This post has not been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.
So, I read this interview with a blind, disabled, and gay gamer. I want to be clear before I start this article. This is not meant to take anything away from the interview, or be negative towards Robert Kingett, this article is meant to break down the myths or whatever prejudice that’s perceived around disabled players. I have been deaf and blind since birth. I’ve lived with blindness all my life, and I’ve lived with deafness all my life, but I’ve gotten help since birth. I was given hearing aids since I was little, when I transitioned into being a grown kid, I was given glasses. Now, naturally, any time I go out to a public area such as a park, come across new people, new stores, and especially public schools people either are nice, or are just plain bunch of mean kids. Public Schools are a perfect example of where you’re normally bullied, or made fun of, or not taken seriously. People make fun of you because you have “four eyes” glasses, or is retarded because you have glasses, or whatever other ideas they have. Understandable since they’re just kids.
So, why are you debunking the myths of a “Disabled Gamer”?
Well, in the interview, I disagree with many parts of it. People often do not know what kind of gamer you are, what your problem is, or are just trying to troll you into a corner. For example, Robert perceives the hate on PSN/XBL being tied to his disabled life, when in fact, it’s not. They call you retarded because you “stutter;” they assume that you’re this retarded person or whatever idea they have. They hear you talk, so if Robert talks with a stutter, the other players assume that the person is retarded. Whatever their prerogative is. Or, be the badass back at them. You need to stick up for yourself, guys. They call you “faggot” because they just want to put you down, make you feel like crap, inferior than them but when you come out as a gay person in an interview or a public place… You proved to them who you are!
Now, I digress – I understand that Robert misunderstands parts of conversations as noted in his interview. That’s not my point. I reiterate, that I’m deaf, and sometimes I don’t understand what people are saying, but I just ignore them, pick up what I understand, and respond to that. And even if players are talking crap about you, let them – you sound like a better person then them if you don’t have a mic turned on. Especially when you play better than them.
Can a “Disabled Gamer” meet new people?
A huge, resounding YES. I’ve met a lot of cool people in my lifetime, and none of them have the proverbial balls to say stupid, ignorant, idiotic, and downright hateful things to my face. In fact, if you’re cool enough, people like you, and I mean that as a conversationalist. People like other people who are confident in themselves. If you don’t know what to talk about, don’t worry about it! Let the conversation flow in its own time, because you end up looking better to the other person.
I’ve met my share of disrespectful people in my lifetime, but I’ve fought back, and rebounded as a better person each time. By the time I’ve adapted, I end up looking like a better person to them, because of one thing or another.
Are all “Disabled Gamers” the same?
No. Let’s clear up the notion, let’s clear up the perception of “disabled gamer(s)” stigma right now. Let’s wipe the floor. Let’s take it off the table. A disabled person is someone who either has a symptom in their life, their life is hindered by something “removed” from your body, or plain can’t see perfectly, can’t hear something perfectly, or whatever “disabled” part alters their ability to do one thing. A disabled gamer is a person who is a gamer that’s disabled by at least one or two things or more. It depends on the person.
In Robert’s case, his disabilities ends at least two things: cerebral palsy, and blind to the point that it looks like a tunnel vision. He seems like a normal person, judging by the images that were posted in the interview, but due to his cerebral palsy symptom, he might be perceived to the outside world (outside of the house, outside of gaming) as dumb, stupid, retarded, or moronic. But otherwise he’s a human being like you and everyone else.
In my case, my disabilities ends at two things and two things only: Blindness, and hard of hearing. Both which are solved by three things: Cataract surgery, contacts, and hearing aids. That will change pretty soon for me, I will get a next-generation cochlear implant. I’m just like you and everyone else.
Are gamers, or “Disabled Gamer(s)” lazy?
No. As a matter of fact, this isn’t just a response to mothers who abuse gamer sons (like in the interview), this is a response to everyone, that includes the Shark Tank investors (video below), the general media, and what have you.
Gamers in general are working people who have kids, working people who are ambitious, teenagers, kids, casuals that come home from a long day at work, you name it. The reason why a large percentage of people perceive us as lazy is because we spend our leisure time (free time) playing video games. That’s it.
Do you think game companies need to accommodate the “Disabled Gamer”?
Yeah. And, actually, more and more companies are. For example, in all versions of MW2, BO2, MW3, and Call of Duty Ghosts, they implemented color blind for some of those folks. As a matter of fact, most of the Activision-owned companies admires, advocates the “Disabled Gamer,” only so far to recognize just how far they went to get past their disabilities. Some companies are putting captions in games, which more major companies need to do – and I even agree with Robert’s assessment that some captions look like ants.
However, the problem with this, is that Microsoft, and other major companies like Nintendo, or to a lesser extent, Sony – are not acutely aware that there are disabled gamers out there. I mean, we’re moving into touch screen technologies, sensory technologies (like Kinect), and voice commands all in the name of innovation and money. When in fact, we didn’t want those technologies in gaming. Who wants to touch a screen to play a video game? You? You?
I digress, it’d be nice to have sensory technologies like Kinect, but it shouldn’t be our primary controller, ya know?
It’d be nice to have voice command technologies like Kinect, but it shouldn’t be mandatory for game commands, ya know?
Who are you?
Ahhh. Interested, now, eh? My name’s Carlos Morales, I go by the handle “CarlosX360″ across all platforms. I own a global gaming network providing news, previews, and other editorials through blogs and forums. Over the last 10 years, I’ve been writing for many gaming websites. Since 2007, I’ve been running gaming sites on my own, writing on them, and reaching over 400,000 visitors worldwide.
See you soon.