Blind Accessibility in Gaming


Gaming Through New Eyes: Toby Ott talks of his gaming passions without vision. An absolutely brilliant short documentary that explains some methods needed to enjoy playing games blind or with a sight impairment. Gaming Through New Eyes Facebook page here.

Blind Japanese boy sends Nintendo heartwarming thank you letter, gets amazing response: Hibiki Sakai sent a letter to Nintendo saying how much he loves the Rhythm Tengoku series of games, as they're the only ones he's found that he can play, could they please make some more. Nintendo got back in Braille stating a desire to make games that everyone can play.



Sightless Kombat takes on all comers at the BBC: Using Killer Instinct, accessible gaming advocate and gamer Sightless Kombat took on all challengers at the BBC. This was part of their significant day long Global Accessibility Awareness Day efforts.


Dark oblong box with two groups of arcade push buttons, and no stick.

TV screen shows two players, one up against the wall being attacked in a video game.

A Hero's Call by Out of Sight Games: A blind accessible fantasy RPG by a Seattle based team including a blind programmer and blind composer. This has been funded 3 and a half times over on Kickstarter and is due out in June 2017.




How a blind man plays mainstream video games and the future of accessibility in games: This story links to Steve Saylor's excellent Blind Gamer YouTube channel. It talks of EA Games welcoming ideas and suggestions from players to make their games more accessible. It mentions Nintendo's 1-2 Switch being largely playable without a screen and some future hopes for accessible Virtual Reality.


Links: Gaming Through New Eyes via Kotaku..... Hibiki Sakai story via James Montagna.... Sightless Kombat story via the BBC.

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"I'm More Powerful Than You Think"


"The latest challenge is flying a drone to film a video. With only the use of switches, Is breaking down this barrier too much to hope for?"

Posted by Christopher Hills on Global Accessibility Awareness Day.

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Road Trips (Tar Heel Gameplay)

Image of a road winding by a river towards some mountains.

Day Time Slow Drive in Switzerland (Silent)

A day time drive in Switzerland. No sound. Use your switch to keep driving: every 10 seconds, every 20 seconds or every 30 seconds.




Blue motorbike racing past a car.

Fast Motorbike Ride

A fast ride in the sun. Very noisy engine sounds. Use your switch to keep riding: every 10 seconds, every 20 seconds or every 30 seconds.




Motorway driving in the rain in the UK.

Rainy UK Slow Drive

A relaxing drive in the rain in the UK. Rain and car noises. No radio. Use your switch to keep driving: every 10 seconds, every 20 seconds or every 30 seconds.




Night time driving in Tokyo, under street lights on a clean road.

Tokyo Slow Night Drive

A night time drive around the streets of Tokyo. Car noises and radio. Use your switch to keep driving: every 10 seconds, every 20 seconds or every 30 seconds.




There are some excellent driving videos on YouTube that are easy to convert to cause and effect one-switch activities for people of all abilities using the brilliant Tar Heel Game play web-site and the likes of the Scenic Drives and Driving Movie channels. Maybe try these videos too: Go-Karting, Motorbike ride in Greece or Morocco. You can see more of my Tar Heel activities at OneSwitch here.

I highly recommend searching YouTube with the terms "ASMR", "slow TV", "Gyro" or "Steady cam" along with an extra word such as "trip", "bike", "car", "drive", "driving" or "race". Check your videos for harsh motion which can cause motion sickness. Many "POV" (point of view) videos can be very hard to watch for some people.

Any problems, try the Chrome browser. If on a Windows PC, try pressing F11 for full screen too. There is an alternative way of doing this using UCR and JoyToKey. Get in touch for more help.

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Xbox One: Model 1708 Pin-out PCB guide for switch access

Xbox One controller, model 1708.




The following guide can help in adding switch sockets to an Xbox One controller. The easiest sockets to add are to the LS, RS, LB and RB contacts. Others can be very tricky to solder to. The Xbox One has some nice basic remapping features and a Co-Pilot option to enable two controllers to act as the same player one controller. Lots of possibilities. Using a Titan One much more is possible.


PCB 1 (Battery terminals PCB):


A = TP21 (mid left under battery terminals)
X = TP22 (above TP21)
Y = TP23/D8 (left of TP21 next to the "8" of D8)

MENU = TP24/FT4 (bottom left of PCB, bottom left of small square chip)
VIEW = TP25 (right of small square chip
XBOX = TP33/C11 (mid right of central PCB connector block)


PCB 2 (Thumbsticks PCB):

B = R29 (top of mini resistor, underside of "B" contacts, in between TP7 and TP26)

LB = Right top side of PCB under microswitches (top)
RB = Left top side of PCB under microswitches (top)
LT = Top pin of 3-pin hall sensor under LT trigger (right side of PCB)
RT = Bottom pin of 3-pin hall sensor under RT trigger (left side of PCB)
LS = Bottom left pin (of group of four) under the left-stick (right side of PCB)
RS = Bottom left pin (of group of four) under the right-stick (left side of PCB)


Ground/Common:

GND = TP35 (bottom right pin on underside of the right thumb-stick)


See OneSwitch DIY pages for more help. "1708" model is denoted under the battery cover.

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The Dreams of the Computer (1969)



















The Dreams of the Computer (1969) by Christopher Evans and Jackie Wilson. A fascinating glimpse into the past, glimpsing into the future. For increased unease, play all three videos simultaneously, muting the top one.

Via: Mind in Chains edited by Dr. Christopher Evans (1970).

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Game Accessibility Talks (2017)




Below lists some of the progressive accessible gaming talks and slides from this year so far. Some from the recent Game Accessibility Conference (GAConf) and some from the Game Developers' Conference 2017. There's so much movement now in game accessibility. This is good as there's patently still so much to do. Looking forward to a tidy grab-all list from the GAConf's speaker's list.


Evolve: An Adventure in Retro Fitting Accessibility (Tara Voelker - Gaikai) - Subtitled version to come.

Friction that Fits (Bryce Johnson - Xbox).

Game Accessibility: Practical Visual Fixes from EA's 'Madden NFL' Franchise (Karen Stevens - EA) - Madden Slides.

Improving Games Accessibility in Children's Games through QA (Hannah Bunce - BBC).

Raising the Bar: 2016's Accessibility Advancements (Ian Hamilton - Independent).

Reaching More Gamers Through Xbox Accessibility (Evelyn Thomas - Xbox).

Sources of Inspiration for Approaching Accessibility in VR (Hannah Gillis and Ben Peck - Lucasfilm)

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PDP-1 (Psychedelics and 1960s Video Gaming)


Lyle Bickley, of the PDP-1 restoration team, showcase a DEC PDP-1 computer first built in 1959. DEC donated one to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA). Inevitably some fun was squeezed in amongst the more serious applications, including Spacewar!, Snowflake and a 4-voice music programs.

Video via "CuriousMarc" on YouTube. This PDP-1 is homed at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California.


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Stronger Xbox Controller








Above is a step by step method of strengthening the thumbsticks on a wireless Xbox 360 controller. This was built for someone who was repeatedly breaking thumb-sticks on Xbox One controllers.

This is an Xbox 360 controller which with a wireless receiver can be used on PCs, Raspberry Pis and Xbox 360. With an appropriate adapter (I used a Titan Two) it can be used on Xbox One, PS4 and other machines quite easily.

The basics are as follows:

1. Get an Xbox 360 controller to adapt, and donor metal thumb stick units from the likes of a JoyTech PSone Jolt controller. An Armor 3 might do the trick too but I've not tried this. These are much stronger than the standard sticks.

2. Using desoldering braid (and a desoldering gun if available) remove the sticks from both controllers. You'll need to remove the left trigger (3 solder points and plastic clips) to get at the Xbox left-stick.

3. Firmly fit the metal thumb-stick units into place and solder onto the board. Replace the left-trigger assembly.

4. Use a stepper drill to widen the hole on the Xbox controller.

5. Check that the hole is big enough, or go back to step 4.

6. Brace the plastic thumb-sticks using SUGRU pushed firmly into the alternative thumb-stick tops. Ensure it does not touch any metal parts when fitted. Use some hot glue to further secure, and a little around the outer narrow shaft part. Aim for this to partly pad the stick, but still allow you full 360 degree movement.

7. Test all is good. If the plastic top part of the stick fails under stress, it's worth considering a turned wood alternative. Metal Xbox One Elite controller tops would need the shaft to be packed out with something very strong for them to be suitable, as they are too loose otherwise.

See more Do It Yourself help at the OneSwitch.org.uk DIY pages.

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Mojo Hypersensitive Racetrack (Scalextric) Controller


Above is a video of an adapted Scalextric track for easier access. It uses a custom Celtic Magic "Mojo" arranged by the brilliant charity Remap. This set-up gives full speed control via a small upward movement of a toe.

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More game controller mods and builds....

White PS4 Dual Shock with added push buttons for L3 and R3

HORI Real Arcade Pro fitted with switch sockets and surface buttons on/off switch. Rear view.

HORI Real Arcade Pro arcade stick, fitted with an analogue stick with easy grip sponge tennis ball top.

Two Xbox One white Joypad controllers lightened sticks and fitted with discrete switch sockets for Co-Pilot use.

A batch of custom controllers I've built recently include a PS4 Dual Shock with low-profile low-pressure push buttons in the grips for L3 and R3.

There's an arcade stick fitted with an analogue joystick, switch sockets, on/off switch for surface buttons and lots of custom modes including a nice first-person exploration mode I tweaked with thanks to a suggestion from Francis Binnie at SpecialEffect. Hope to get a D.I.Y. guide up for this before too long. My friend Shaz is borrowing this and said it was "as smooth as butter" using the Ultimarc U360 stick.

There's also a pair of adapted Xbox One controllers with switch sockets, lightened joysticks designed to be used together with Co-Pilot simultaneous play modes.

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