Accessible Video Gaming: My experience.

My accessible game controller! 😀

Gaming has always been a challenge for me. Not the learning curve of games, but more so the physical act of pressing a certain kind of button. In my case, gaming became harder when twin joysticks were introduced. Before that, I was able to game just fine along with my peers, it was one of the few activities I could participate in with them.

Then, when I was told in a game to press in the joystick to make it click, I pressed as hard as I could. I tried so hard, it made my hands sweat, my character would die, and I just wanted to throw the damned controller at the wall.

For years, I always would be close to winning, then all of a sudden, my opponents would figure out my Achille’s heel, and kick my ass.

All because I was unable to push the joystick inward until it clicked.

I know, if your a non-gamer and your reading this, I probably just shot right past you. But, for you console gamers, imagine playing Halo, and all of a sudden, you need to scope someone out to snipe them. You push the stick in as hard as you can, and whataya know, your dead because you couldn’t press a simple button. Its freakin’ frustrating.

And it’s not like I could ask people to go easy on me. I’m not that kind of guy. When I do things, I give it all I got. Even in gaming. I want my friends to use their skills to the fullest when they play me, even if I get my butt handed to me.

I tried avoiding the games that required pushing the stick in. And, most games that interest me require the stick click function, like the Gears of War series, and the Halo series, just to name a few. I don’t wanna be stuck with playing Sesame Street games.

Then, this all changed when I found out about N0m4d, a.k.a Randy Fitzgerald. Who is N0m4d you ask? Here’s a video: 

Randy is also disabled. He doesn’t have muscular dystrophy like I do. He has Arthrogryposis. (Click the word to see the Wikipedia entry.) He may not be able to do everything, but through gaming, he is enabled. This guy plays games…..with his mouth! I mean, how cool is that? The guy is even in MLG (Major League Gaming)!

My gaming issues are minor, compared to the years it took this guy to learn to use a game controller with his mouth. And to be a pro also? That is just amazing,

When I saw the video, I fired up Google, and did more research on how the guy plays. I found out that a game controller company made his controller, and put the trigger, shoulder buttons, and stick click functions on the face of the controller. The company is called Evil Controllers, a company based in Tempe, AZ.

I went on the website, afraid that a custom controller would be way too expensive. I asked for a quote, and drew up in Paint what I needed on a controller. Surprisingly, it was a fairly inexpensive quote. So, I paid for the controller, they made it, and voila! It arrived in the mail!

Now I can game as much as I want with my friends, and have fun doing it. It feels amazing having my freedom from the confines of disability. Thanks to technology, and people who help out the disabled community, like Evil Controllers.

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Jake Scholl is a Fantasy Writer and blogger residing in Boise, ID. Jake is a big fan of books, comics, heavy metal, movies, and video games. You can buy his novel "Blade of the Broken" wherever ebooks are sold. He is also a member of The Dragon Writers' Collective: http://www.dragonwriterscollective.com/

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