In my last blog, I mentioned my new position working in a non-profit. Today, I want to elaborate a bit on it. Don't worry though, this blog is still definitely game related.

To start, I work for a non-profit that exclusively serves people with developmental disabilities. I had mentioned before that this was a subject matter close to my heart and that is due to a few personal reasons I won't be divulging. That said, while I have already learned far more than I thought I would during my brief tenure, there is still an aspect that I do not have as clear a picture as I would like on. You see, the whole goal of any of the programs that we run is with the intention of assisting our individuals feel and become genuinely valued members of their communities. Programs range from visits to the zoo to fine arts courses (as taught by my incredibly talented wife). However, there does not seem to be much of a video-game based program despite a number of the people I personally know being avid gamers. 

My incredible wife in front of some of her pieces as well as some of the pieces done by her amazingly talented students. Am I a proud hubby? You betcha

As games become more and more complex, oftentimes so do the controls. Thankfully, there are a number of peripherals and programs that make playing even the most complicated RPG or fast-paced FPS

accessible to people with disabilities.  I know Game Informer has done a few pieces in the past on gamers with developmental disabilities, but I thought it would be of benefit to do a bit more research on the matter and share my findings with the GIO community. Below is just a sampling of what is currently available:



VAC (Voice Activated Commands) has a 14 day trial and costs $18 for the purchase of a single license. The cool thing with software like this is that it is fully customizable and can be used in conjuction with other peripherals to make up for any lack in accessibility. For example, if you've ever wanted to Fus Ro Dah for real, now you can! Sorta... Not really. But, you know what I mean. A program like this could be especially useful in  casting spells in an RPG or issuing squad commands in a shooter or RTS.

There is also a similar service called VoiceAttack that costs $10 instead. Below is a video of it being used in Skyrim:

The VAC builder allows you to tailor your controls to various voice commands.


For controllers, things can get a bit more complicated, not to mention pricier, but sites like offer a selection of controllers at reasonable prices that can be customized for people who have difficulties using one hand over the other. The below controller is an example of an Xbox 360 controller ($130) that is modded for use by individuals with limited mobility of their right arm. Evil Controller also offers modifications like trigger swaps and thumbstick extensions depending on the need.

Inputs can be moved from one side to the other depending on

which side hand will be used


Finally, the 3dRudder ($139.00) is a foot-based controller that, while not originally designed for people with disabilities, has nonetheless proven itself to be great for individuals who may not have the precision necessary to use a handheld controller. 

The rudder can mapped in a number of ways to control both movements

and actions


There are a number of other accessibility-related gaming solutions out there, but the above are some that I have personally been considering for individuals I work with or have seen in action myself. Still doing research on the subject matter though, and I am keenly interested in learning about other softwares and devices that can making gaming not simply more accessible, but more fun. So, if you have any suggestions or experiences you would like to share, I am all ears.


Thanks all!



P.S. This actually wasn't what I've been working on but after getting sick and then better, the person involved in my next blog ended up getting ill as well. Hopefully, it will be up by tomorrow though.