Rory Steel’s daughter suffers from a rare condition that makes it difficult for her to play video games. So, over the long weekend, he ginned up a custom controller so that she could push Link around in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Steel’s daughter Eva suffers from a condition which, her father tells Channel 103, makes it difficult for her to play games with a traditional controller. So he purchased a plastic tackle box, some oversized buttons, and a pair of stand-up arcade cabinet sticks and got to work. By Sunday morning he’d rigged Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller (XAC) to send inputs to Nintendo’s tiny Joycon.
The magic component is a USB adapter that plugs into the side of the XAC, bridging the gap between Xbox and Nintendo hardware. Similar units are available online for as little as $25. The results put a big smile on her face, and earned plaudits from Microsoft’s executive vice president of gaming Phil Spencer, who called the project “incredible.”
Finished! Ava gives my homemade #accessibility controller V1.0 the thumbs up. She can play @Nintendo #BreathoftheWild on her #switch like her friends now. All thanks to @Microsoft #adaptiveController #XAC @brycej @ArranDyslexia @shanselman pic.twitter.com/dOhGnUFZa0— Rory Steel (@JerseyITGuy) January 19, 2020
This is just the sort of homebrew that Microsoft envisioned when it created the XAC in the first place. The device not only includes a set of oversized control surfaces but hardwired connections for adding additional components. The tricky bit was all the soldering. Thankfully, Steel has a background in technology; he’s the head of the Digital Jersey Academy, a center for digital excellence on the island of Jersey, a British Crown Dependency.
“So rare in this day and age,” Steel tweeted about the Adaptive Controller, which allows those with physical differences a “world without boundaries.”