How Controller Attachments are Changing GamingPosted: 26 Sep 2023
Thumb Soldiers are a company making inclusive controller attachments to allow all players to better enjoy gaming.
We chatted with David Chapman, Founder of Thumb Soldiers, about the work that they’re doing and how it’s having a positive impact on gamers of all backgrounds.
What does Thumb Soldiers do?
“We create attachments to put on controllers,” David explains, “I had an epiphany a few years ago on how the system would work with it being a really easy attachment with no assembly, and suddenly, it was like ‘we can take this so much further‘”.
“When I was at university, I created a snowboard for paraplegics, and that was one of the projects I bestowed upon myself to achieve. So when I came up with the concept of Thumb Soldiers, it hit me straight away – we could open this up for so many people to play in so many ways. We can provide different solutions to different people’s needs. It can be to aid children with small hands, or people in hospital with an IV drip in their hand. It can allow for people to play, when they couldn’t previously.”
David showed me the key attachment for the controllers, which they call the ‘knuckle’. It was a plastic hinged clip which fits around the joystick, and then enables further attachments to slot into it. It took about 10 seconds for the clip to be attached.
They have a number of different attachments that can be fit for different purposes:
Sticks: focusing on improving accessibility to those with limited dexterity, arthritis, small hands or limited movement from an IV in your vein, for example.
Navigation: focusing on precision and fluid movement, allowing for a more versatile play style, including the more obvious flight sims and FPS.
Racer: focusing on control with a slight of touch with the wheel/pedal duo, allowing for additional grip and smooth movement. They’ve also had feedback on the adaptive uses of the wheel (as players are less likely to lose grip on the wheel due to the encompassing nature of the shape.
Rest: Allowing options between the wrist rest and the shroom (a larger surface area on the joystick), they alleviate uncomfortable positions and provide more ways to play.
Rock n Roller: A raised edge and grippy curve provide two ways to control the joystick in a more versatile experience.
Shrooms: Whether a larger surface area is preferred or required to assist with disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Dyspraxia or Arthritis, to simply providing options for ease of play or greater control. Shrooms are improving performance, comfort and ability in so many ways and even in ways we’re still learning.
Step Up: Providing agility and precision with a level transition on the joysticks, again allowing for more general adapted play as well as FPS benefits for players looking for quick precision, for example.
One thing I liked about these attachments is that it felt like a good in-between option for players who may not require / be able to afford a fully adaptive controller, as these are more financially accessible to trial.
I asked David about the feedback he’d received from players on these controller attachments when gaming, and he explained how it’s about feeling included. “Being able to play for that little bit longer, where they otherwise would have had to drop out and their friends would carry on; that’s no longer the case. They can continue and keep being a part of the team. Those things matter”.
It’s also about enjoyment, as David mentioned their friends at Everyone Can had seen instant improvement and enjoyment from their members when putting the various attachments to the test.
Learn more about Thumb Soldiers here.