Intro to One-Handed 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. Gaming With Hemiparesis, Post-Stroke, Traumatic or Acquired Brain Injury, Amputations, or even severe Arthritis can be complicated, and everyone is unique. These things all normally translate into Gaming with one-hand. 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 with One-Hand
The main challenge when gaming with one-hand is trying to replace one entire side of buttons. Whether on a controller or mouse and keyboard, there are buttons that will need to be accessible on only one side. A player gaming with one hand will also have to deal with limited inputs.
Let’s explore some of the challenges and considerations.
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.
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.
Co-pilot is a feature that allows you to have certain inputs controlled by a second controller. This is useful for utilizing the thumbsticks on those controllers while using the buttons on a mounted controller. This is also great for having a friend play alongside and perform certain inputs. Want to learn more about Co-Pilot on Xbox or Playstation?
Example: A friend could control the gas and brakes in a racing game, and you could control the steering and shifting.
So what are my options?
Adaptive Hub + Switches: The first solution 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.
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.
Example: You could use a U-Shaped joystick topper and small switches in reach of your fingertips combined with a chin joystick.
Standalone Controller: The second solution is to use a standalone controller meant to aid with one-handed gaming. There are many options for these types of controllers, but we have listed below the ones that we recommend the most to our players.
Evil Controllers One-Handed
The Evil Controllers one-handed solution creates customized options depending on the circumstance. One entire side is outfitted with bumpers and the external thumbstick that allows the player to remap the triggers and buttons that they can’t reach to one side.
Xbox and PlayStation controllers are both available.
The Azeron is a unique, one-handed controller that has multiple keys for the fingers to activate and a built in thumbstick. There are a few different types available and some pretty colors too!
3D Printed Solutions
There are many 3D printed solutions. These options are extremely flexible and with creativity, can solve a lot of barriers to play!
We recommend these awesome prints by Akaki on Printables.
Patience and Practice
Part of the process will be relearning how to play using a completely different setup, which will require a lot of time, energy, and commitment.
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 keep a switch in its preferred position, so it doesn’t move while gaming. Below is an example of a player’s setup in our community!