The Disabled-Friendly NES Controller From The 1980’s

The Disabled-Friendly NES Controller From The 1980’s
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While it’s easy to think that – through the wonders of subtitles and the Wii Remote – making games accessible to the disabled is a recent trend, it’s not. It’s as old as the hills.

This is the Hands Free, a controller setup manufactured by Nintendo for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It consists of a bulky controller that is literally strapped to the player’s chest. The pro: quadriplegics (or others suffering from debilitating physical conditions) could play NES games! The con: while doing so, they’d look like a Dr. Who villain.

D-pad control is replicated by a long “pipe” that’s moved by the player’s mouth/tongue, while the A & B buttons were ingeniously controlled by “sipping” and “blowing” through the pipe.

The Hands Free was released in 1989, and even back then cost a ton, retailing for $US179 (though it had to be ordered directly from Nintendo, as it wasn’t available in stores). These days, you’ll find them going for as much as $US600.

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