Graphic showing four circles representing the four resources. The fourth circle is highlighted indicating this is the fourth resource.


This resource is intended to capture recommendations for adaptive gaming setups for new gamers. Adaptive gaming is highly specific to the gamer, so some recommendations may not work for some gamers. We have documented three examples of adaptive gaming on mobile, PC, and console using the free game Brawlhalla. These demos are intended just to exemplify some of the various assistive technology devices and techniques to create an adaptive gaming setup. The following topics are covered in this resource:

  1. Tips and Tricks for Creating Gaming Setups
  2. Adaptive Gaming Demos
    • Mobile Gaming with Switch Access
    • PC Gaming with Voice Access
    • Console Gaming with a Modified Controller

This page is a part of a series on adaptive gaming. Please visit the other resources in the series if you are looking to learn more:

  1. Introduction to Adaptive Gaming 
  2. Assistive Technology in Gaming
  3. Accessibility in Video Games and Gaming Goals
  4. Adaptive Gaming Demos and Recommendations (you are here)


Tips and Tricks

Below is a list of common practices that are used to make more effective adaptive gaming setups.

Switch Access

  • Too many switches can be a challenge, especially for one-handed gaming. Using techniques such as remapping or macros can help this.
  • The placement of switches can be creative. For buttons that are hit less often, like “option” buttons, places like the foot or elbow can work well.
  • Independence in gaming. Some setups require more initial setup than others. Making this process to be as independent as possible is ideal. (For example, the game needs to be thought of but also switching games and navigating the menu)
  • Utilizing the in-game accessibility features if the particular game has useful ones. For example, slow motion (reduce reaction time needed) mode in Last of Us 2.
  • Utilizing both controller modifications and switch access can be powerful and can eliminate a lot of extra buttons. Example: Using this project along with an XAC for inputs.

Controller Modifications

  • If a controller modification works for a gamer but is not compatible with the system, Adapters can be used. Using adapters to use controllers with different platforms often helps as controller modifications may not be available on all controller types.
  • Controller access is not just available on console. PC’s and mobile devices can often connect to controllers via cable or Bluetooth.
  • Using controller modifications in co-pilot mode if on a Windows PC or Xbox with voice controls or switch access can be a simple way to get joysticks and buttons.
  • Playing mobile or PC games with a controller is easier to do if the games have been built with controller input in mind. Steam has a category for controller-friendly Mobile games unfortunately, do not have this category but in the search bar of the app stores try searching “games with controller support” for the best results.

Mounting and Cable Management

Laptop lap trays provide a great option for adding hook and loop fasteners such as Velcro to mount switches, XAC Controller, switch interfaces, and joysticks. Easily accessible trays can be found on the various links below:

Honey-Can-Do Lap Desk – 59.3 x 40 x 6.4 cm

AboveTEK Lap Desk – 37.6 x 23.4 x 1.5 cm

LapGear Lap Desk – 34.8 x 25.4 x 5.1 cm

Michaels Lap Tray – 44.95cm x 31.97cm x 18.28cm

Arranging the hook and loop fasteners in an orientation that allows for customization of where the components are located is optimal. Wrapping the cables or tucking them underneath the laptop tray will allow the setup to be more managed.

overhead view of laptop tray with switches mounted on top

Controllers can also be mounted for gamers that will not be holding the controller during the gaming session. Hook and loop fasteners can be attached to the bottom of the controllers as well to stick to laptop trays. Controllers can also be mounted in different locations on the body, such as the feet, elbow, or face. Check out SpecialEffects’s has a resource on different mounting for controllers.

Brawlhalla Demo

Brawlhalla is a free fighting game available on IOS, Android, PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch, Xbox, and PlayStation. This game is used as a demo as it is accessible on all platforms and has simplified inputs with the potential to expand to complex inputs if the user wants. This game is rated E (for everyone) by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) so it is suitable for all ages.

To show some examples of adaptive gaming using Brawlhalla we have created three setups for mobile, PC, and console. The method of creating the setup for each version is intended to be different to show the possibilities. The standard input for some versions may be already accessible for some with some minor tweaks that will be described for each setup. It will also focus on displaying the usage or combination of controller modifications, software options, and switch access.

Please also check out SpecialEffect’s four case studies of gamers and their adaptive setup.

Brawlhalla Basics:

A quick explanation of the game can be found here. This game can be played with or without a joystick and requires the following inputs:

  1. Move Left
  2. Move Right
  3. Jump
  4. Light Attack
  5. Heavy Attack
  6. Dodge

The main inputs that are needed to play the game effectively are 1, 2, 3, and 4. The other inputs can be added if they are desired or available.

Brawlhalla is a fighting game but there are several game modes available within the game. For testing out the controls, we recommend using the offline play mode called “Training”. This game mode allows for the user to select any character and then be matched with a non-player character (NPC) that will not attack back. This allows the gamer to figure out the controls before moving into a game.

Menu for Brawlhalla game mode option with the "training" section highlighted


Mobile gaming is often the most cost-effective method of adaptive gaming for many. This is due to phone games being low-cost and mobile phones being common household devices. Phones also feature many built-in accessibility features to aid in the navigation of the device and gaming.

Brawlhalla can be downloaded from the Google Play or Apple App Store for free. There are multiple ways to access this game. The standard method is using the touch screen to use the inputs, as shown in the below photo. This can be an option for some gamers as the phone allows for a smaller screen and can be easily accessed.

Screenshot of brawlhalla on mobile with the touch controls visible.

These touch inputs may not work for every player. There are many ways a user can adapt the controls from the standard touch inputs, such as connecting a modified controller, switch access, or software changes. As an example, a demo playing the game with switch/joystick access by using an Xbox Adaptive Controller on Android.

An XAC can be used with Android or IOS devices to be used as a controller. The XAC then allows for switch and joystick input. For tutorials on how to connect your XAC to your phone, see below.

In this setup, the following devices were used:

Devices Cost (CAD) Input in-game Link
Xbox Adaptive Controller

Laptop Tray

$129.99 N/A Link
Hook and Loop Tape $10.99 N/A Link
Interact Switch ~ $10 A – Jump Link
MMC60 Switch ~ $10 X – Light Attack/Quick Pickup Link
Analog Thumbstick ~ $30 Movement Left and Right Link



Brawlhalla is available on both macOS software and Windows. The game can be downloaded through the game launcher Steam.  The minimum recommended requirements for the game to be played on PC for both macOS (version 10.7+ or Windows) is as such:

System Requirements Minimum
Memory 2 GB RAM
Storage 800 MB

The standard input for playing Brawlhalla on PC is keyboard or keyboard and mouse. These controls can be remapped to create a setup that is more accessible for the gamer.

keyboard settings for the game brawlhalla Keyboard mapping for brawlhalla


Tutorials for GAVPI voice control on PC can be found here:

SpecialEffect Voice Control Series

In this setup, the following devices were used:

Devices Cost (CAD) Input in-game Link
GAVPI Voice Control Software Free C – Quick attack
Up arrow key – Jump
Keyboard N/A Left and Right movement with arrow keys N/A


Brawlhalla is available on all consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch). The game must be purchased in digital stores as there is no physical disk version of this game. The standard input for a console is the controller for that certain console (i.e., Xbox One controller on Xbox One Console). Note that most earlier versions of controllers will not work on new consoles (i.e., PS3 controller will not work on PS5 console without an adapter). As an example, the standard controls for an Xbox One controller can be seen below:

Controls for xbox controller for Brawlhalla

The buttons can be remapped to potentially make the controller more accessible for the user. In the example below, a modified Xbox One controller is being used on an Xbox One console. This controller adaptation extends the placement of the triggers for players who may not be able to reach the rear bumpers and triggers of the controller.

In this setup, the following devices were used:

Devices Cost (CAD) Input in-game Link
Extended Triggers and Buttons for Xbox One Controller $2 All inputs Link