Last week, my mom went out and picked up Madden 17 for me. A game many Maddenites and I have been drooling over for an agonizing 12 months. If you are patient enough to wait a few days or can not get out to the store, Madden 17 can be delivered right to your door via Amazon.com. I did not hesitate trying it out. It’s an awesome game! Yes, I’m a raging shooter and sports gameaholic and have been since a very young age.
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My love for video games began when I was 2. My mom would lay me on the floor (I did not have my wheelchair yet!) in front of the TV, set the Super Nintendo on demo, hand me the controller and would go take a shower. She said if she did not do this, I would crawl over to the bathroom door and call out her name throughout her entire shower. After a few weeks of doing this, my mom came out to find that I had learned how to take it off of the demo mode and was actually playing! I haven’t put down the controller ever since!
I know what you may be thinking, how could a physically disabled person play video games? Well, just like the zoom feature on the computer to help my wacky eyes, there are a variety of different controllers and features that a gamer could use to adjust to their disability. If you’re wondering how I do this, just check out the video above.
If you’re like me, and you only have the use of one hand, there’s a controller for that! Introducing the PS4 one handed controller (other gaming systems have similar controllers). Unfortunately, the controller is expensive, costing about $350.00. I still use a regular controller, using my left hand as more of a helper hand. However, I will keep this controller in mind if I ever come across a game I can’t play with a regular controller.
What if you were completely paralyzed? There are mouth controllers with special tubes attached like the ones shown above from quadstick.com.
Check out this Sip and Puff head controller for The Wii… isn’t it neat? This allows quadriplegics with head control to play the Wii! This guys video gaming skills have gone to his head…literally! Unfortunately, it will also empty his pockets, as this set up will costs much more than the gaming system itself with a price tag of $735.00!
There are so many incredible pieces of equipment and gaming options still in development. Doing research for this blog, I found a video game that was in the development stage that used mind control to move objects in the game. When I watched the video above, I began thinking about what doors that would open for people with physical disabilities! Currently, there are programs that use eye movement to allow quadriplegics to use computers and to use speech devices. Imagine the progression to using mind control to manipulate the mouse and computer! Take it one step further and imagine using mind controlled robotics to give the paralyzed movement and use of their limbs again, which is currently in development! I expanded my research to find more about this game and the developer, Lat Ware. Unfortunately, it appears this project reached a dead end around 2015. I hope that he continues to develop this game and the potential it has!
Here are other game options in development!
Or this controller which could be used for disabled children to increase their body control and actually enjoy physical therapy!
This clip shows adaptive gaming equipment in action!
Seeing this, I’m really excited for the future of not only gaming but for the future of the disabled. Gaming may seem frivolous or a waste of time to some, but the benefits that gaming brings to the disabled is hard to ignore. I have had my limitations since birth, it is all I know and that aspect makes it easier for me to accept my limitations. However, many people become disabled later in life. The loss can be devastating and adjusting to limitations can be very isolating. Where does gaming come into play? Gaming allows a disabled person to literally jump into an able body! I get to be the champion quarterback or the war hero. Most gaming systems allow you to go “live” via the internet. This opens the door to making friends and joining a community where physical limitations do not matter. Other benefits include keeping the brain active, using fine motor skills and eye hand coordination.
In doing the research for this blog, I also discovered the world of gaming being utilized by those with visual disabilities. I think we are just at the beginning of the evolution of technology and how it will improve the lives of all disabled people. I would personally like to see a video gaming system where buying discs is obsolete. Due to the hazards of my cerebral palsy, I have demolished several video games…Sorry Mom!! I also can’t really switch games unless someone is around to help me.
There is one huge obstacle in gaming for the disabled, the cost. Unfortunately, these types of modifications can get very expensive. In most cases, the modified equipment can cost more than the gaming system. A modified controller alone can cost more than six times the cost of a new game! Many disabled individuals live and survive on very limited means, which only increases their isolation. However, AbleGamers Charity raises money and develops technology to assist disabled gamers. Caleb Kraft created the Controller Project. He creates modified controllers and posts videos like the one above for disabled gamers. He charges nothing and freely shares his knowledge and encourages others to do the same. If you are technically savvy, watching these videos can give you the information necessary to unlock a whole new world for a disabled person!
With all these wonderful gadgets who says “we don’t have game” if we put our minds to it, we can do anything!!!
Before you shut down and “reset” let me know what you think!
Until next time to keep rollin’, and keep smilin’!
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