New Xbox Adaptive Controller Empowers Gamers With Disabilities from rose fin's blog

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Video games are fantastic. They let us explore new worlds, become large than life, and are generally a whole lot of fun, but for some folks, finding a way to play these games can be challenging. Individuals with physical disabilities often need to invent creative solutions on how to do things like move a mouse or tap a button. Having limited mobility can even prevent some gamers from being able to play the games they’re most excited about.

Companies like AbleGamers been working projects to create custom controllers that use alternate control schemes and technology to make gaming a possibility for anyone. No challenge seems to tough for them to overcome and the success stories featured on their site are truly heartwarming (Prepare your heartstrings, they will get tugged).  There’s only one problem. These custom controllers can’t really be mass produced and so getting one for yourself can be tough. That is, until now.

Recently Microsoft partnered up with The AbleGamers Charity, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, Craig Hospital, SpecialEffect, and Warfighter Engaged to design something that could be manufactured and sold around the wold. On May 16th Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, announced the creation of an Xbox One / Windows 10 PC controller that will adapt to the needs of the gamer using it.

Spencer stated “The Xbox Adaptive Controller has been years in the making, though we realize that this is only one step along our journey of inclusive design and that we have more work ahead. This has been a passion project for people around the world, both inside Microsoft and beyond. We’re thrilled to introduce it to the world today, tell the story behind it, and take what we have learned on our journey to inform future initiatives in inclusive design.”

The Xbox Adaptive Controller features a large frame with programmable buttons that can be easily manipulated. It’s also customizable; including a wide range of additional external inputs that allow users to add-on other switches from third-party manufacturers. This is a big step forward for gaming and will hopefully encourage other companies to create products with inclusivity in mind.

Launching later this year, the Xbox Adaptive Controller will be available exclusively through Microsoft Store and sell for $99.99 USD. You can learn more at Xbox.com or check out Ability Week at Microsoft Store locations. From Tuesday, May 29, through Saturday, June 2, Microsoft is hosting events that will showcase hearing, vision, mobility, and cognitive assistive technologies.

I took a look at old video game consoles, like the Atari and the Intellivision, that are coming back through updated designs and modernized technology. These systems are pretty well known due to their popularity and advancements they made at the time of their release, but there are also a bevy of consoles that never really made it into the spotlight despite their contributions to gaming world. If you’re as curious and enthusiastic about video games as I am, then you should totally check out Even Amos’ book, The Game Console.

According to Even, “It all started with Wikipedia.” Being an amateur photographer and enjoying reading about consoles, he was always troubled by the quality of the photographs on Wikipedia. Due to the fact that Wikipedia requires images to be under a free license, most images were uploaded by Wikipedia’s own editors who often did not have the resources to take good photos.

Evan started taking photos of his own systems to replace the unfortunate images the site provided and if you search for any particular console on Wikipedia, you’ll most likely see his name on the images there. Once Evan finished with his own collection, he began reaching out to other gamers; asking if he could document their consoles as well. Eventually, he ran a successful Kickstarter to help fund his passion which evolved into The Game Console book.

The book covers the history of video game systems broken down into chapters for each generation of console, from the Magnavox Odyssey which released in 1972 all the way up to the Steam Link which came out in 2015.

Inside these chapters, each console is presented with a clean, crisp glamour shot, an exciting interior breakdown, and a short, sweet chunk of information that illustrates how each system played its part in making video games one of our favorite pastimes.

I had never heard of many of the earlier systems like the Entex Adventure Vision (1982) or the Magnavox Odyssey (1972) and some of the details about these gaming systems were truly fascinating.

One such example is the fact that some systems overcame the limitation of their simplistic graphics and lack of colors by providing gamers with static cling overlays that you would stick to your television screen. Imagine having to stick a colored film to your screen just to play your favorite game! Facts like this really struck me as I had no idea the kinds of innovations that early designers came up with to entertain us.

Even Amos’ The Game Console is not an exhaustive, scholarly tome of video game information that threatens to put the reader to sleep, but instead an entertaining gallery that points at moments in our technological history.

beautiful photography honors each system and allows us to celebrate how the video game industry has struggled and evolved over the past 40 years. If you love video games and are curious how the industry came to be, then you’ll probably have a blast reading The Game Console.

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By rose fin
Added Oct 10 '19


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