Switches control things that are challenging or impossible to use due to physical limitations. In gaming, switches replace the functions of a game controller or mouse and keyboard.
There are a wide variety of switches, which is great because there are a wide variety of players! Switches come in many shapes and sizes and have different pressure requirements to activate them.
We have tested hundreds of switches over our nearly twenty years of helping players with disabilities, and these are the ones we recommend and some tips on how we’ve seen them used:
Buttons (switches) are usually used to replace a single input on a standard controller. For instance, the A button on a controller could be remapped to a button (switch) and placed wherever you prefer.
We do not want to overload you with too many details on each of these switches, so we have added a button to each one that allows you to learn more from the manufacturer. We also share our recommended place to buy it. Unless the link is to the AbleGamers Shop, we do not use affiliate codes.
Light Touch Buttons
Light Touch Buttons require very little force to activate.
Light Touch switches are very versatile. We have seen them utilized by elbows, toes, and even as a replacement for bite switches.
Light Touch switches make a great replacement for DPAD.
Small / Medium / Large Switches
These switches are durable, requiring a little more force to activate. This allows for a little less accuracy needed. They are also larger, making it easier to press with gross movements. All of these are compatible with the Xbox Adaptive Controller and the Hori Flex.
Specs Switch (Small)
The Specs switch includes a strap that can be attached to the base for mounting and multiple-colored caps to color code specific buttons.
Jellybean Switch (Medium)
The Jellybean switch includes multiple-colored caps to color code specific buttons.
Big Red Switch (Large)
The Big Red Switch is very large, and it only comes in red.
The Big Red makes a great foot or head switch.
You can strap the spec switch to your palm or wrist to activate it when force is applied to a surface.
Logitech Adaptive Gaming Kit
This kit includes buttons, triggers, and a board for easy mounting. The kit is boxed in accessible packaging. This is an excellent option for the price and quality of the switches included. We highly recommend this kit, although joysticks are NOT included!
These switches can be placed on a muscle such as a calf or an eyebrow and activated with a small muscle twitch.
These switches are not as common, our recommendation is the Enabling Devices Twitch Switch:
Sip ‘n Puff Switch
These switches allow users to perform a sipping or puffing action to activate inputs.
Sip n Puff switches require strong control of the mouth and breathing, so players with difficulties in those areas or on ventilators will not be able to use these.
Our Recommendation is the Enabling Devices Sip n Puff Switch:
These should be cleaned regularly!
Bite Switches are kept in the mouth and activated by biting down.
Our recommendation is the AirTurn Bite Switch:
These should be cleaned regularly!
Pal Pads are durable flat buttons that require extremely little force to activate. We recommend the mini ones, but other sizes are available.
Joysticks come in many shapes and sizes. There are a few options in some categories, and in others, there is not much to choose from. We have listed our recommendation from each category:
This is a small joystick that you can use with a finger or other body part. These are very similar to the sticks on a standard controller, just separate from a controller.
Thumbstick Extension gives you freedom to place the thumbstick in any functional position for your mobility needs.
Our recommendation is the Mini XAC Thumbstick.
These are often used in flight simulator games, but in accessible gaming, they can make a great joystick with triggers and buttons all close together for easy reach.
Buttons on Flightsticks do not work when paired with an XAC.
We recommend the UltraStik 360FS.
These can usually be 3D printed for a fraction of the price.
These handles are great for different hand positions. The U-shaped one is great for your wrist to rest on, the dome one is great for your palm, and the standard joystick handles is good for a sturdy grip.
Our recommendations are the Ultramarc Ultrastik 360 toppers.
There are many other styles of handles, but these three are the most popular.
You can use or mount a standard controller and use the thumbsticks as a joystick!
Thumbstick toppers are fitted onto your standard controller’s thumbsticks. These can help with precision and help to alleviate hand pain while gaming.
Evil Thumbstick Toppers
These are essentially extended standard thumbsticks, effective and simple.
These are different styled, colored, and textured toppers. Some are meant for style or accuracy over accessibility, but they work very similarly.
3D printed solutions are a great alternative! At AbleGamers, we have a state of the art engineering lab equipped with 3D printers. If you have an accessible print and know what you need, submit a ticket and we may be able to print it for you!