Francis Alÿs Children’s Games x Tar Heel Gameplay

Make a snowball prompt, obscures a child sitting down in snow.
Tar Heel Gameplay prompt: Make a snowball. Behind is a child sitting down int he snow.

Using the Tar Heel Gameplay website, it’s easy to make games and activities out of YouTube videos. Tar Heel Gameplay has enabled me to convert ten of Francis Alÿs “Children’s Games” videos recorded from around the world, into very low-pressure accessibility activities. If you can activate a mouse click or a space bar press (perhaps using special assistive technology), it should be possible to play these, certainly on a Windows PC using Chrome.

If you sign up for an account at Tar Heel Gameplay, you can create simple activities yourself. It’s possible to make a multiple-choice adventure game, for example, with branching choices from the “Advanced” Create tab. Easier still is to make a “Basic” gameplay where the chosen video will pause after a fixed length of time, waiting for the user to decide when the action should continue. Whatever you decide, give the Gameplay a name, rating, topic and language then publish it. Next select Home, Find a Gameplay, then search for your creation. Click on it to play. You can then share the link as I’m doing with you below.

Games adapted in this way include: Kick the Bottle (game 1), African Subbuteo (game 27), Sandcastles (game 6), Skipping (game 22), Snow Games (game 33), Snail Races (game 31), Don’t Step on the Cracks (game 23), Hand Stacks (game 21) and a couple for parental guidance perhaps… The Wheel (game 29) played by a very brave lad, and Mirrors (game 15) a deserted town first-person shooter for kids in real life using the sun as a weapon. Some of these activities have a surprise ending such as Snail Races and African Subbuteo.

List of children's games in Tar Heel Gameplay. These include marble football in Africa, Sandcastles in Belgium, Hand Stacks in the middle east, Jump rope in East Asia and so on.

Lightweight 8BitDo Lite SE Controller

Close up of hands using a small gaming controller
Small purple flat gamepad rested on a table with a person pushing the controls. Wirelessly connected to a Nintendo Switch with a fishing game being played.

The Lite SE gamepad from 8BitDo is a lightweight low-pressure gamepad designed for use with the Nintendo Switch, PC and Android devices.

The thumbsticks and buttons all take less strength to activate compared with a conventional standard game controller. The sticks need about 25g of pressure and the buttons just a tiny bit more.

All of the main controls are available on the surface, so there is no need to reach around to the top for the normal shoulder buttons. Lightweight alterative buttons are also available for the stick-click buttons (labelled L3 and R3 here). The L2 and R2 buttons are digital (full on or off) in effect.

The controller is roughly 12 x 6.5cm. The distance from the stick to the furthest button is approximately 3.5cm. The buttons are about 7mm in diameter. 

The back of the controller has a grippy surface which holds the controller stable on some surfaces better than others. 

The controller has a ‘D’ Direct Input mode that is suitable for converting to Xbox or PlayStation use via a Titan One or Titan Two adapter using a suitable ‘script’. These scripts can boost the stick sensitivity further. Please contact us if you need help with this or follow those links.

Other lightweight controllers are available, such as those featured in our earlier post on modified standard gamepads:

Low-Force Controllers

‘Easy To Play Games’ Website

Montage of game screens
Dart board with huge red circular target reticule over the number 5.

Easy To Play Games is a new website hosting a range of simple control games for PC. Most are intended to be playable with one or two buttons alone. New games are being added on a regular basis at the time of writing.

Some highlights include:

Darts: This has three difficulty levels where aiming becomes progressively more difficult. It also has a free play mode, where you can practice or play your own Darts games. This might be closest to the bullseye, round-the-clock, cricket, or my favourite (and very mean) game of Killer Darts.

Dino Safari: Stop the dinosaurs running off the screen to attack the villagers. Very much like many modern ticket-redemption target-shooting arcade games, but with one-button control. A bit of blood in this one, so not one for very young children. This is especially the case for the somewhat grisly “Manic Santa” game, so parental guidance is advised for these two.

Racing Game: A top-down one-button racing game with big tracks to get around. Good fun.

Blitz Game: A classic (1979!) game made one-button accessible with a range of difficulty levels. Your plane is losing altitude fast over a cityscape (which I like to imagine is deserted). Drop bombs to clear a runway to land on.

Submarine Game: A tricky underwater maze game.

Hockey: 1 or 2 player Pong.

Mega Worm Hole: A Jetpack Joyride-influenced game with many levels to get through.

All sorts of games have been pouring out lately. These include a Quiz game; Hangman; Rock, Paper, Scissors; Shooters and more. The author Ben seems very receptive to ideas for improvements, too.

The games are free to download and play,  but those who subscribe via a Patreon subscription, are given early access perks. This includes a line to the author to make suggestions for updates and new games.

Find these games and more at:

Hockey game. Overhead view of a grassy pitch. White brick walls. Wooden goal posts either side. Two bats and a black puck with skull.

How to use… the Game Control Mixer XAC

Show Transcript

The GCM XAC is an expansion kit for the Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller. It’s one of a range of game control mixer systems from and Celtic Magic which all make use of a Titan Two adapter. These systems aim to enhance the abilities of players who can operate at least one thumbstick or joystick but not a full gamepad.

The GCM kit consists of an instruction booklet, Titan Two adapter and two upgrade options including the Bluetooth kit. It’s intended to be used with an Xbox Adaptive Controller and one or two joysticks but it can also work with other standard gamepads. You can see the instructions online by visiting, then going to the Library, then Instructions and in this example clicking on GCM XAC Playstation.

So what can it do? The Titan has eight different slots which you can select from the front of the controller using the buttons on either side of the LED number display or from the controller itself. These eight different slots give eight different ways of using the Xbox Adaptive Controller or other connected controllers. Slot 1 is the Mouse Mode so the stick that’s connected will move the mouse pointer and you’ll have access to Left Click and Right Click through your connected game controller or switches. There’s also a special Axis Lock which will lock movement onto a horizontal plane or a vertical plane as well as drag for people who might not be able to hold a button and various other controls, too. So if you plug a switch into the A socket at the back of the XAC which acts as Cross in Playstation mode you’ll get Left Click. Left Stick mode will act as the mouse pointer. Right Stick mode is a more precise pointer and it moves more slowly. Cross or the A button, which are the same thing, is the Left Click and B, or Circle, the same thing again, is Right Click. Square, or X on an Xbox, will lock you to a single axis – left and right. Press it again and you have just up and down movement. Press again and you’re free. Triangle or Y is for dragging. This is the Left Click held down. A red LED means it’s latched, a blue LED – unlatched. Using an on-screen keyboard you can use this mouse system for text entry. Slots 2 to 8 are the gamepad modes. There’s a PC or Xbox 360 controller emulation mode in Slot 2. The most commonly used one will be Slot 3 which tries to automatically detect which games console you’re connected to. Look at the help guide later on in the instructions for how to connect to the machine you want to. There are many machines it will connect to but some require extra adapters. It’s always possible to use the system alongside an extra gamepad controller, either for a helper or just as part of the mix. For Playstation 4 use you do need to have an extra controller attached. One of the most important features is the View button. This works as a special Shift control and it enables the Left and Right joysticks to be set into any one of 24 different modes as shown in this guide. This includes making either stick act as a Left Stick, a Right Stick, D-pad, Shape, or, if on Xbox, the ABXY buttons. It also gives access to Menu buttons including Touch, Click or View and some special exploration and driving modes and more. If you hold Shift which is via the View button or a connected switch then move the joystick up, right, down or left one to six times, you can access any of these different modes. So, for example, if you hold Shift and move the stick to the right two times that takes you to East 2 Shapes Mode. The small Titan Two display will change to reflect this. It will turn a pink number 2 for East Mode number 2. When set in this mode East 2 is the Shape Stick or ABXY on Xbox. On a Playstation, in this mode, if you push up it will act as a Triangle. If you pull down: Cross. Push right, you’ll get a Circle and push left: Square. Some special modes are available. If you Shift and pull down you can get into these South Modes. South 1 is a special Explore Mode where with a single stick you can move around a 3D world. You can use the stick to look left and right. If you push up you’ll walk forward and if you pull back four different times you’ll either move backwards or look up, move backwards again or look down. There’s a simpler version of that with the South 4S4 Mode. You’d get to that by holding Shift or the View button or View switch and pull down four times to enter the S4 South 4 Mode. Here you’d enter a basic Explorer Mode on the joystick which is a much simpler version of S1 where you’d simply look left and right with the stick and could move forward and back in a 3D world. Similarly, S2 Mode is a Driving Mode and that merges steering left and right which would normally be with the Left Stick and Right and also the triggers – the L2 and R2 – all onto one single stick. Here, if you push up, you can accelerate, pull down you’ll decelerate or brake and you can steer left and right – again all on one stick. Hold Shift and push up once for North 1 Mode. From here you can get to all the conventional Menu options and that includes pushing left, you can get at Touch Click, View or Minus, depending on if you’re using an Xbox, Playstation or Nintendo. One Stick and one Shift button is enough to reach all the controls on a Playstation, Xbox or Nintendo controller. There are some special modes that try to simulate touch and six axis movement. This is for advanced use. Shift also gives a secondary function to buttons. For example, if you hold Shift and press Cross or A (the same thing here) on a Playstation this is the Playstation Home button. There’s also a special Tap Mode which allows you to get some extra controls. For example, if you tap the Shift button five times it will trigger a short press of the L3 and R3 buttons at the same time which is useful in some games. From Slot 1 Mouse Mode you tap Shift six times to move into the gamepad modes. From all of those you have to go to North 6, tap shift six time to rotate the stick to go through all of the available modes, 1 – 8 and then press Shift to select. For advanced use a Windows PC can be brought into the mix using a quality USB cable. This makes it possible to use speech and other utilities. For example, Crawl, Walk, Run, Jog, Sprint are all possible using a combination of a connected PC and software like Voice Attack. There are profiles available online to help with that advanced use. Customisation options are possible upon request, such as increasing the sensitivity of joysticks, simplifying mode changing, blocking controls and so on. PGA Tour 2K21 shows a mix of shifted modes. West 1 and East 2 here. Pure Pool also shows some shifted modes. Left Stick, Right Stick and Shapes modes. Tekken 7 shows use of the Shape or ABXY modes, E2 and E5. E5 is an auto-repeating mode which can really help with a fighting game. Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture on the Playstation 4 shows use of the S1 Explore Mode where you can explore the world using a single joystick. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe shows use of the West 4 Mode which combines A and B and Left and on one stick. Gran Turismo shows use of the Driving Mode, S2. A slower mode, S5, is also available. Pinball FX 3 shows use of the West 3 Mode which combines shoulder buttons all onto one stick. Peggle 2 and the West 4 Mode where you can aim and fire balls all from one stick. This old retro game, Phoenix, on a RetroPie, shows use of the East 4 Mode. If there’s anything we can do to make gaming more accessible for you, please do get in touch.

The GCM XAC Titan Two is an expansion kit for the Microsoft Xbox Adaptive Controller from We have used it to support people who can only activate a relatively small number of physical controls at once.

It has a number of features of note including:

1: Special SHIFT modes

The left and right-stick can be set to act in one of 24 different ways at any time. Basic modes include access to left-stick, right-stick, d-pad, shapes/ABXY and the shoulder-buttons. Other modes include PS4/PS5 glide-pad emulation, and a way to drive or explore a 3D world with a single stick. Sticks can be mixed in any combination. Other SHIFT features are detailed in the video above.

SHIFTING is via the XAC VIEW button, either tapping or holding and using other controls at the same time.

Xbox VIEW button. Used as SHIFT.
Change joystick modes by holding SHIFT then moving any stick North, East, South or West 1-6 times.
Game Control Mixer (GCM XAC) joystick guide

2: KMG capture (Keyboard, Mouse, Gamepad)

By connecting a Windows PC to the PROG socket on the back of the Titan Two, a large range of PC compatible controls can be added. This includes speech with analogue control such as saying “walk”, “jog”, “run”, and “sprint” to get different forward speeds. A large range of mixes is possible.

3: Cross-platform and Co-Pilot

It’s possible to use a XAC with a Playstation 5, PS4, PS3, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC (as a joystick or a mouse) and Raspberry Pi. Connection with other devices is possible too (eg the SEGA Dreamcast and Playstation), sometimes requiring extra hardware..

4: Customisation

A number of custom configurations can be requested, including shielding off controls that may causing access problems.

Get in touch

If you’d like anymore information or help with accessible gaming, please contact us through the SpecialEffect website:

Video By Cara Jessop
Music: Sleep Tight by Stanley Gurvich (from

New One Button PC Games (Nov 2020)

Chill Balloon, hot air balloon floating across a lovely landscape.
Witches stare on at a pumpkin, with an arrow and powerbar next to it.
Chill Balloon, hot air balloon floating across a lovely landscape.
Brick maze with three triangular space ships.

A selection of single button (aka one-switch) games for the PC that were created as part of a One Button Game Jam 2020 competition in 2020. These games are designed to be started, played and restarted using a single button (normally the SPACE BAR or the mouse left-click). Some of the entries are also low pressure games, where you don’t need to do anything very quickly. Most are for PC, Mac, Linux and/or are possible to play online. All are donationware: you can choose to play them for free or make a donation to the programmers.

Chill Balloon. A relaxed balloon flying game. Very low pressure. Fly at your leisure over a British countryside, with animals freely running around. There is just point of accuracy required at the end, where you try to land on a large round target area.

Little Seed Grow. Grow a seed into a full fruit or vegetable, and can choose to feed a beetle too while doing so. One switch will control the weather and time of day to match the needs of the plant.

One Button Peggle. An online bagatelle/Peggle like game for one switch. Try to hit all the pegs with your limited supply of balls.

One Button Dungeon. Enter every room to complete this simple puzzle game.

Pumpkin Toss. Four obstacle courses to overcome by launching your Pumpkin rightwards.

Xbox Touch Controls (Android)

An Android phone with touch-screen controls being rearranged by the user for greater comfort.

With the Xbox subscription service “Game Pass Ultimate”, it’s possible to play a small range of Xbox mobile games purely with touch-screen controls. No additional controller required. These are presently…

  • Dead Cells
  • Gucamelee! 2
  • Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
  • Hotshot Racing
  • Killer Instinct
  • New Super Lucky’s Tale
  • Slay The Spire
  • Streets of Rage 4
  • Tell Me Why
  • UnderMine

…there are customisation options allowing you to move the on-screen touch controls into a more comfortable position. It’s also possible to use game action symbols, such as a running figure, in place of conventional button symbols, making things easier to comprehend.

Three symbols. A stick figure jumping over three ascending slanted lines. A bolt of lightening with six emphasising lines. A stick figure ducking under three dotted lines, possibly 3 bullets.
Someone holding a large tablet computer, with very small touch-screen controls. Text reads, Dead Cells.
10 small mobile phones, showing gameplay and text for 
Minecraft Dungeons
New Super Lucky’s Tale
Hotshot Racing
Dead Cells
Gucamelee! 2
Tell Me Why
Killer Instinct
Streets of Rage 4
Slay The Spire
Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.

For more information on access to gaming on Android, please use the ‘Android’ category and if you have any questions about accessible gaming, please visit the ‘Contact Us’ page.