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I am tasked with developing a game for kids with low dexterity (as a college project). I am stuck trying to find examples of similar games to generate ideas about game play and overall function. The general idea is that these kids wont be using a fully featured controller, it will be more basic, for example just a joystick.

Can anyone point me in the direction where I might find some resources (specifically game play ideas) to aid the in the development of low dexterity games?

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The immediate thought that comes to mind are menu driven roleplaying games. Not a lot of dexterity is needed to select the desired option on a menu. Push the select button at the proper time. The other is auto aim in first person shooters. If you shoot near a target, it still deals damage. – xuincherguixe Jul 29 '12 at 8:39
The thought that occurs after is that having forgiving controls is a general design decision and is highly dependent on context. – xuincherguixe Jul 29 '12 at 8:46
In addition to the resources that should appear as answers, consider having a look at how isometric RTSs like the Command and Conquer series are implemented? The jump between 'isometric view' and 'isometric grid' in these games I feel would be very small. A grid with a sufficiently low resolution would be navigated almost as if it were part of the menu but very little in terms of gameplay would be lost. – sebf Jul 29 '12 at 12:07
@xuincherguixe suggest menu-driven games (not just rpg, but also management sim, like running a store or sports team or something) in an answer and I'll vote for it. – jhocking Jul 30 '12 at 19:28
It's important to get better guesses about what 'low dexterity' means to your client. 'just a joystick' to me means quite a bit of dexterity demands. Will the user be able to perform the difference between ESE and SE reliably? Will the user be able to perform any timed tasks? How responsive can we assume the user to be? Personally I've found a lot of the early Wii games to be easy on the user. Check out for a great 1-button game. – tugs Jul 30 '12 at 21:37

You could look at almost any game from the 80s - admittedly most had at least 2 controls, eg. a joystick and a jump or fire button, but that's still fairly minimal.

Another idea is the concept of the "one button game" where you control everything literally just by using one button. There is often still a timing aspect though, so whether it meets your dexterity requirements or not, I don't know.

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One way to get around the timing issue would be to make it context-sensitive. – ChargingPun Aug 22 '12 at 15:55

A turn based game is an obvious option. That could be anything from Chess to an X-Com clone. That lets you avoid issues with reaction time, and gives you more flexibility with the control system design.

I'd also suggest getting a better definition of what your players are capable of with their reduced dexterity - games that are too easy often aren't much fun. I'd also ask them what computer games they already like playing, and if possible watch / video them playing a game.

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What you're talking about is accessibility, and a great resource for that is Another resource is the Able Gamers group at, which focuses on this kind of thing.

It's really important that you don't confuse cognitive and physical ability. Accessible doesn't mean "dumbed down" by a long shot.

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+1, Great links – John McDonald Jul 30 '12 at 21:02
+1 for cog vs phys disabilities. A lot of people talk down to others with physical disabilities that are not mentally disabled. Unintentional, but frustrating. – David Lively Jul 30 '12 at 21:50

For ideas look at Alice project. It is a 3D programming environment for introductory teaching for programming/computing. Ideas implemented in this environment may give you an insight for the project you are working on.

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Just a joystick sounds interesting.

Dragon's Lair used just a joystick, but required fast player response times. Making the response time a user preference is one option.

I think it would be beneficial to look at games that are friendly to your design goals, rather than examples of, because I don't think there are a lot of examples.

For a single joystick, the hurdle to overcome would be selection and the thing to design for would be very sluggish user response. (i.e. a very forgivable UI.) One example of selection could be auto-selection/snapping of game objects (and using a radial menu) and pausing over non-game-object selections (with a verification radial popup - top/bottom). The latter could be used wherever the former is inappropriate.

If you had something like this, then many games could potentially be used for gameplay examples: Sid Meier's Civilization 5, Puzzle Quest, The Walking Dead, Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney, ...

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Look at DoubleFine's previous and future productions. Point-and-click games sounds like a perfect solution to this issue.

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