GameBase Video Olympicks 2012

Really looking forward to the London 2012 Opening Ceremony tonight (not long now). The games have started already, and so has the SpecialEffect GameBase Video Olympicks 2012. A good clutch of one-switch, point-and-click, cause-and-effect and audio-games await.

Some of the one-switch playable games include: Boccia (will likely need assistance with aiming), Fencing, Olympics Squared (mix), Football, Sailing, Switch Skills Champions (mix), Swimming (may benefit from JoyToKey auto-fire to make easier) and Wrestling (support will likely be needed with choosing an attack).

Audio-games include: Blind Football and Tennis. The original Konami Track & Field also works for the 100m as a speed test.

Some of the point and click games include: Boccia (will need an on screen keyboard), Sailing and Wrestling.

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AbleNet's Proximity Switch

Candy Corn Proximity Sensor Switch

AbleNet are about to release a zero pressure proximity sensor switch called the Candy Corn. Not cheap at $150 but could be very useful indeed if mounted suitably.

Added to the OneSwitch Accessible Gaming Shop.

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Skoog: MusicBox

Skoogmusic's latest software update (v1.4) for the Skoog has some new instruments, and finally a one-sided playing mode. Named the MusicBox, it allows you to play through pre-composed songs using a single side of the Skoog.

In some ways, this has links to the old Commodore 64 Music Maker Play-a-long albums and the Wii Music conducting game. However, the Skoog gives you more than just the ability to dictate tempo. You can add expression and choose how long the length of notes are played too.

There are a number of pre-set tunes such as the Pink Panther theme, Star Wars and various others. Hopefully in the future it will be possible to compose your own tunes (perhaps using the Skoog itself) and then play them back in MusicBox style. Huge possibilities, and a brilliant addition.

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One Switch Reader

One Switch Reader from William Pilgrim. Switch accessible Kindle, PDF, Word and individual web-page browsing and navigation.

On the back of a request to find a one-switch method for reading Kindle books on a PC, I got in touch with the highly talented William Pilgrim and Tim Brogden. Both turned up two excellent solutions to the problem, and both allow one-switch users to browse up and down the pages of Kindle, PDF and Word documents. You can also use this method to scan up and down web-pages.

The simplest version to get going is William Pilgrim's: One Switch Reader. Set your switch to act as the key "1", and you'll have the power to page up, page down and slow-scan (a line at a time) through a document or web-page, aided by an arrow indicator. Happy reading.

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Happy Action Theatre

Clearly standing on the shoulders of  Video Place and the later EyeToy Play "Play Room", Happy Action Theatre from Double Fine looks like a hugely enjoyable Kinect experience.

Via: SpecialEffect News.

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Paralympics - Meet the Super Humans

Screen grab from the C4 Paralympic Meet the Heroes promotion. A man in a sports wheelchair speeds around a track in the dark and pouring rain.

Screen grab from the C4 Paralympic Meet the Heroes promotion. A Blind footballer strikes a ball towards an expectant blind goal keeper.

Channel 4 have just released an inspiring Paralympic promotional video like no other I've seen. Just click on one of the pictures above to view it. The Olympics arrives next Friday, and the Paralympics from the 29th of August. I'm hugely looking forward to them especially the Danny Boyle opening ceremony to kick it all off.

Meanwhile get involved from the comfort of your home with the Game Base Video Olympicks 2012 and follow the C4 Paralympics blog to learn much more.

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Tam Toucan Accessible Games

Super City Shoot-Out screen-shot. A cartoon city with the red cross-hair of a sniper's rifle scanning across it. People appear in a few of the windows.

Tam Toucan is a long time advocate of game accessibility. I've been slack in not praising his work enough, so I'm hoping to put this right here.

His site presently has seven free PC games, many of which can be played using one-switch, "one-key" (aka binary one-switch input where brief taps are enough to play) or pointer controls. If you can use a point and click compatible device, hovering over the web-site's blue human symbol helps to tell you a bit about what controls are supported. Very useful, and I wish more people did this.

Some of the games are not suitable for work or the easily offended ("Droopy Dick's Blow Job" perhaps being one of them). Others, such as AMAZE-O-TRON-2000 game, are suitable for any age.

The game I've been most impressed by is Tam's latest title "City Sniper Shoot-Out". This reminds me a bit of Dirty Harry and a bit of a SEGA Virtua-Cop type game but with cartoon graphics and really brilliant accessibility features.

Rob Fearon's OW:Videogames review: "For those who prefer to stare people to death, headtrackers are supported along with mice", made me wonder about a Scanners type eye-gaze or mind-control game. I might mention that to Tam.

Finally and linked to that, Tam has made an open call for ideas for accessible games that he might then go and make. Top man.

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Radio On (1979)

Radio On - 1979


Wii Nunchuk controlled R/C vehicles

Mark Heath has created a really nice chin mountable system for controlling Remote Control vehicles. It uses an adapted Wii nunchuk controller hacked into a standard R/C controller.

This great video showcases a monster truck, where the owner has sourced a really good looking chin mount.

Originally seen on the SpecialEffect GameBase. Reminds me a tiny bit of this chin-mounted Scalextric post from years ago.


HUD PC based control over PS3 and Xbox 360

Space Invaders using a half-silvered / two-way mirror effect.

Half-silvered mirrors. That could be the solution. Previously I'd been wondering about getting eye-gaze and more versatile switch control over console games, having a Heads Up Display to assist. Seems this could be easier now than I'd previously thought. Three steps...

1. Getting PC compatible controls to take control of an Xbox 360/PS3 seems possible already (via an XIM 3 or Cronus adapter). That's potentially great news. The PC has by far the largest range of compatible accessible controllers and controller utilities of any platform. How well this works needs to be proven through more testing.

 2. Getting key PC graphics such as the mouse pointer on top of a games console image may be less expensive than I feared, stops your eyes having to dance between two screens rapidly, and makes eye-gaze control feasible.

I wondered about using professional HDMI video mixing technology until "Georgli" on the Accessible GameBase forum had the inspired idea of using half-silvered glass mounted at 45 degrees between a console monitor and PC monitor (see the video below). This is a slight variation on an old coin-op arcade game trick used to make basic black and white displays more appealing in the 1970s (see the Space Invaders picture above). Not sure how well this would work, but it's got to be worth a try.

Things needed? Some carpentry skills, a half-silvered (aka two-way) mirror such as from Mirror World, two identical monitors, with at least one that can reverse flip it's image across the horizontal plane (via a PC graphics card if not).

3. Test playing to see how well it works in practice. It would be great to see this become a reality for players, and maybe there's a chance that the likes of 4Noah switch utilities, anti-tremor devices, head-trackers and eye-trackers will be enabled more people to play console games. It's likely that head-tracker and eye-gaze users will need something like Alt-Controller or Mouse Raider to get greater control. Looking forward to finding out.

Rough mock-up showing a PC pointer and Natural Point dwell-clicker merged with the PS3 menu screen.

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D.I.Y. Switch Adapted Nerf Thunderstorm

NERF Thunderstorm switch adapted water pistol.

NERF Thunderstorm - inside adaptation.

NERF make some nice toys. Gavin Philips first brought Nerf Guns to my attention with his superb work at the Switch It Up (previously AbleGames) events.

Their Thunderstorm Super Soaker battery powered water-pistols are great too, and pretty simple to adapt for switch access once you know how. Here's probably the simplest guide I've written.

1. Remove all screws. Prise the casing open.
2. Drill a hole for your switch socket above the spring as pictured.
3. Carefully drill a hole at the bottom right of the battery compartment, as pictured (next to the blue dot), to expose the negative battery terminal.
4. Connect one side of the socket to the red wire, and the other to the exposed negative battery terminal.
5. Reassemble. Put the two long screws either side of the water cartridge.

Test. If there's any problems with constant operation, try removing the loose clear plastic rocker mechanism. Have fun!


Fruit Ninja Kapow

Fruit Ninja Kapow - One-switch style for chopping flying fruit and avoiding bombs.

Fruit Ninja Kapow is Don Calaca's's one-switch take on the Half-brick instant classic. Click to slash fruit, try to slash multiple-fruit with one-slash and avoid bombs. On-line and free. Simple.

For alternatives, hunt down Half-brick originals for Xbox Kinect or iOS devices. Recommend taking a look at these SpecialEffect and AbleGamers videos to get an idea of just how accessible this game is. See also this cause and effect one-switch melon smashing idea.


Holy Grail of Controller Accessibility

Image of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, overlaid with a XIM 3 and Cronus console and PC adapter.

The Holy Grail of Controller Accessibility? Something that enables a person to use their own choice of input method to access anything computer based. That's a long way off.

Meanwhile, two devices have come to my attention that look like a good stepping stone to this. The XIM3 and Cronus devices. Both of these allow you to connect a range of controllers to different gaming platforms.

What I and others have hoped for, for a long time, is for PC based control over a games console. It seems that both of these devices can do this to some extent (reading the AbleGamers review and from reading the Cronus forum).

I'm hoping that fully reconfigurable controls may be possible. I'm hoping that head-trackers and other alternative access controls can be used on a console alongside PC assistant utilities such as dwell-clickers. We'll see. I know Bill Donegan at SpecialEffect is due to get a Cronus soon, so it will be good to learn how well it works out there.

I'm also hopeful that there'll be a way to reduce controls via software assist modes, and also perhaps a way to get eye-gaze control working effectively on consoles via video mixing technology. If this doesn't turn out as well as it might, I've still great hopes for the work over at HMS Projects.

Thanks to Steve Spohn of AbleGamers for the XIM3 link. Devices added to the adapters page of the Accessible Gaming Shop.

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2011: All Blogged One Switch Games

One Switch Games Blogged in 2011

1969-1976 - The first ever one-switch games?
Attractor - Puzzle game.
Badlands - One-switch laser disk vengeance game.
Blitz and Canyon Bomber games - Also see Retro Blitz.
Dance Dance Revolution - Adapted for one-switch play.
El Duelo - On-line Spaghetti Western gun duelling.
Fly Drive - Coin-op fly simulator!
Fly Guy - One-switch playable cartoon using 4Noah.
Fotonica - The final build of this out-standing free running game.
Ichi - Puzzle game.
MLB11 The Show - Tough baseball with a one-switch mode.
One Switch Games - A range of simple switch games.
One Switch Pinball - Pinball played one-switch style.
Portem - 3D world with mini-games to discover.
Run You F'ker - Sweary side-scrolling game.
Shenmue II - Duck Racing - Playable with a single press.
Space Invaders - Taito classic adapted for one-switch play.
SpecialBites - Christmas cause and effect games.
Vectrex Minestorm - Vector-scan classic made one-switch playable.
Water Melon Smash - Cause and effect activity.

Favourite Other Posts of 2011

30 Years of Enabling Disabled Gamers; Accessible DJAdroit Switch BladeArticle 31: The Right to Play; Colour-BlindDeep Sea; Drinks Pourer; DriveyGame Accessibility Symbol 1Game Accessibility Symbol 2; Glove PIE; GolfIGDA Perspectives Newsletter; Ian Bean's Switch Progression Road Map; Interviews: Alex KostovInterviews: Chris MyersInterviews: Izzy; Make Some Noise; Navigating 3D Worlds using a Single Switch; One Switch MusicPageBot Switch Kindle; Press the Switch adviceRemapping Controls; Switch It Up 2011The SpecialEffect Centre official openingToast; Two Switch MusicUniversal SlingYouView

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Moving On

One Switch Brain Control

MRI brain scan

Two really encouraging stories on brain control: Neurovigil's EEG iBrain research with Stephen Hawkings and fMRI typing.

Presently, communicating and playing games with brain technology that doesn't require surgery is far from easy. Something portable, fast and switch like in power has been elusive too. Maybe one-switch games will become an essential training tool for people with locked in syndrome. Maybe things are going to get better sooner rather than later.

Thanks to Techni Myoko for the fMRI typing link.

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