Disabled dude demands EA improves gaming access
Control customisation is key
A disabled man is campaigning for EA to adapt the controls on Dead Space 2, so he can play the game using only his chin.
Gaming enthusiast Gareth suffers from cerebral palsy and, as a result, can't move his arms. He pursues his passion by controlling a mouse with his chin.
Gareth raised his dilemma in a thread at Overclockers UK, where readers immediately began suggesting solutions and helping to promote his needs.
Below is a clip of him playing Fallout: New Vegas. Gareth's YouTube channel also shows him flawlessly racing round a course on Colin McRae: Dirt 2. Impressive. Most impressive.
Last year, handicapped gamer Chuck Bittner created a petition to underline the importance of remapping controls in video games.
The publicity surrounding Gareth's plight has helped increase numbers further and the list now stands at over 22,000 signatures. Developers - and EA in particular - please take note. ®
RE: What about the device maker?
To quote the petition:
"This petition is from my perspective as a disabled gamer who finds many games unplayable because of my inability to reach buttons, but also for millions of gamers who find today's game presets don't meet their needs.
Option 1. Developers: Could spend the time and resources needed to build reMapping into their games.
Option 2. Console Manufactures: Build reMapping into your systems. Allow users to build reMapping layouts and save them. What are the benefits of console side reMapping?
1. It will free the game developers from needing to do any more coding or QA testing.
2. One reMap for multiple games. For example if a player has one Call of Duty layout he can use it across all CoD games."
A specialised device maker would result in cost prohibitive devices that would only suit an extremely small group of people. As demonstrated by the YouTube videos of Chuck Bittner and Gareth they are capable of using existing devices. The problem simply exists in that certain games have mappings that hinder their play since the layout is not conducive to their playing technique.
As a left hander who has frequently found it difficult to play some FPS games which assume you are right handed and do not provide key remapping I gladly welcome this to be a universal feature. There's also the consideration that many people would like the ability to remap keys to match that of others games for consistency.
'Agreed. I am myopic - and yet everybody would scoff if I demanded that the Government make road-signs bigger (and make pedestrians wear fluoro jackets) so that I can drive my car. Instead, I wear glasses.'
As does he. So he can play games, he uses a customisable mouse.
The problem is EA's lack of basic accessibility regarding key mapping. Something that, disregarding lazy console ports, is (or at least was) pretty standard within PC gaming.
It's not even just an accessibility issue for those with disabilities. It's a usability issue for anyone who expects to be able to remap controls in this kind of way, of which I'm pretty certain he won't be the only one.
Control customisation: Yes.
I'm not disabled, I just don't see why I should waste my effort fighting the manufacturer's sucky keyboard layout instead of fighting giant robots. Or werewolves. Or whatever.
Also, if the only way to choose which spell to cast is to scroll through a long list while under attack by razor fanged dickwolves then you need to sack your interface designer and your momma smells. kthxbai
Did you watch the video?
If you did, you'd see that he already uses "a special controller that is adapted to his needs". The problem is that the game won't let him remap the actions the way he needs to, which is purely a problem with the user interface of the game itself.
Try maybe next time finding out what's actually going on first?
Easy accomodation that improves the game for everyone
@Neoc, regarding "I am myopic - and yet everybody would scoff if I demanded that the Government make road-signs bigger (and make pedestrians wear fluoro jackets) so that I can drive my car. Instead, I wear glasses. Ditto in this case - yes, there are times when things need to be changed but where do you draw the line? "
This really isn't like expecting to replace signs with bigger ones instead of wearing glasses*. I really don't think it's too much to ask to allow each game to allow it's controls to be mapped to whatever key, mouse or joystick action the user wants. I haven't ran many new games, but a while back every game had this functionality, and it would have been a game defect if it didn't. He's not asking for something like custom support for his controller, he's asking for functionality that every PC game should have. A few years back, the gamer didn't have to learn new controls for every game if they didn't want to, they'd remap the game to the controls they were most comfortable with (and have to get used to perhaps a few extra keys for special functions.) He's honestly not asking for changes that should be heavily invasive to the game design, the key and mouse input likely all comes in though an input layer within the game anyway (and, if in fact it's a port from a console, the game probably assumes some game pad buttons or the like, so even the key remapping code probably exists within the game already.)
*Side note. When I was in Florida, I did in fact notice the road signs, especially speed limit and stop signs, were VERY VERY large. I think it actually was to accomodate all these old codgers that should be off the road but still drive down there.