William Merritt Disabled Living Centre (WMDLC) in Leeds recently participated in GameBlast16, a nationwide gaming event to raise money for Special Effect, a gaming charity that helps people with disabilities access popular home video games. The event ran 24 hours from 1 pm on Friday 26 February. As it wound down, several staff and gamers alike had that glazed look in their eyes that comes with staying up all night, although most participants did the event in shifts.
Maxine McDonnell of WMDLC reports that gaming represents a natural progression for users who have mastered and perhaps become bored with switch-operated toys. Judging from the focused attention of the young gamers in the room, the activity was highly motivating. It is easy to wonder if video gaming is a better medium for some users to develop their access skills when learning to use adapted interfaces.
WMDLC’s support of accessible gaming extends well beyond the annual GameBlast event as the centre holds regular accessible gaming days throughout the year . The knowledgeable and supportive staff have a variety of adaptations to hand to help gamers access popular consoles such as Nintendo WiiU, Sony PlayStation, and Microsoft Xbox. The Maxgear CrossFlight allows an Xbox controller to operate a WiiU console. For example, if a user is proficient with an Xbox controller but not with a WiiU controller, the CrossFlight allows you to use the Xbox controller on the WiiU. The Titan One similarly allows users to swap controllers on numerous consoles, such as using an Xbox controller to operate a PlayStation. It also has an interface called MaxAim DI that supports keyboard and mouse support for accessing gaming consoles. It can also run with OneSwitch Pulse software which is a programmable list of commands that switch users can scan through and send to a gaming console via a computer. The Console Switch Interface Deluxe or C-SID is a switch interface that allows you to break out a button from most console controllers to a switch. WMDLC frequently uses this breakout feature with game adapter cables to form teams of gamers controlling a single avatar. In this setup, members of the team each control specific functions (button presses). McDonnell revealed that many gamers that can play games independently prefer the social camaraderie that comes with working together.
WMDLC’s accessible gaming days are perfect for building up stamina for next year’s GameBlast event. Although the service is drop in, it is helpful if call ahead on 0113 350 8989 or firstname.lastname@example.org so that resources can be allocated.