybody Can Game, with three raised fists holding different controllers.AbleGamer and IGDA GASIG member Steve Spohn features in a short clip expounding the virtues of game accessibility. The big deal is that this got national (and international) coverage on CNN. Very nice job.


One Handed Gaming

Hardware Hacker "Hasse" modified a GameCube controller for his disabled brother, so he could play GameCube games on his Wii one-handed. It's a really clever modification, with tilt-sensor and very helpful guide-lights.

There is an alternative solution out there for the lay-person, although it of course will cost more money. Connect one of a range of Playstation 2 one-handed controllers to the Wii/GameCube using an adapter. Simples.

And whilst on the subject, I highly recommend taking a look at Giant Bomb's cross platform list of compatible games for one-handed play.


"Are Wii Being Ignored?"

Image of a man in a wheelchair, gesticulating to a woman as to an inaccessible stair-case in a mock-up video game.BBC Ouch! technology correspondant, Adrian Higgin-botham, has written a harsh but fair appraisal of the state of accessible gaming. In short, AAA 21st century video games don't have much in the way of accessibility features. And those rare games that are highly accessible, tend not to have the budget, depth or production values of AAA titles. Come on the mainstream, you are slacking!

Image via: David G on the Ouch! Forums

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Falling Down

Image of William Pilgrim's one-switch game, Fall. A retro styled man parachutes down, whilst looking at the actual platformed based game.I've just reviewed "Fall" over at the SpecialEffect Accessible GameBase. There's a nice on-line high-score table for this, so I expect to see mine (BAH) and Bill's (BIL) high-scores take a tumble soon.

There's been some excellent posts over at the GameBase lately, including on the 27th International Holiday Camp of the Order of Malta, pure mouse game Dreams and partial one-switch game Zombie Cricket. Feel free to join up and contribute.

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