By: Michael Dao
For the past thirty years, an amazing gentleman, Ken Yankelevitz, has been making custom controllers for disabled gamers. He designs and builds controllers for quadriplegics that allow them to control games with their tongue, by blowing a puff of air, or whatever needs to be done, to control the game. Since 1981, he’s made over 800 mouth operated game controllers. What this one man has done for the disabled gaming community is beyond measure. However, as Ken gets close to seventy years of age, many are concerned that one day he will stop making these incredible controllers, and no one will be left to pick up where he left off.
That is until today. At the 2011 Pax Prime panel entitled, “Gamers Doing Good,” a company named Evil Controllers with the AbleGamers Foundation announced for the first time a new accessible gaming controller called the Adroit Switchblade. It has 19 programmable ports, and is completely modular, almost any switch conceivable can be connected to the box. Though each Switchblade comes with two small joysticks and a detachable rumble pack, the joysticks are not necessary. Custom joysticks can be created using four switches in any combination. This peripheral is for the Xbox 360 but can be converted with a simple adapter to provide compatibility with the Playstation and PC. This is also the beginning – the Switchblade is only the first in a line of controllers for the disabled from Evil Controllers, and the best part of all is that these controllers are made with affordability in mind. The controller will only cost a few hundred dollars.
Seeing the box in person is quite amazing – its simple, and well built and looks very solid. The finish on the box is a understated black gloss. Each switch port is highly programmable and you can even program macros into each individual switch. Evil Controllers is a great company to be manufacturing these, as they do have lots of controller experience, both servicing broken controllers, as well as making custom controllers for people who want custom Xbox Controllers. This is a big step in allowing disabled people to enjoy amazing game experiences.