The Disability Visibility Project announced a giveaway recently for an Xbox Adaptive Controller set from Microsoft for one member of the community. Congratulations to the winners of the giveaway: Rosie Sachtschale and Ashley Kenyon-Pettit! Since we had two winning entries we are delighted that Microsoft could hook both of them up with an Xbox Adaptive Controller set! Below is Rosie’s essay and you can read Ashley’s essay here.
How Gaming Brings Me Joy
By Rosie Sachtschale
I grew up mostly playing GameBoy games. I still have my translucent pink GameBoy Advance that my grandparents gave to me back in the year 2000. I still play my Pokemon Ruby Version on it sometimes. Oh, and Sims Urbz! I loved that game! (It even has a character in a wheelchair, the editor for the town newspaper)
In recent years I have started gaming even more and on different platforms. I am still with my high school sweetheart (eight years later!) and he is super into gaming. He is able-bodied and gaming is an activity we can enjoy together that isn’t too physically taxing for me. I play on my computer or his Xbox One. I really like playing Monster Hunter World on the Xbox. On my computer my favorite game is Skyrim.
I also meet weekly with my friends to play DnD and other tabletop games. We have a lot of fun coming up with characters and going on quests. Sometimes I have to play laying down on someone’s couch if I am having a rough day, but that isn’t a big deal.
One reason I love gaming is because I get to play as characters that can do all sorts of incredible things! I can play as powerful mages, mighty warriors, and fearless explorers. When I am having a bad pain/fatigue day it really cheers me up to play some games where I can get immersed in another world. It helps distract my mind from how uncomfortable my body feels.
For my computer I use an ergonomic vertical mouse that is easier on my hand. Still have issues with my other hand cramping up while using the WASD keys though. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way to make the standard Xbox controller comfortable for my hands. I have a connective tissue disorder that effects every system in my body. It makes all my joints and ligaments hypermobile so they bend and shift around in ways they shouldn’t. My thumbs bend back when I use the thumbsticks and I also get problems with my fingers and wrists. It gets painful pretty quickly, even with bracing. The condition is somewhat progressive and has gotten worse in recent years. I am good at adapting to my body’s quirky ways and like finding creative ways to solve problems. My disability is not static, my level of impairment can vary from day to day depending on which joints won’t stay in place or which organ systems are misbehaving. If one part of my body isn’t working on a given day I find ways to compensate with other parts of my body if I can.
I was so excited to hear about the Xbox Adaptive Controller a few months back on the disabled gamers subreddit! I am sure there is a learning curve to it. I think tinkering around with what setup works best for me would be part of the fun. I’m thinking putting some of the switches under my elbows could be a good option. If I had the money to spare I would have ordered one of these controllers immediately! Adaptive tech is always pricey. I am hoping that the cost will go down a little once the controller has been out for awhile so that more disabled gamers can have access to it. I also hope that other companies will follow suit and come out with their own adaptable controllers. There are a lot of avid gamers in the disabled community, and plenty more people that probably would be if they had access to the tools they need for gaming.
I would love to get the chance to play with this controller and its accessories. I could write a piece about it for my blog, let other gamers with similar issues know what setups work well.
Rosie Sachtschale is a 23 year old artist. She spends most of her time creating artwork, gaming, and going on IRL adventures with friends. Her cat, Ollivander is her faithful sidekick who has been known to whine loudly at everyone else when Rosie is not home. She lives with multiple chronic illnesses, including a connective tissue disorder. She can be found online at cyberneticrose.com