[Edito] Games and Players with Disabilities – Cool Silencers That We (Almost) Never Talk About

by Amaury Laguerre (Sadako)

If more and more development studios tend to offer adapted processing so that their video games are better adapted to all kinds of disabilities, we can’t really say that in 2022 all products can be valued the same for all audiences involved. In this editorial, I wanted to tackle a very unpopular topic, disability and gaming, while exposing the case of one of my older subscribers, Cedric M, who had the misfortune of experiencing a tragedy that prevented him from enjoying video games as before. .

Disabilities and video games – an unpopular group

When you are a “good” person, you don’t realize the difficulties a player with a disability can go through in order to enjoy a controller. Sure, you’ve heard of a few products that go to great lengths to make trips “disability friendly,” but let’s be honest, if we weren’t worried, we’d never have thought of it.

Since my beginnings in gaming journalism in 2009, however, I’ve been able to see a lot of improvement in terms of attempts to improve the accessibility of video games for gamers with disabilities. For example, I saw the birth CapGamethe 1901 Association Act that really struggles to provide the best solutions for people facing a disability, and any campaigns to make the community of gamers who want to enjoy games better known.

But despite more and more initiatives, even on the part of manufacturers and developers (we’ll talk about it in the next paragraph!), it’s clear that disability is still a somewhat taboo topic that isn’t talked about enough. Which solutions are still few today and not very popular.

Developers try to adapt

To be completely honest and transparent with you, I was never really concerned with the degree of accessibility of a video game prior to the release of The Last of Us: Part II, or more precisely just before its release when I received a PlayStation press release that highlighted several options so as many as Possible players to benefit from.

Before that, I also had the chance to spot the huge Xbox adaptive joystick/joystick, on Microsoft’s platform at the last Paris Games Week. And that’s all there is to it.

These are really some solutions so that players with disabilities can express themselves virtually. Also note the “co-pilot” mode on the Xbox which allows a second player to control the character so that the apprehension is better done. But whatever we say, whatever the developers do, there is no magic solution that fits all disabilities, some of which are motor, physical, neurological, etc.

If you are looking for a list of video games recently launched in the market, I invite you too Check out Game Lovermaking access tests for the latest products.

Even if not all products benefit from accessible “premium” gameplay, I still congratulate the biggest studios and manufacturers for starting to care about the welfare of gamers with disabilities. It’s not easy to craft maneuverability through increasingly complex gameplay, but re-allocation of keys is a good key element with which to use equipment that adapts to each case.

Appropriate (and overrated) materials

Whether we’re talking about an Xbox Adaptive Controller or some other solution to get a console or gear adapted to a handicap, you obviously have to take out the checkbook. As for the case of the Xbox, I thought for a moment that it was not that expensive, before realizing that Microsoft seems to be selling the “base” only at €90, without the accessories. I couldn’t find the buttons and other compatible mechanisms on the Microsoft site. curious.

On the PlayStation and Nintendo side, it’s simple, and none of the manufacturers offer an accessibility solution. It would then be necessary to switch over to “third-party” tools to play on PS4, PS5, or Nintendo Switch (and even Xbox, Microsoft doesn’t have a monopoly on the adaptive pad with the Xbox Adaptive controller, fortunately).

At the very least, you will have to spend a minimum of 200/250 euros to put a suitable console. When you know how unstable a disability can be, the bill is salty. A large number of props now offer a great selection of products to assemble by yourself. For example, you can reprogram console buttons, relay an analog stick or triggers to be able to play with one hand, or other more complex solutions like pointing sticks with your mouth.

The high price of these adaptive controllers is explained by two things: the already high cost of the “basic” controller, and the time it takes to customize it. But what I don’t find “natural” is that manufacturers aren’t clearer by not instructing players with disabilities at all to see things more clearly. A simple section will be enough to direct players to reliable props, for example.

Before writing this editorial, I had already had many difficulties before starting to see solutions to finding a good console for Cédric M. I would also like to thank Stéphane B, who put me on the right track, but getting good information is as easy as finding your way through a misty forest .

Cedric’s story and the difficulties he faces in playing

When games become a hassle

I’ve been thinking for weeks about tackling the story of Cedric M (who is of course familiar with writing this editorial and the comments quoted here). Out of respect for him, the tone of this editorial is not intended to be dramatic or make you feel guilty, dear readers, but rather human, in order to raise awareness that a disability can actually change video game consumption. .

Cedric had an accident at work two years ago and lost his left arm. After weeks of hospitalization and various various operations, her daily life is not back to normal yet, and it will never be the same again. Video games are a great way to escape and relax for most people, but Cédric is having a hard time having fun, and he has to pick the right games for his only right hand, with an unmodified PS4 console.

After months of such physical and psychological trauma, Cédric has been able to return to video games with GTA 5 on PS4, which offers many accessibility options. In terms of his gaming consumption, Cédric prefers simpler one-handed experiences like Beat’em All in 2D, Shoot’em Up, Diablo 2, 3 and Hades, and racing games like Need for Speed ​​and Gran Turismo. But to appreciate the action/adventure game, camera control gives it major problems, not to mention fighting games that quickly become irrelevant (except for the easy mode against the AI).

A cat for an air-conditioned console

He’s not in his best shape financially, which is why I’ve started a fundraiser so Cédric can play in a much more accessible way in the coming months. After hours and hours of searching, I came across the company Hitcli that offer good solutions. The console that interests us costs 249 euros. I personally take 100 euros on my account and Cédric will “finish” what needs to be added.

With a lifetime to rehab, at least an accessible console can give Cédric moments of escape in a more comfortable way. Of course, I am sending him, once again, all of my friendship and courage to face his “new” life, as well as my respect for seeing him struggle in this way since he had an accident. If you’d like to help with this project, we’ve created a PayPal address dedicated just for this purpose by clicking on the link below. The accumulated amount will of course be shared transparently in this article (or new article) and on my social networks, as well as during my lifetime throughout July 2022.

Help Cédric get a proper console!

Conclusion – nothing simple!

As you undoubtedly noted in this editorial, the topic of gaming and disability is a real jungle where everything is complicated. From a handicap that must be managed personally to accessories that best suit everyone’s situation, including the very high price of the controllers, I discovered a “fringe” of gaming that was completely alien to me. Congratulations to all the actors who allow people with disabilities to have better access to video games year after year, because even if it stays complicated, things move a bit and mindsets change!

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