Throughout the past month, I’ve extensively praised the physical accessibility of the Nintendo Switch. With the Switch’s 10.0.0 System Update, disabled players now have the capability to fully customize controls. This, coupled with several homebrew crafts which I discussed in a recent Launcher piece, make the Switch incredibly accessible for physically disabled individuals, much to the dismay of some accessibility advocates.
Yet, this story will not discuss how I play. Rather, I would like to share three games that are now accessible to me, thanks to the latest system update.
1.) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
I grew up on Platformers. Hastily landing on precariously placed obstacles while trying to jump on/over enemies was thrilling to grade school me. Unfortunately, as I grew older, my disease progression greatly limited my range-of-motion, preventing me from enjoying one of my favorite genres. Thankfully, Tropical Freeze reignited my passion for a previously inaccessible series. Not only can I customize the out-of-reach trigger functions to my Joy-Con’s face buttons, but Tropical Freeze adds an accessibility feature in the form of Funky Kong. If platforming becomes too tiresome, Funky’s surfboard greatly reduces the risk of losing a life to enemies or hazardous landscapes.
2.) The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
Link’s Awakening has the misfortune of receiving the lowest score of any game I’ve reviewed for Can I Play That, residing at an abysmal 1.7/10. The consistent need to utilize the bumpers and triggers, coupled with an egregious amount of accessing the menu with “+” resulted in an inaccessible mess. Acquiring Link’s sword at the beginning of the game took me approximately one hour to complete, a relatively simple quest that should have only taken less than five minutes. After the update released, I was eager to explore the vast library of Switch titles now available, but first I needed to reunite with my old nemesis. The immense accomplishment of successfully beating the first dungeon is an immeasurable feeling, and I will never be able to describe how thankful I am that I can now play this incredible title.
3.) Animal Crossing: New Horizons
Before we begin, I must preface that New Horizons was already relatively accessible prior to the system update. Due to its simplistic nature, physically disabled players could easily purchase the game without the fear of needing an egregious amount of assistance. While the Nook Phone is accessed through “ZL,” disabled individuals need not use this feature to craft items or design their island. The Switch update merely provided a quality-of-life patch to an already accessible game.
The 10.0.0 System Update is an accessibility blessing for many physically disabled players. With such a vast, unique library, disabled individuals like myself no longer need to restrict their Switch experience to mere streams or Let’s Plays. The ability to fully customize controls is proof of the necessity and desire for an overall accessible gaming experience, and I am thrilled that Nintendo has officially joined the cause.