How disabled gamers overcome the odds

Justin Cabrera


If you watched the Super Bowl, then you probably saw Microsoft’s “We All Win” commercial.

How disabled gamers overcome the odds

The ad depicts a bunch of kids with various mobility limitations who all share a love for gaming. Many of them can’t use both of their hands, which makes using traditional controllers difficult for them. Fortunately, these kids were able to game to their full potential with the Xbox Adaptive Controller.

Created in partnership with The AbleGamers Foundation, The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, Warfighter Engaged, and more, the Xbox Adaptive Controller is a highly customizable controller designed by and for the disabled gaming community. Because no two instances of disability are the same, the controller comes equipped with ports for every input on an Xbox controller, allowing the user to connect whatever accessories would help them most.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is highly customizable
Each port matches a button, letting the user create the perfect controller for their needs

Various extensions like pedals, joysticks, switches, and buttons allow the controller to fit the player’s specific needs. With their perfect setup, disabled gamers are no longer held back by their controllers, and they can get back to the hobby that they love.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is far from the first device aimed at helping disabled gamers. Custom controller manufacturer Evil Controllers makes customized Xbox and PlayStation controllers that make it easier for disabled gamers to play. Their one-handed controllers allow gamers to use the full capabilities of a typical controller with only one hand. For those with muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, or other conditions that limit motor mobility, Evil Controllers has created controllers that can be used by moving your head and mouth.

With or without special controllers, disabled gamers have made a splash in eSports. For most disabled gamers, fighting games are a natural fit due to their highly customizable control schemes, mind games, and dedicated competitive scenes.

Mike “BrolyLegs” Begum is a competitive Street Fighter and Smash Bros. player with arthrogryposis and scoliosis, preventing him from using his arms or legs. To play, BrolyLegs uses his cheek, tongue, and mouth to work a standard Xbox controller. While many players are surprised by BrolyLegs’ control scheme, he has proven his skill time and time again in Street Fighter tournaments, besting players with his Chun-Li (Chun-Li is considered one of the hardest and most technical characters in the game, and BrolyLegs is considered one of the best).

For BrolyLegs, traveling the world and competing in tournaments has changed his life. He has said that tournaments help him make friends and fuel his self-confidence. Playing his trademark rushdown, aggressive style with Chun-Li allows BrolyLegs to express himself to people in ways he otherwise wouldn’t be able to. While some players pity or even outright dismiss BrolyLegs in tournament, he is always quick to show them up with his immaculate spacing and mental play. Above all, BrolyLegs says he wants to be seen as a gamer and a competitor just like everyone else. Through his Street Fighter success, he hopes to inspire other disabled gamers to compete and accomplish their dreams.

Gaming is an amazing hobby and it should be as accessible as possible to anyone that wants to play. If you’d like to help the disabled gaming community, check out AbleGamers.

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