Video Gaming with a Limb Difference
by Amber Henson, on Sep 29, 2021 1:20:52 PM
Whether it’s a first-person shooter, RPG, driving simulator, or some other genre, video games are a pastime that many people share. Playing these games with interfaces that are designed to be used by two “typical” hands can pose real challenges. Many individuals with upper limb difference have found ways to get back in the game!
A few examples are:
- Changing the controller
- Changing the type of gaming system
- Using a prosthesis to assist
Changing the controller
One option is to purchase an adaptive controller. Evil Controllers offers one-handed custom accessible controllers for the PlayStation and X-Box. You can watch an example of one of these controllers on YouTube.
There are also options for the Nintendo Switch - designers have been using 3-D printing to create one-handed controllers. This Washington Post article goes into great detail about ways to customize the Joy-Cons (the Switch’s controllers).
For people with bilateral limb loss, check out X-Box’s official adaptive controller. People with unilateral limb loss may also find that controller useful. Below is the set-up that the dad of our bilateral patient put together for his son:
Be sure to talk with your prosthetist about your gaming goals, be it your job or a hobby. Not only can they give you advice about what has worked for other patients, they may be able to help you modify your controller. Mac and Cullen in our Northwest center moved a right trigger button to the left side of the controller for one of their patients (you can see the controller in use in the image at the top of this article):
Changing the type of gaming system
If you’ve been a console user before but find adaptive controllers a bit too much to deal with, changing to PC/Mac gaming is an option. With key mapping and mouse control, using a computer can keep things simple. Looking for game ideas? Game Revolution has a list of five great games you can play with one hand (includes a couple of PC games and console games).
Using a prosthesis to assist
Prosthetic devices have made significant advancements over the past several years. Myoelectric devices have motors and batteries on board to power the movement of the devices that are ultimately controlled by input from electrical signals generated by muscles in the residual limb. While this technology is great to use for things like wrapping a multi-articulating hand around a steering wheel or using an Electronic Terminal Device to hold a cantaloupe while you cut it, it’s not ideal for pushing the buttons on a gaming controller.
However, if stability is what you are looking for, that’s what prosthetic devices can offer you when it comes to gaming. One of our clinical therapy specialists, Lauren, worked with a patient who had their thumb and index finger intact but needed to add prosthetic fingers to be able to hold the controller. They chose i-Digits, though Naked Prosthetics and Point Designs are also good options when it comes to needing more hand strength and support.
We have just started to scratch the surface of the available options that exist for gamers with a limb difference. If you would like to learn more about how Arm Dynamics can get you back into the game, please contact us. If you are a gamer and have any suggestions for your peers, please comment below!