Many people with Duchenne or physical disabilities play video games because it’s a way to stay competitive in a less physical environment and connect with friends who may live far away, when traveling becomes difficult.
There are thousands of video games you can play, but only a handful of them take accessibility seriously, adding the ability to remap buttons, use different inputs, or change the difficulty. Here are a few that have those features across myriad video game genres, with ratings from E for everyone to M for mature (ages 17 and older). Suggestions from members of our Discord server, CD GG, are also included.
A handful of organizations also specialize in helping those with disabilities to play their favorite games. You can meet with them to discuss your needs and they can find a custom solution that works for you. Additionally, plenty of gamers that have mobility challenges have discussed their experiences online and can offer advice on selecting the best devices and games and assisting with the often-complex set-up process.
Accessible Video Games
Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (Rated Mature 17+)
The latest installment in the franchise takes you to England as a Viking. This game allows full button remapping and customizable difficulties.
Hades (Rated Teen)
This modern dungeon crawler has won numerous game awards and allows you to choose a weapon in the game that works best for your mobility needs. There’s also a “God Mode” that makes a game known for its difficulty a bit easier.
Gears 5 (Rated Mature 17+)
Gears 5 is one of the few modern first-person shooters that have a plethora of accessibility options, not just for those with mobility impairments, but also for people with visual and auditory ones as well.
Ratchet & Clank: A Rift Apart (Rated Everyone 10+)
There are plenty of adjustments that make this game easier to play for someone with a physical disability. For one, instead of repeatedly tapping a button, you can simply set it to a toggle. You can also auto-fire your weapon so all you have to focus on is aiming.
The Last of Us 2 (Rated Mature 17+)
Developer Naughty Dog collaborated with disabled gamers during the design phase of the game. Because of that collaboration, there are 60 different options to adjust in the accessibility menu, allowing you to play the way that best works for you.
Forza Horizon 5 (Rated Everyone)
Racing games like Forza Horizon 5 are typically easier to map to adaptive controllers because there are three main inputs: steering, braking, and accelerating. Plus, Forza Horizon 5 includes braking and steering assist in offline play and the ability to skip difficult challenges in the story mode a person with a disability may have trouble completing.
Can I Play That
This website allows you to see how accessible hundreds of games in its codex are. It’s a valuable tool when a new game comes out and you are wondering if you’ll be able to play it with your specific abilities.
We polled members of our Discord server, which includes people with Duchenne who love gaming, to see what their top games are. They also told us why particular games are more accessible than others. You can join that server at the following link: https://discord.gg/QBFQpAMhea
GTA 5 (Rated Mature 17+)
According to Dain, who plays video games with a Quadstick, GTA can be a great way to learn how to use the device, which uses your head movement, sucking in air, and blowing air out as inputs. You can run, drive a car, fly a plane, and so much more. That allows you to practice using the device in a variety of ways.
Farming Simulator 22’
For Casey, who has Duchenne and goes by “Keggarino” online, Farming Simulator allows him to do the things he loves that he wouldn’t normally be able to do in real life. He also uses a Quadstick to control the various farming equipment, from plows to tractors to trucks.
“For non-gamers, simulation games are kind of weird and silly. But when you’re disabled, it’s the best – we get to experience things we wouldn’t otherwise be able to,” Casey said.
Rocket League was tied for second place among the members of our Discord server. The game is like soccer, but instead of controlling players you control cars with rockets on them. The goal is to use the car to hit an oversized soccer ball into the net. Like Forza Horizon, there are minimal inputs, making it easier to play with a device like a Quadstick. It’s quite simple to learn but difficult to master.
Accessible Gaming Organizations
If this all seems overwhelming to you, there are plenty of organizations out there that can help guide your accessible setup.
The Able Gamers Charity
The AbleGamers Charity provides one-on-one guidance for you to be able to play the game of your choice.
Evil Controllers is known for their custom controllers and their accessibility division, which will also work one-on-one with you to design the best control system.
Enabled Play focuses on leveling the technological playing field by allowing you to control your computer with your voice, face and body.
Disabled content creators such as RockyNoHands have tips and trips to use accessible gaming devices like the Quadstick their respective social media channels. The YouTube channels All Access Life and Gaming Readapted are devoted to testing out and educating people about new adaptive gaming equipment. Additionally, there is a very active community on Reddit focused on adaptive and accessible gaming.