[games_access] Nintendo one handed controller

AudioGames.net richard at audiogames.net
Tue Sep 20 01:51:15 EDT 2005

I agree. The point is, there is just not "one" accessible game controller. 
I've seen various academic projects which focus on alternative controllers 
(my background is music technology and this field has many examples of 
alternative controllers as "new musical instruments") and all have been very 
different. There was one project (a game for a person with a severe mental 
disability, actually outside of the field of music technology) in which the 
team built a game solely for one specific user. The controller? A chair 
which functioned as a joystick with several features specific for this one 
user. I'll dig up the project and will post about it soon. Anyhow, the 
controller was a comfortable chair because that was the kind of controller 
that fit this user the best. The chair could move in 4 directions (like a 
limited joystick) and there was a button on a stick (a bit shaped like a 
gear shift in a car) that the user could use to control some aspects of the 
game. Now imagine the possibilities, but also, the limitations of such a 
controller. The outcome of the project was that designing for a single 
person can be very fruitful (it was very hard for the user in question to 
use/interact with non-custom technology/real-life items > he could never 
play games, due to attention span, etc!). However, it was also very costly, 
as you can imagine.

I agree this "one-handed" controller might actually include more gamers to 
the Nintendo venture since theoretically there *must* be a target audience 
who can only use one hand. That's a good thing (I know I'm not mentioning 
that I've left out the left-handed plug-in joystick controller now). But 
still, it's obvious that it's not enough since there are many potentional 
gamers out there that can't even use a one-handed joystick.
I'm curious: it seems to me that Nintendo has developed (or is developing) 
specific games that make maximum use of the possibilities of this 
controller. Similar to how Sony built games specific for the EyeToy. Part of 
the fun of the game is using the specific controller (with the EyeToy: 
seeing yourself on the screen, waving your arms around in midair and still 
playing a game is a wonderful experience). This is one aspect of controllers 
that needs to be taken into account in my opinion. Still, many games do use 
multiple controller inputs (best example are racing games, many can be 
controlled either through a racing wheel setup or via the keyboard.) In 
these cases the game is more far more important and the controller 
experience a lot less. I think it would be wise to focus game accessibility 
towards these types of games (controller-independend games).



----- Original Message ----- 
From: <hinn at uiuc.edu>
To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>; 
<rkimball at gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, September 19, 2005 11:43 PM
Subject: Re: [games_access] Nintendo one handed controller

>I sent out a letter a while ago but never got a response
> back -- it was the last time we talked about sending them an
> open letter. Unfortunately all this stuff was fried in my
> recent hard drive crash -- Reid? Do you have a copy of the
> stuff you sent me several months ago so that I can try and
> recreate it and then we can work on drafting the letter on
> the wiki?
> Yeah, I agree that the Nintendo controller is going to be a
> nightmare to a lot of people. At the same time I've heard
> from a lot of parents over the years who have children who
> only have the use of one hand/arm and this may be a good
> solution for them. I'm not disagreeing that this is a bad
> step back for many -- it's just that it might also be a step
> forward for some. Numbers-wise, I'm not sure how many this
> is good/bad for. It is a nice example of how accessibility
> isn't so simple that we, as a SIG, can just say "oh, just do
> this and you've created an accessible
> game/controller/console."
> Michelle
> ---- Original message ----
>>Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 22:30:07 +0100
>>From: "Barrie Ellis" <barrie.ellis at oneswitch.org.uk>
>>Subject: Re: [games_access] Nintendo one handed controller
>>To: <rkimball at gmail.com>, "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG
> Mailing List" <games_access at igda.org>
>>Good time to contact Nintendo, and why not an open letter
> to Sony and
>>Microsoft too? These controllers are not accessible to many
> potential
>>----- Original Message ----- 
>>From: "Reid Kimball" <rkimball at gmail.com>
>>To: "IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List"
> <games_access at igda.org>
>>Sent: Monday, September 19, 2005 9:29 PM
>>Subject: Re: [games_access] Nintendo one handed controller
>>Yikes... I saw the hand wand controller a few days and also
> wondered
>>how accessible it was to those with physical disabilities
> (not very
>>much it seems).
>>I just saw the "wavebird" controller that allows you to
> plug in the
>>hand wand and together you've got 23 buttons. I count each
> direction
>>on the two d-pads as a button to press.
>>That's getting a bit insane and overall on the surface it
> doesn't seem
>>like these controllers are going to be more accessible. I
> suppose the
>>only thing we can do is talk to Nintendo, ask if they have
> considered
>>these issues and hope for best. They are always saying they
> want to
>>make gaming accessible regardless of generation.
>>games_access mailing list
>>games_access at igda.org
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