With all of the major technological advancements that we have been experiencing in the modern world in the last decade or so alone, there is no reason why those with special needs wouldn’t have the ability to game just like everyone else. There are tools that exist now that we didn’t have only ten or twenty years ago, that make what was once impossible for those with certain personal disabilities to enjoy video games. The following will be a short, yet comprehensive list of some of the most useful tools currently available for use to improve the gaming experience for everyone.
Those with special needs have a number of options at their disposal. Depending on your specific needs, transcription for online gaming can provide captioning for those who are hard of hearing or who are unable to hear at all and must rely on reading in order to visually see what other players are saying on screen. As for being able to read captioning presented as a default, there are also programs that exist to allow gamers to read what characters in a story are saying as well. Much as one would when reading captioning set up for a film, there is the ability for most devices to play back auto-generated captioning when and if the company does not provide a version of the game with captioning as an option.
Specially Designed Controllers
Video game controllers are the absolute default method that gamers use in order to actually play a game. Without using a controller, mouse, or keypad for a computer game, there would be no way to input a command for the game to do anything at all. Anyone who has experienced the scenario where using a typical controller isn’t a possibility will know how disheartening it can be to feel as if there is no other option out there. Since controllers are specifically built to match each console in such a structured way, it may seem as if that is truly the case.
There are a few specially designed controllers now for people with special needs, specifically set up to accommodate those with specific conditions. These controllers have special features added, removed, moved elsewhere on a controller, or the design is completely changed altogether in order to work better for people who have specific physical or mental conditions. Specifically, those who have physical impairments tend to have the most difficulty in using basic controllers.
Customizing Controller Options
Aside from the actual, physical controller, video games themselves are starting to allow users to customize their controller layout more broadly. An example of how this benefits those with special needs would be if the individual can, in fact, use a controller but are limited to how much of the controller they can comfortably use. Those who have conditions, such as quadriplegia, may be affected in how much of a typically-designed controller they can work with but are still able to handle it to an extent. Certain games like Brink are starting to allow gamers the ability to completely change the map layout of what button does what on a controller, which has proven to be an immense help to those with such conditions.
Virtual Reality Gaming
Virtual reality opens a whole new realm of possibilities for those with special needs. This format of gaming may be one of the most accessible to people of all time. Virtual reality technologies are developing at a rapid rate and research is being developed through VLE (Virtual Learning Environments) that are aimed at helping those with special needs. Anyone having difficulty with mobility, memory, spatial reasoning skills, and acquiring and retaining knowledge is being taken into consideration through this research.
Sometimes online gaming requires the ability to type in chat conversations. Anyone who has difficulty in typing (or typing quickly enough) may have heard of verbal dictation technology. If you haven’t, there is software that exists to help those who cannot type for whatever reason speak their words instead. When spoken into the software, their words are written out automatically for them. These can be implemented into video games when your computer is able to type automatically into whatever you have open that would usually require typed words.