Gaming with disabilities

  • Hi

    Long post incoming.

    I havan’t posted much on the forums or been very active at all but I’ve been an ally since the very beginning and apart from a few close friends I don’t have anyone to talk gaming with. So I thought this community was a good place to share.
    I hope gaming discussion was the right place to post but the Mods will tell me I’m sure.
    Forgive me for the long preamble and the long post but here goes.
    I’d like to share two stories one of which doesn’t have an ending, yet.

    So I’m disabled but I also love videogames and I have for as long as I can remember. I even went as far as to get a masters degree in games and game design.
    I have had to just write of a lot games as unplayable for me and that's ok. basically I can (mostly) only play using the mouse and I cannot play on consoles. So now Last of Us or Mario and Zelda or any twitchy shooters on PC. Shooters aren’t really my thing anyway.
    It’s fine if and when I know I can’t play a specific game, I just skip it and move on. The problem is when I don’t know or aren’t sure.
    Because you don’t want to spend your money on something you can’t use. If I’m not sure if I can play a game or not I don’t buy the game, sometimes I end up skipping something great I didn’t have to. Because I fear I can’t play it and I can’t afford to buy every game.
    I have to research a game before I buy it. To make sure. And I can’t just look at the back of the box. Sometimes you can customize or mod a game to make a game playable but it’s hard to say and all up to me.
    Well with all that.
    I love RPGs and one of my favourite games is Dragon Age Origins I even enjoyed the not so great DA:2 and I played through it maybe a few to many times. I had a big problem with Dragon Age Inquisition (DA:I). A lot of people had, I know. My problem was that I couldn’t play it. I bought it day one. I had been looking forward to it. I made my Elf Rogue and started the game.
    I found that I could not move the player character. A small change in the control scheme made it impossible for me to play. Those controls were locked on PC.
    In DA:I you couldn’t move using the mouse as in the other Dragon Age games.
    Bioware had for some reason chosen to lock the actions of the mouse button.
    I was mad, not that I couldn’t play the game, as I said I’m used to that. I now realize I was mad because I thought I could play and I couldn’t.
    My expectations were shattered. I knew I could play Dragon Age and was looking forward to play My game when other games are a gamble or just plain impossible for me.
    In the end I played through DA:I with some annoying phenagiling and workarounds but my experience was tainted and I never truly enjoyed my time in Thedas. In the end something good came out of it though. I wrote my final thesis for my university degree about disabilities and accessibility in video games. But it is something I think it is something developers don’t give enough thought and miss out on a big chunk of the population because of it.

    Here the other part of the story though.
    Video Games have the same problems for me. Seems like things are changing though, slowly but surely.
    I see colorblind settings in most AAA titles and pretty extensive ones at that. Subtitles are getting better as well. Seems like accessibility options are getting more mainstream.
    Those things doesn't help me personally.
    But last year Microsoft came out with the Xbox Adaptive Controller. The controller got a lot of buzz on the back of its Superbowl ad. If you don’t know the controller was designed with help from Ablegamers and other non-profits.
    The controller lets you connect any 3rd party device to one the many usb ports. Letting you customize this xbox controller in any way you need. This still confines you to a pc or xbox for your gaming. Compared to no choices at all that is huge.
    So I bought the thing as soon as I was able, I must confess the hype got to me.
    Now I have the thing but then the question becomes what to do with it. The controller is nothing on its own, it is very simple and barebones. It is meant to be customized, to be adapted to my needs.
    With a little research on Microsoft website and some help from google, I found the Quadstick controller. A joystick designed for Quadrapeligecs.
    Makes it possible to play most anything only by using your mouth and face. Combined with the Adaptive Controller it would give me access to pretty much every Xbox and PC game. If I can set it up right.
    So I bought one.
    Wasn’t cheap so it took awhile to buy and get everything. I finally got it all a couple of weeks ago,
    That is only the start of a journey though. Now comes the hard part. Setting everything up and getting the software up and running. And I’m really bad with tech stuff.
    Then I have to learn and mastering the Quadstick.
    I set myself a very lofty goal, I want to beat a From Software game. If I can beat a Dark Souls game or even Sekiro, I should be able to play almost anything right?.
    I thought about chronicling my journey and this could be the forum to do it.

    If you are still with me after all that, thank you.
    If you have any experience with the Xbox Adaptive Controller or the Quadstick, I would love any tips. And Any question are welcome.

    Nis (Nisshan or nisshanowitz on Twitch)

  • Hey Nis, I'm definitely with you after all of that!

    Your story was pretty insightful for me. I was really impressed with the Xbox Adaptive Controller where their marketing videos had me in serious conversation with some of my non-gamer friends about embracing the things we love doing the most, because one day we might not be able to do them.

    I think everybody here would be glad to hear about your progress, but the Easy Allies community is unfortunately split up into many different groups: Forums, Patreon, YouTube, Reddit, Discord, probably even more I don't know about.

    I think the forums is a good place since this is what I use the most and its great for posting photos, videos, and text, but maybe for the greater audience, you can share your journey time to time in the monthly Community Comments videos. That way, it'll reach a lot of people.

    I have experience making feature length documentary and I have to say that your story does sound really compelling to me. The will to finish a From Software game is a deep fire that burns inside all of us, but its never easy. You should maybe reach out to a few outlets to see if they want to team up with you to document your progress. I think a lot of people will want to hear how this goes. Maybe cold contact a few outlets if you desire. Its worth a shot.

    Good luck!

  • I hope it works out for you. If you wish to discuss your journey the blog section was the place to do so. Have you tried trying something easy or familiar first?

  • @nisshan

    Hey Nis,

    First, welcome! I too come to this board to talk about games because while I have friends that game a bit, none of them are quite enthralled by video games as much as I am. Second, thanks for sharing your story. While I was in college I did a radio show about gaming and one of my fellow DJ was a disabled gamer. I was always curious how he played games but it never felt appropriate to ask and I regret not finding out more about this subsection of gamers at the time.

    Like others I'm very interested to hear about your progress getting the adaptive controller working and journaling your progress through one of the many fantastic From Software games.

    Best of Luck and keep us posted.

  • Banned

    Hey dude. I'm glad you shared your story here, as it is a cool and inspiring one.
    It reminded me of one of my favorite members of the FCG, BrollyLegs.

    Youtube Video

    As others have suggested, you should share your story with as many people as you can. The more people that can enjoy gaming, the better.

  • Thanks for all the feedback. I'm about to set it all up next week, I think. Too deep in all the E3 coverage to actually play games.
    I'll keep updating you, maybe I'll switch over to the Blog section.
    The goal is to get through Dark Souls 3 but I'll test it out on something easy first.