The Assistive Gaming Team
Assistive Gaming provides information on how people with disabilities can enjoy the latest and greatest games on Mac OS X. In other words, how can you play and make accessible games that were not made with accessibility in mind. The editors and authors use assistive technology to access their computer, so they know what they are talking about...
Note from Michael "got rezzed" Phillips, Editor
I have been gaming with a switch on the Mac since 1995, long before Mac OS X, long before sites like this even existed. I had no guidance, no advice. My middle-school AT specialist basically dropped off a PowerBook, a switch and the software to make said switch useful and said, "Okay, good luck with that!" This didn’t phase me one bit. I didn’t know any specifics, but I knew I loved my Mac and I knew I’d be able to have lots of fun using it.
Part of me totally understands why this site is important, but another part finds it kind of sad. I notice that both AT users and specialists are afraid to try new things, think outside the box, or worse, people never even consider the fact that gaming is possible at all. Of course, gaming’s possible, just about anything in life is possible. Sure, I’ll never walk, but I sure as Hell can rock at World of Warcraft. Of course, unlike most hardcore World of Warcraft players, I have a hot girlfriend too. Further proof of life’s near limitless possibilities! I want people to enjoy this site, I want people to learn from what we write, but if every contributer to this site simultaneously drops dead, I want people to know that just like anything, gaming with AT is totally possible, you just have to try it.
Note from Paul Natsch, Editor
I’ve been playing games on Macs since 1986. For me it all started when I saw an ad for the Headmaster Plus in Macworld magazine. The ad touted that somebody could type and use the mouse simultaneously with the Headmaster Plus. Up until then I had been clumsily nudging the mouse around on a table in front of me. So when I saw the ad I thought, "boy, that would make things a lot easier". So I called the manufacturer and they said that it actually was designed for disabled people like myself. So I ordered one immediately. When the Headmaster Plus arrived my world changed dramatically. And believe it or not I’m still using the same Headmaster Plus all these years later (although I’ve had to upgrade the parts periodically).
Aside from granting complete access to my Mac the Headmaster Plus opened the world of computer gaming to me. And I’ve been playing games on Macs ever since. At some point later on I discovered on-screen keyboards, eventually finding the excellent KeyStrokes. Between the Headmaster Plus, KeyStrokes, a neat little utility called One Finger Snap, and now MacSpeech Dictate, the world of computer gaming is now as open to me as it ever was. So even though, as a C4—C5 quadriplegic, I’m limited in so many ways, those limitations do not affect the use of the my computer and in me playing games on it because of assistive technology.
I’m proud to be part of the Assistive Gaming team and I think this website is a wonderful idea. In the short time that I’ve been a part of it I’ve already learned about technologies and other things that even I wasn’t aware of. These things have enhanced my computer gaming even further. I hope people find this website useful and game on!
Note from the publisher
I have been designing universal access solutions for Mac OS X since 2002 and one of the most frequently asked question by users is not whether they can do their home work with my software or write the next great novel (yes, this is entirely possible), but about what games can be played.
Even though the KeyStrokes and SwitchXS software provide full access to Mac OS X for a user with a physical impairments, that does not mean all games are accessibile and playable. Some games require fast action, pressing multiple keys at once. Other games enter a full-screen mode that captures the display and bans everything else from the screen, including assistive technology (and Apple’s own windows). With this site I hope it will become easier for users of assistive technology on the Mac to learn not only about fun new games, but also find out which games they are likely to be able to play and which ones not. And, leard some tricks on making games more accessible.
The editors and authors of this site all use assistive technology to access their Macs, so they not only know what they are writing about, but also share their tricks to enhance the playability of the games they play. If you use assistive technology and play games on the Mac, please contact us to see whether you can become a contributor to this site. This site is focussed on users with physical impairments, but we also welcome articles from people with other impairments. Oh yes, and you do not need to use any of the AssistiveWare software to be able to contribute. If you use other software or only special access hardware that’s fine too! As long as it is on a Mac...