Saturday, 11 February 2017

Everyone can Mario Run

The Williams family is a Nintendo obsessed family.  Between us we've owned a Gameboy, SNES, Gameboy Advance, Nintendo 64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, DS, 3DS, NES Mini and we have a Switch on preorder!  The male part of our family is made up of a geek dad and 2 geek boys aged 9 and 5.  They've watched all of complete back catalogue of Mario cartoons on Netflix, have a huge Amiibo collection and had lots of cool soft toys for Christmas. Unfortunately one of them has never ever actually played a Mario game; this is because my youngest has a severe disability that restricts his physical movement and control.  That is until today!  Today we played Super Mario Run: the first disability accessible Mario game.

Apple have included a lot of great accessible features into the iPhone and iPad iOS, which allows users to interact with a huge range of external devices.  The feature we used today was Switch Control.  We used it to connect a big button (known as a Switch) to Macsen's iPad to simulate a screen press.  There are a huge range of switches available including foot peddle, head switch (like Stephen Hawking uses), a hand grip switch, finger movement switch, a joystick and lots of others (here's a very Large selection:  We currently use a big easy press button yellow button with the excellent APPlicator connector from Pretorian


Here's a video of Macsen's first game of Mario:

If you would like to have a similar setup, here's a how to guide :

How to

1 - Connect the switch

Connect your switch to your switch connector, turn on Bluetooth and connect to the connector.  We use this switch and connector:
- Connector (APPlicator by Pretorian):

2 - Register the Switch

In settings navigate to General > Accessibility > Switch Control

Tap switches and choose Add a new switch:

We have an external switch, so we choose External (if you are bored later, you should try Camera.  It means you can control the game by tilting you head; it's very cool!) 

You are then prompted to activate the switch.  This basically means Push your button.

You wil be prompted for a button name.  I called mine Yellow port 4 (as it's a yellow switch in port 4 :) )

Every switch must have a default action assigned.  Choose Tap.

3 - Assign the switch with a screen press

At this point the iPad is aware of the switch, but doesn't know what we want it to do with it.  We need to define a 'recipe' to tell the iPad to press the screen when the Switch is pressed.

Back at the Accessibility settings page choose Recipes and then new:

Given the recipe a name and choose Assign a switch:

You should see the switch we registered earlier, select it:

When asked for an action choose Hold at Point.  This will tap a specific point on the screen and also allow you to perform long presses for bigger jumps, just the same as using the touch screen:

When you are asked to choose the point on the screen make sure you rotate the iPad to portrait orientation as this is the way you play Super Mario Run.

The best position I've found is Close to the bottom and in the centre, this works for jumping and choosing Retry of a Continue throughout the game:

The next step is very important, make sure you set the Lunch recipe to be the one you just created.  If you don't do this it won't be activated.

4 - Turn on Switch Control

The final step is to turn on Switch Control:

This is the same place to turn off switch control once you've finished the game.

If anything goes wrong with the setup just come back here and turn the switch control off and on again.  I've had problems when the screen locked, but this fixed it instantly,

5 - Play the game!

You'll need someone to navigate the menus and options who is able to use the touch screen, but once you're in the main gameplay you can use your button to jump, spin and smash goombas!


  1. How cool is the switch and the interface?

    Glad Macsen enjoyed playing Mario and smashing the Goombas.

    Thank you for the tip of the Launch recipe.

  2. I love that Apple has built accesablity in add standard, it's just a pity that it's not widely promoted.

    Glad it helped.

    1. We have to dig deep when it comes to accessible options in our iThings and on our Macs.

      It really has!

      There is a cool thing called Dwell Mode which works well for eye scanning/tracking.

      And do you know the blog? They were the ones who talked about Mario and this version in particular.

      I hope Nintendo are creating more accessible games.