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
Playing video games is loads of fun, especially for children like Ava Steel.
Ava and her brother were born with hereditary spastic paraplegia, a condition that restricts their movements and requires Ava to use a wheelchair. So when the sweet little girl saw her dad Rory having a great time playing “Zelda: Ocarina of Time,” she asked him to find a way for her to join in.
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As it turns out, Rory was the perfect person to make her a specialized controller! Not only is he a former IT teacher and the head of Digital Jersey Academy, but he’s also a self-proclaimed “tinkerer.”
The Jersey, United Kingdom, dad got started by purchasing one of Microsoft’s Xbox Adaptive Controllers and some odds and ends from eBay for about $143. Then he began modifying the controller so it would work with their Nintendo Switch, the only platform their version of “Zelda” is available on.
Over the course of a weekend, Rory devoted himself to “soldering and sorting wires.”
The excited dad posted updates on Twitter throughout the project, and as soon as he finished, he shared the incredible moment when Ava played the game for the first time. The thrilled look on her face says it all!
The precious video went viral, and it wasn’t long before Phil Spencer, the vice president of gaming at Microsoft Xbox, chimed in: “Incredible. And what a smile.”
Microsoft then reached out to offer Rory their guidance with any future controllers he might create. Plus, they gave Ava a new game!
“Accessibility isn’t profitable, but it is necessary,” Rory said about the experience later. “I, and all families like us, thank you for your efforts. Keep up the good work. These moments are what make me believe society is moving in the right direction despite the news.”
What began as one dad sharing his love of gaming is rapidly turning into a movement! Rory and Ava hope that more kids will have a chance to play video games once people realize how few adaptive controllers there are right now. Great job, Dad!
Watch Ava try out her new controller in the video above, and don’t forget to share this story with your friends.
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