Image: Christopher using his gaming setup. The two finger switches help him turn the Mech Warrior so that he can use voice commands for walking forwards when facing in the right direction. He uses the chin-controlled joystick for aiming, and everything else is controlled by his voice via the microphone seen at the bottom of the image.
Christopher’s been eyeing up the challenge of playing games like Mech Warrior 5 on his Xbox, but he finds the standard controller difficult to use. He has Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, and although he can access the left stick and a couple of buttons, it’s not at a speed that would allow him to get the best out of the games he wants to play.
Our specialist assessment team visited Christopher at home to look at what alternative or additional accessible tech might help to level up his gaming skills. They carefully considered all aspects of his gaming abilities and the practicalities of his environment before suggesting and loaning a setup that consists of a combination of a chin-controlled joystick, two switches positioned underneath his fingers and a comprehensive set of voice control commands that were created and implemented by the team.
In the right circumstances and with appropriate training, voice control can be a powerfully effective component in a successful accessible gaming setup. We’ve seen how it’s transformed the gaming experiences of Helen, Zoe and many others, and we’ve also been there to provide alternatives when it doesn’t quite work out – for example when the arrival of a loud new family dog scuppered its effectiveness for one gamer that we support. There’s an in-depth guide to getting started with voice control commands on our gameaccess website if you’d like to learn more.
For Christopher, it’s proving to be a game-changer. His mum got in touch to say he was getting on really well with the setup and, after further support from our team, they were able to increase the number of voice commands themselves. As with everyone we support, we’ll be there for Christopher in the future if and when he needs our help.