Here's something to warm your heart on a chilly Monday morning: a Dad from Jersey has built a custom version of the Xbox Adaptive Controller to let his daughter play Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and there's a lovely video of her trying it out.
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
Rory Steel, head of learning centre Digital Jersey Academy, decided to create the controller after his daughter Ava struggled to play Breath of the Wild on Switch. Speaking to Channel 103, Steel explained Ava has HSP, a condition which limits her dexterity and makes standard controls unsuitable.
"We bought a Nintendo Switch for my daughter for Christmas, and she's got fine motor neurone issues - so it's great because she only needs to move the controller up and down - but when she started watching me play Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which is quite a complex game but she wanted to have a go but the controls were too complicated," Steel told Channel 103.
"Thankfully Microsoft has a device that enables children with dexterity issues to be able to use custom controllers with bug buttons and controls, so they can take part in what otherwise they wouldn't be able to."
Using the Xbox Adaptive Controller and a variety of eBay parts, Steel set about constructing the new controller, posting a few videos of the process of making it - and Ava's enthusiastic reaction to the final product.
The #1 quality of a digital professional... Patience... Making inroads with the aid of coffee! The controller project is on target for this afternoon. #accessibility @Nintendo #switch @Microsoft #adaptiveController pic.twitter.com/U5z1xjzROe— Rory Steel (@JerseyITGuy) January 19, 2020
Launched in 2018, the Xbox Adaptive Controller was created in close collaboration with gamers with disabilities - and it seems Microsoft is eager to seek Steel's input, as Phil Spencer has called the creation "incredible", while Steel says both Microsoft and Logitech have him with offers to help "create a more improved version two". Steel says he's going to work with them on this - but he still plans to release a walkthrough guide for his low-tech version so others can access Breath of the Wild as Ava now can.