“When you hear the word ‘disabled,’ people immediately think about people who can’t walk or talk or do everything that people take for granted. Now, I take nothing for granted. But I find that real disability is people who can’t find joy in life and are bitter.”-Teri Garr.There has always been a stereotype for those who are different one way or another.
The stereotypes have been passed on from one generation to another as each year passes. The people labelled as disabled form a small part of society that is mistreated for a condition that is beyond their control. Accidents, heredity and complications during birth are some causes of disability in some people. Meanwhile in others, the causes are unknown and yet to be found, strengthening the idea of it being completely out of their control.
But through awareness, people living with disabilities are slowly being recognized in different aspects of society- politics, athletics, the corporate world, various sports and in the world of gaming and esports.The world of esports seeks to be as inclusive as possible for every one of every race, creed and belief. One major thing the industry has done is to include persons living with disabilities and help them get involved in the world of esports. All kinds of competitions and events have been held all over the world to give people living with disabilities a chance to participate in the world of esports.
The industry has done a great job opening its arms to these people by generally accepting them into the gaming community as well as providing user-friendly equipment to make it easy for them to use and to take part and enjoy the world esports.
Several people living with disabilities are making a name for themselves in the world of esports despite their conditions. Mike ”Brolylegs” Begum who was born with Arthrogryposis and Scoliosis plays streetfighter. Randy “N0M4D” Fitzgerald who was also born with Arthrogryposis plays call of duty. Chris “Phoenix” Robinson, who is completely deaf in his left ear and has severe hearing loss in his right ear, competes for a myriad of titles, in Street Fighter and Tekken.
These are all people who have conquered their disabilities and could even be considered heroes in the world of esports. Looking at all these substantial achievements obtained by these individuals, can disability still be considered a misfortune or disadvantage?Gaming companies are also making disability friendly gadgets to aid those living with disability as they indulge and enjoy the world of esports. The history of this evolution goes as far back as the 1980’s.
Charities like the AbleGamer Charity, which is the world’s largest charity for persons with disability have been set up to give these individuals a sense of belonging in the gaming space.1986 had Nintendo’s hands free controller for the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) which was the first piece of mainstream accessible technology in video gaming.
The most recent and notable changes being in 2020 where ABLEGAMERS certified 113 developers as accessible player practitioners, promoting accessibility at major AAA studios.