Gaming as a Quadriplegic

Intro to Gaming

We know that you’re here because you want to play video games, and we love for players to discover how to play on their own, but this isn’t always easy. Quadriplegia is complex and people are unique. Luckily, there are solutions, tips, and various assistive technology that we have discovered during our years of helping people just like you. Our goal here is to take you on a quest of self-exploration to better inform yourself. The reward from this quest is our knowledge and among that, hopefully, the answers that you are seeking!

Challenges and Considerations of Gaming as a Quadriplegic

Quadriplegia can present very differently, with varying arm, finger, and hand control. There may be different obstacles for different people, but these are some of the challenges that we’ve noticed players commonly experience…

Gaming Equipment

Assistive technology can be intimidating, especially when paired with video games. The goal of these setups really depends on your goals as a player. Games requiring more buttons will require more complex setups.

Additionally, accessibility equipment can be hard to find, hard to learn, and hard to program. There are usually required adapters, various connections, and software involved with these setups.

Style of Play

One of the biggest challenges is simply adjusting to a new style of play. This challenge is specifically aimed at players who have previous gaming experience with a standard controller. Part of the process will be relearning how to play using a completely different setup, which may require patience and practice.

Setup

Setup is often a challenge for most gaming setups utilizing assistive technology. It can take a lot of time to get everything exactly right so that you can comfortably game and sometimes you must rely on someone else to set it all up. This can be a frustrating process and leave you with less time to play.

So what are my options?

Gaming Solutions

C1 – C4 Gaming

As a C1-C4 Quadriplegic, you will have varying head and neck functions. For players with difficulty breathing and/or extremely limited movement in the head or neck, consider submitting a ticket. Our Peer Counselors may be able to recommend other options.

Quadstick: The Quadstick is our best recommendation for players that have significant control of their head, neck, and/or mouth. This standalone controller can completely replace the functions of a standard controller. It is extremely helpful to have a solid understanding of gaming inputs and the actions that those inputs perform in-game.

It is important to note that the Quadstick has a very steep learning curve. It will take a lot of practice to master and requires a lot of work in the beginning. Although, once you find your preferred programming and get used to it, it is one of the most powerful solutions in accessible gaming.

C5 – C8 Gaming

As a C5-C8 Quadriplegic, you may have limited use of your upper limbs. If you have control of your mouth, neck, and/or eyes, there will be more options for you. Combine this with the function that you have above your neck and there are a few possibilities for you to explore.

Adaptive hub + Switches: This combines an adaptive hub (Xbox Adaptive Controller, Hori Flex, etc.) with assistive switches. These switches can be used to tailor a setup to your needs as a player. An extensive list of switches and their functions can be found here.

If you have controlled arm movements, you could replicate a standard controller using wrist joysticks paired with various switches.

These switches can be arranged in any way that works for you. The goal with this setup is to use switches that are comfortable for you to use while gaming. Keep in mind that these setups are not ideal for extremely complex or fast-paced games.

Quadstick + Switches: The Quadstick can be paired with assistive switches to effectively replace a standard controller. An extensive list of switches and their functions can be found here.

Example 1: If you have controlled arm movements and mouth control, you could use a Quadstick + switches to play a fast-paced first-person shooter. Wrist joysticks could be used to control movement and aiming, while the Quadstick itself could be programmed to shoot, run, throw grenades, etc.

Example 2: If you have controlled arm movements and mouth control, you could use a Quadstick + switches to play a racing game. The Quadstick could be programmed to shift and brake, while a wrist joystick could control steering and a large button could control the accelerator.

These are basic examples, but this knowledge can be applied to whatever games that you choose to play.

It is important to note that the Quadstick has a very steep learning curve. It will take a lot of practice to master and requires a lot of work in the beginning. Although, once you find your preferred programming and get used to it, it is one of the most powerful solutions in accessible gaming.

AbleGamers Recommends

Designated Space / Setup

We recommend keeping your equipment in a designated space for your gaming setup. This eliminates the need to set up the gaming station every time and will allow you to play whenever you’re ready. We also recommend mounting your equipment, so once you get it right, it doesn’t move! The most popular material for mounting switches is heavy-duty velcro. Velcro allows you to set a switch in its preferred position, so it doesn’t move while gaming.

Quadstick Only: Mounting Arm

AbleGamers recommends a mount for the QuadStick; this is critical to the overall functionality of the QuadStick. We particularly recommend the Magic Arm Mounting Kit.

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Still Looking for Help

The Peer Counseling team is at capacity for this month and unable to take on any more cases; but have no fear! We temporarily close to provide each player with the highest-quality experience possible and will open again on the first Tuesday of next month (June 4, 2024 @ 10am EST). We appreciate your understanding and look forward to hearing from you soon!