[games_access] "I want to help the handicapped!" - four different views of disability

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Wed May 24 12:19:31 EDT 2006

very thought provoking and reminds me of richard recently saying the 
now infamous quote about disabilitlies: "nothing about us, without us"

social justice is a tricky term as well but i hope it refers to the 
last view on the web page. i get very heated when i hear how i 
"suffer" with dyslexia, that it somehow renders me "less" something 
(usually the term people are trying to go for without saying it is 
intelligent), and that because it lies somewhere in the spectrum of 
"learning disabilities" it means that i need x, y, z to go on with 
the business of living.

so when you hear me talk about the range of a particular disability, 
i'm usually coming about it from my own life. i got through all of my 
undergraduate education without anyone noticing it and i probably 
would still not know about it had my last class not been focused on 
cognitive psychology (and suspected by the instructor). so when i say 
"well, it depends..." when pressed for information on how much needs 
to be provided in games for the learning disabled (or any 
disability), that's where i'm coming from. because, honestly, not all 
of us need everything -- but that fact remains that it should be 
available in case someone needs something. it's a balancing act but 
the options should be there because it represents respect for those 
who buy our games -- that is, respect in the individuals who might 
need to or prefer to play a game the way THEY want to play. it puts 
games back into the realm of "play" where rules are made up on the 
fly in the effort to include more people rather than an idealized 
version that a "director" or "producer" has that may or may not 
reflect the reality of the way people really play.

there's a somewhat parallel research area on this called "reader 
response theory" where it calls attention to how we take 
stories/books and interpret them with regard to our own life and 
situations rather than worry so much about what the author meant. 
it's kind of this way with games -- do we play games and wonder 
"hmm...should i know more about Will Wright's childhood and family 
upbringing in order to play this game and interpret this game in the 
'proper' way? is there no value in just playing the game the way i 
want to?"

ok...that was a rant! :)


>Thought that you might find this interesting:
>- "I want to help the handicapped" - explains four different views 
>of disabilities. Quite to the point.
>games_access mailing list
>games_access at igda.org
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