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Project Details

A young man in wheelchair playing a computer game and smiling.

SpecialEffect

Levelling the gaming playing field

Project URL: specialeffect.org.uk
Project Twitter: @specialeffect

  • Health
  • Social Exclusion
  • Audiovisual
  • Physical Computing

SpecialEffect is the UK’s leading games accessibility outfit: a team of 13, plus a network of volunteers who are all dedicated to connecting physically disabled people to one of the twenty-first century’s biggest leisure pursuits: gaming.

The UK is Europe’s largest video game market and the average adult spends 11 hours a week on games. For many physically disabled people, games represent a brilliant way of connecting with able-bodied friends, and can have a profound impact on people’s quality of life, self-esteem and rehabilitation.

Much of the demand, therefore, for SpecialEffect’s services is for access to the latest chart-topping games, rather than games targeted specifically at the disabled user. ‘Before we arrived it was difficult for people with disabilities to find a way to play mainstream games with their friends,’ says founder Mick Donegan.

Donegan founded the organisation in 2007, with the UK’s first accessible games room. They’ve now expanded to offer face-to-face and tailored help and advice, as well as immediate specialist advice about accessible games and controllers via their website. Their assessments and loans are all absolutely free to the end user, and Donegan is adamant that there’s no 'one size fits all' solution.

For some it might be a loan of generic bits of kit like modified Xbox controllers. At the opposite end of the spectrum, they offer long-term support for the very severely disabled.

Image courtesy of Special Effects

Last updated: 23rd of July, 2014

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