Touch Screen Activities

Four pane image of Inclusive Technology on-line activities and their one-touch touchscreen.

Touch Screens in the field of enabling disabled people are no new thing. Brilliant Computing, formed by Nick Pronger and Rod Boyes in 1986 were pioneers in this field. They published many games and activities, many aimed at some of the most severely disabled people in the UK, enabled using BBC Micro's with Microvitec touch screens and other alternative access methods. These days, with it possible to buy iPads and PCs with touch screens from standard computer shops, life is easier still.

Inclusive Technology stock one of the nicest PC touch screens I've seen in their One Touch package. They back this up with some lovely free on-line activities in Help Kidz Learn. Latest is the doodle with colour activity Hidden Grid.

This reminds me of Llamasoft's wonderful light-synthesisers of years gone by, Psychedelia and Colour Space. I used to set these up for people in a Sensory Room on big TV with a mirror box to boost the effect, controlled using switches or a big floppy joystick.

I'm rambling a bit here I realise. Whilst researching a bit more about pioneers of accessible gaming, I stumbled upon another really nice on-line touch-screen compatible activity page: Philip Whittaker's Moving Targets page. Another great tracking and cause and effect area.

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Cheap USB Switches for Games and Creation: Buzz

Image of four Buzz game controllers, each consisting of a handset with a large red push button, and four rectangular coloured buttons beneath. Diagramatical text explains which controller is which, and how a PC assigns each button, detected as joystick button presses.

The Music Gym have uploaded a guide on how to get Buzz controllers functioning on a PC using JoyToKey. These push buttons come as ridiculously cheap wired versions, or more expensive wireless versions. eBay's probably the cheapest place to find these.

They give some really good tips for mounting these controllers, and for being creative with them too. Love that they've including two of my favourite one-switch accessible activities, Tink and Ambio-mat. Excellent!

Added to the DIY section and discovered at the Accessible GameBase.

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Image of a mock-up warning sign, that reads 'Warning Mosh Pit' with three people tumbling on top of one another.

Very splendid to see the IGDA's GASIG (Game Accessibility Special Interest Group) get a new and active Forum. It's free to join and all are welcome no matter what your level of experience.

And to balance that, other game accessibility related forums do exist. Plus I always like to pop by RetroRemakes, which is a great place of support for indie developers.


One-switch Baseball: MLB11 The Show

Hans Smith in MLB 2010, linked to the one-switch one-button mode he has asked for and seen included.

Really great news popped up in my inbox yesterday regarding Hans Smith one-man charm offensive to make one of his favourite PS3 games more accessible.

I could rabbit on here, but I'll simply pop you onto the first source of the news,'s excellent article on Sony's MLB11: The Show, so you can read it as fresh as I did.

Link via Sheri Rubin (with thanks!)

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Reflections on Game Accessibility

Mock-up image of three colour-blind tests, but with joypads within rather than numbers. The surrounding text reads, igda - perspectives newsletter - year in review.

The January 2011 IGDA Perspectives newsletter contains a two page segment on the 'game accessibility year' 2010, from my own personal perspective. If 2011 tops 2010, consider me a happy-bunny.

Big chunky thanks to the IGDA, and especially to Beth Aileen Lameman for giving Game Accessibility such great coverage.

Update: Repaired IGDA Perspectives link.


Dance 21

Great to see local dance outfit "Dance 21" get three golds from the judges on national TV dance competition "Got To Dance" on their own merits. Essex is proud!

Update: Many thanks to Mary of Dance 21 for sending me the full clip from the show, now posted at the top. Still brilliant.


Excitim Switch Accessible Camera and CD Player

Excitim switch accessible Sony CD Player.

Excitim switch accessible digital camera.

Excitim have released more superb looking switch accessible gadgets very recently. A very fine looking mini ghetto-blaster for those wanting a simple switch accessible music CD player.

Very nice too, is their 10 mega-pixel Canon digital camera. They've found a really elegant solution for switch access via the USB socket. Would be great if Canon would keep this as a standard way of taking photos using a single click method.

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"One Switch Games"

Image of John Adam's one switch games, Frosty the Snowman, Turtle Crossing and Filberts Food Fenzy.

Games programmer, John Adams, has recently released three on-line switch games, under the banner "One Switch Games" (nothing to do with They are...

Frosty the Snowman - Slow paced game, putting you as a snowman constantly walking from left to right, where you have to jump over sometimes unfairly placed objects.

Turtle Crossing - A 3D version of Nintendo's ancient Turtle Bridge game, but much easier. Keep an eye on the fish for an idea of when a turtle may dive.

Filberts Food Fenzy - A targeting game based on the even more ancient Gremlin/SEGA game Frogs.

You can comment on these games at the Unity forums, to give John advice, thoughts and encourgement.

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And three years later, I've added the Commodore PET to the ATE Arcade. The WinVICE emulator gives retro-heads the ability to play one of the first fully one-button playable games in the form of the morally dubious "Air Attack" from 1979.

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2010: All Blogged One Switch Games

Screenshot from Tales of Unspoken World. A monochrome dream like view across a forest.

One Switch Games Blogged in 2010

Accessible GameBase List - Swarm of one-button playable games.
Circus - Another 1970's arcade game funked up somewhat.
Drop Zone - RAF themed on-line game with one-switch-ish controls.
Fall - Frenetic platform game from William Pilgrim.
Fotonica - Wonderfully atmospheric 3D jumping platform game.
Gambler - Fantastically quirky mix of 5 mini-games set in the ancient far east.
Gamma IV Collection - Around 80(!) games, with a few of the best here.
Indie Kombat - Fish Fish Bang Bang vs. Fish Squid Time Machine.
Jazz Ball - JezzBall game of skill remade and niced up.
Mind F**k - Quite a fun two-player only game, if a bit rudey.
Missile Strike - Accessible Missile Command by Graeme Singh.
Olympics Squared - On-line odd-ball mini-sports collection.
Pebble - On-line stone skimming game.
Picture Puzzle - Another highly accessible Grame Singh game.
pOnd - Spooky game where your switch controls your breathing.
Puz - A colour matching puzzle game by William Pilgrim.
Shoot 1UP (Xbox 360) - Bullet hell game with excellent features.
Switch Curling - One or Two player Winter Olympic sport.
Switch Lanes - 10-pin bowling.
SYNSO Championship Edition - Ballistical-colourful game of survival.
To Hell With Johnny - 15+ Platform game with great accessibility features.
TIG Duels - Updated version of this one-switch fencing classic.
Zogan's Log - On-line 3D shoot-em-up exploration game. Impressive graphics.

Favourite Other Posts of 2010

The soft launch of the Accessible GameBase; Cheap PS2 to Xbox 360 and PS3 adapters; NanoGames competition; The first Electronic Soup Podcasts; Running the London Marathon; Console and Gadgets recreating the DragonPlus RPG DuoCon2; Morgan's Wonderland and Accessible Playgrounds;  Design Tips for Subtitled Games; Accessible Gaming in Qatar; The Ambiomat; Happy Day; Sophie's Accessible Toys; AbleGames 2010; Part of the Syndrome to Be; Kinect Accessibility Roundtable; Tuke Sprint Interactives; EuroGamer 2010 Podcast; For Amusement Only; Real Time Sensory Substitution; Accessible Sledge; Gavin Philips; Happy 2011.

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