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Unexpected Challenges of Playing With Cerebral Palsy

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Fallout 4.
Screen: Bethesda

The world of video games must be one without limits. Sadly, this is often not the case. As a lifelong athlete who also happens to have coral resilience, my experience with video games has helped and damaged their equipment.

Cerebral palsy presents itself in a unique way to everyone diagnosed with it. Some of us may go unchecked, while others require devices such as pedestrians or dishwashers. Some of us may travel part-time, but use wheelchairs in certain situations. Some of us cannot walk at all. Some of us have hallucinations (which vary in size), vision or hearing, or speech difficulties. Adaptive gears, such as the Xbox Adaptive controller, can be useful for some disabled players. However, since I can still use the traditional controller configuration, such modifications are not required for me. This, in turn, illustrates how cerebral palsy varies from person to person.

Now that you know a little more about body-related mental disabilities, imagine, for a moment, the brain that progresses more slowly than the average person. Look at the five-second delay between deciding what you want to do and doing it.

Imagine using that same concept to play a video game. Depending on the type of game, this can be a straightforward task. Or, as is often the case with me, it might come down to something from a complex to an impossible line.

I got my first video game when I was seven and I was watching it Pokémon anime with only a genre of children can offer. I was given a pink Game Boy Advance, Pokémon Yellow, again Super Mario Advance. I'm out Pokémon Yellow, but never finished Super Mario Advance because I found out that it has too many time-bound jumps. I am still fighting with the revolutionaries for this very reason.

Despite my best efforts, I cannot do anything that requires rapid physical activity. Due to my brain injury I respond to a slightly slower screen than most players. This is especially noticeable in parallel racing games Mario Kart

, where making quick chances sometimes doesn't happen, or similar shooting games Fortnite, where slow reaction times affect my ability to survive without the help of other players.

Even games that you think might be easier for players with less response times can produce unexpected issues. I'm not finishing an adventure game Beyond: Two Souls because its fast time sequence is actually impossible for me to do. I still enjoy these games, but I don't experience them in the same way as non-disabled players.

That doesn't mean my efforts to play video games have all been an uphill battle. Lots of games, like Fallout 4, install some equipment that makes the articles easily accessible to me. Pokémon, for example, is aimed at children. It's usually easy to figure out how to improve on the next part of the story. This, I think, underscores the importance of thinking about different approaches to accessibility as it relates to game design.

The V.A.T.S. program in Fallout 3.
Screen: Bethesda

Currently, one of my favorite games Fallout 4. My older sister, a gynecologist Skyrim. Both of these are open-source role-playing games developed by Bethesda. But the biggest difference is important to me.

In Fallout 4, as in previous games 3 and New Vegas, the player can access the default mechanics. Using the VATS system allows players to target specific body parts. That's something I can't do on my own, because having cerebral palsy means that my accuracy corresponds to a creature with no opposing thumbs.

In addition, the ability to reduce speed and time with VATS gives me more time to make decisions that are not possible with real-time combat. Bethesda may not have intended VATS as an accessibility feature, but its inclusion is what has enabled me to truly enjoy a game that involves shooting for the first time in my life.

Sadly, the lack of something like VATS makes another Bethesda series, Ancient Greek Manuscripts, almost invisible to me. In addition to my usual problems with accuracy and timing, the movements in my hands are only slightly paralyzed. Spasticity left my muscles stiff enough to evenly apply a stick, by pressing buttons on the front of the controller, and pressing buttons on the back of the controller is impossible.

That doesn't mean I didn't try to play Skyrim. I love its lore and the variety of places to visit in its beautiful open world. But I can't tell you the number of times I went to shoot a fireball at an enemy and accidentally hit the NPC, because the game camera stand was just closed.

For me Skyrim play times are usually equal to only 30 minutes. After that, I find that I'm tired for at least a couple of hours, so if I choose to sit down and try to play Skyrim, then that is the only game I will be playing that day. I know you Do I play it? Of course, if I want to be completely freaked out afterwards. Is it interesting to me as Fall series? Not with a long shot.

Old Scroll V: Skyrim.
Screen: Bethesda

Access is not just physical, however. Mental accessibility – which in the context of gaming that I define as understanding how to play a game – can also present an obstacle. In addition to intellectual disabilities, I also have learning disabilities that affect math and spatial ability. Returns to my previous Fallout 4 For example, I've never been able to get rid of its Far Harbor DLC because DiMA's Most Forgotten Desire has a puzzle that can't be solved, even by the means of travel. Some games also bring issues to players with hearing aids; flashing lights or sudden sounds, for example, can make playing a game harder for someone else.

I don't think games should not include this art or features just because they can have a negative impact on disabled players. I understand that certain things are important to game development and the developer's creative vision. However, I encourage developers to consider accessibility when designing their games. Think of the physical discomfort, the mental impairment, the neurological damage. How can players with these challenges have a negative impact or have a positive impact on gameplay mechanics?

Or better now, ask disabled players to check out games and ask them what they think of the machine. By doing so, developers can play a role in making games fun for everyone.

Jane Humen is a writer from the Washington state. Find her on Twitter @JaneHumen.



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