Friday, April 11, 2008

video games and disability

When most of us think of people with disabilities, the idea of playing video games might be the last thing to enter our minds. However, millions of people all over the world play video games, and with the creation of network technology, it can be a great social activity. As evidenced by these three websites, gaming is also becoming more inclusive.

Ben Heck -- Benjamin J. Heckendorn, known to the rest of the net as Ben Heck, likes to mess with video game hardware. He started out doing fun or strange modifications on video game consoles as a hobby, but impressed enough people with his mods that he now does it full time. You can find plenty of interesting and creative projects on his website, but his most important work is two attempts to make a one-handed video game controller. The first version was prompted by a request from an Iraq veteran who lost the use of one arm during combat. After making the first controller, Ben spent some time redesigning and refining the project. His second version adds functionality and the ability to completely customize the button/joystick configuration, and plans are in the works to have it mass produced and available in stores. -- Able Gamers provides a community for gamers with disabilities. Their site has feature articles, product reviews for ergonomic hardware, and industry news. The industry news comes in two flavors: news geared toward gamers with disabilities, and general gaming news. You can find out whether or not Xbox plans to incorporate Blu-Ray into its consoles or find out about upcoming changes to World of Warcraft that could make gaming a lot tougher for people with limited movement.

Game Accessibility -- Game Accessiblity is very similar to AbleGamers. The main difference is that Game Accessibility focuses on computer games rather than console games. Another difference is that Game Accessibility divides certain portions of its website by type of disability, with sections for visually, auditory, physically and learning disabled gamers.

No comments: