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Games Entertainment

Overcoming Challenges To Game 30

Posted by Zonk
from the dedicated-fraggers dept.
1up has another feature up worth investigating, this one detailing the challenges faced by gamers with disabilities who just want to enjoy their hobby. The article discusses gals and guys who may be physically different than the average gamer, but who seek that Mortal Kombat fatality or enjoy the story of Half-Life 2 just as much as anyone else. They also touch on the unique peripherals available to players who may not be able to utilize standard controllers, and the palliative effect that games can have on folks in stressful circumstances (as we've seen via Child's Play in the past). It's just another instance where the usual gaming labels break down in the face of reality: "In the media's rush to blame school shootings on violent videogames, sometimes stories about gaming's role in communication and positive tenacity get left behind. While some parents worry about their children submerging themselves in the fantasy worlds of videogames and losing themselves to the real world, that same 'escape' often proves soothing to gamers who, for various reasons, are cut off to the world around them."
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Overcoming Challenges To Game

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  • So here here is a link to Audio Games [audiogames.net]. I first found out about them from an NPR spot. What they are doing is realyl awsome, a great place to start looking into them is at Drive [audiogames.net], a driving game with no visuals.
    • by Dorceon (928997)
      I can't believe Drive is 115MB for such a rudimentary game! I mean, the visuals are absolutely primitive! Where is all the space going, the soundtrack?
    • Does anyone remember the SCTV skit with Melonville's resident video geek, Gerry Todd? He did a commercial for a product called "audio games". It was hilarious. It was this little calculator-like device and any time he hit a button, a laser went off(for some space-related game).

      Now it's reality. Funny.
    • This article also reminds me of the Blind Mortal Kombat Master [wired.com]. Which I found particularly interesting because I used to be good enough at MK3 that I would frequently take people on while blindfolded as a party trick; though I would imagine it's much more difficult to learn the game without your vision. Thinking of other games I'm sure the Space Channel 5 Series (originally on the Dreamcast and later on the Gamecube and PS2) would work very well for the blind without any modification, being that it's a Simo
  • I've seen special controllers for people with one hand/arm, etc.

    But part of me just misses the Adventure genre. It didn't require lightning reflexes, complicated movements, or anything like that. In fact a good Adventure game can be enjoyed by the deaf and blind as well.

    I've been replaying Quest For Glory out of nostalgia, and while most people wouldn't pay $50 for a game like this, couldn't we see a resurgence via Shareware, XBox Live Arcade, or such for these games at say $10-$20 a pop?

    Indigo Prophecy i
  • Unfortunately (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Unfortunately gaming will always be just a little out of the reach of the physically disabled. Games are usually skill based, whether they are electronic or IRL. You can change the nature of the game, the controls, or other things to approximate the experience, but unfortunately the disabled will never have the same experience. It is a pity that this is so, but there is little that can be done to overcome this. The Gameplay experience will be different, based on what kind of disability a person has. Somet
    • by archen (447353)
      To some extent the Wii should at least start to balance that out a bit. The more simplistic controlling scheme that involves body movement should be easier for many of the disabled who have problems with traditional controllers. I started thinking that in the same lines when I was watching a four year old trying to play various PS2 games. His hands were too small (but he did pretty well considering), and the combinations of buttons to push were just too complex for most of the games I had.
      • Re:Unfortunately (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HappySqurriel (1010623) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @01:21PM (#17845622)
        The Wii will help a lot of people and at the same time cause endless problems for others ...

        Some people have problems making co-ordinated large gestures (like a lot of the Wii's actions) and others will have problems making co-ordinated small gestures (like pressing buttons on a controller); the Wii will probably offer lots of games which are suitable for people with one hand, but offers little for people who have difficulty with providing adequate hand-grip strenght.

        The second you start down the 'Accessability' path it becomes an impossible challenge where your only reward is knowing you're doing the right thing. The fact that every game is designed to support "lower resolution graphics" probably benefits those people with vision problems because one of the main "solutions" for people with these types of problems is to get a larger TV; if you design a 480P game to have text which can be read on a 17 inch TV by most people, many people with vision problems can see it on their 60 inch TV.
        • i have a non-gamer friend uses crutches or a wheelchair to get around, and she has difficulty standing on her own. well, i had a whole bunch of friends over for a wii gaming party, and she came over too... she owned at boxing, and was decent at tennis, but had difficulty with bowling: her arm kept getting hung up on the side of the chair. next time we're going to get out my old office computer chair (without armrests) for her. even so, she came in third place (beating the non-gamer who had also had a few to
    • Unfortunately gaming will always be just a little out of the reach of the physically disabled. Games are usually skill based, whether they are electronic or IRL.

      There are skills, and then there are skills. Every kind of skill should have games that play to it. For instance, chess is skill based, yet it doesn't need a lot of motor skills. Even a quadraplegic can play chess with an eye pointer and a sip-and-puff controller. If you still have a working arm but you can't press buttons, you can still play Wii Sports, which is based on larger motor skills than Xbox 360 games.

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)
      "Unfortunately gaming will always be just a little out of the reach of the physically disabled."

      I don't really buy that. Yes, *most* commercial games may well be out of reach, but not "gaming". Games are nothing but software, and software can be dynamically adaptive. If the gamer is struggling with the concept, it can scale back the difficulty. Naturally, the disabled might have a different experience - how does it make it any less *fun* for them though?

      Being an audio programmer in the game industry, I'
    • by Chris Burke (6130)
      You can change the nature of the game, the controls, or other things to approximate the experience, but unfortunately the disabled will never have the same experience.

      Yes but video games, by their very nature an approximation and virtualization of some experience, lend themselves well to being made with the disabled in mind. For example the design of the controller is not a fundamental aspect that would change the balance of the game, so it makes perfect sense (even if there is no market for it) to have a
  • At first I though "disabilities" referred to mental state, etc. that came about from poor allocation of character points and experience points in First Life [getafirstlife.com]. However, the article talks mostly about physically handicapped players, for which there is a simple fix. If you've taken on too much damage in First Life, just start playing Second Life. I've heard that if you select your initial character type as "cat", you can repeat the procedure all the way up to Ninth Life.
  • Let me tell you (Score:1, Insightful)

    by techpawn (969834)
    DDR looks damned hard with one leg [youtube.com] But, we find ways to do the things we enjoy, even if the doctors tell us no. Be it adjusting the way to play to having other hold the controler for us, we find a way.
  • My handicap (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @03:07PM (#17847886) Journal
    I suffer from "Pwneditis" where I get surprised in a FPS and stare at the other guy like a deer in the headlights for a split second before I get shot. I think they should put a delay on the other players for folks like me.

    Seriously though, there is a wide range of handicaps and I've played plenty of people, for example, who have turned out to be in wheelchairs. Online gaming is a real escape for them. Some people I've talked to on teamspeak use speech assistance tech just to chat even if they aren't playing.

    I've also played people who've turned out to be stoned or drunk but that is just a temporary handicap.
  • by antdude (79039) on Thursday February 01, 2007 @03:53PM (#17848748) Homepage Journal
    ... because of their controllers. I used to own an Atari 2600, and its joystick was simple, light, and easily placed on a table/desk. With the newer consoles, they are more complex and used in air. This cause problems for me because of my four fingers (also lack of thumbs), elbow problems (can't straighten, collect money like people do, and weak strengths).

    I prefer playing games on the computer because of the big keyboard on my desk and mouse. I don't have to hold them, keys are spread apart and easy to reach, etc. Old arcade controllers on their cabinets worked well too.
  • ...as games become more immersive. DDR won't ever work for paraplegics Guitar Hero won't work for people without fingers Don't even get me started on the Wii... My vote is for brain interfaces.
  • I tend to avoid most computer games, even though I love the things to death. Since I use computers all day at work, and I seem predisposed to having achy joints (sharps pains, swelling, and dull aches in hands, elbows, and shoulders), I just can't spent another few hours twitching and doing repetitive movements without pain.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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