My experience as a disabled gamer

I was born in 1990 at 25 weeks and was 2 lbs 1 oz. I then had a stroke which left me with cerebral palsy on the left side of my body. When it comes to playing video games, my left hand doesn’t do much more than hold the controller steady. I don’t have the fine motor skills in my left hand to push the buttons on the controller with anything close to decent accuracy. When I was 8, I was trying to figure out which gaming console I wanted for Christmas. I was excited about some games had just come out, like Crash Bandicoot: Warped, Spyro the Dragon and Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (the first two are exclusive to Playstation and Ocarina of Time was exclusive to N64). I had a decision to make. Do I go with Playstation or N64? I went to the store and looked at the games and the consoles themselves. Finally, I tried to hold the controllers. When I was younger, I had much less patience with my disability. I got frustrated really easily when I couldn’t do something. So, I knew if there was even a doubt if I could hold the controller in my left hand, I wouldn’t get that console. As you can guess by the title, the Playstation controller felt much more comfortable and secure in my hand than the N64 did. The Playstation’s Dualshock controller then and now with the third version just naturally fit my hand better. The N64 controller seemed to be designed to make you move your hands around. From Wikipedia, about the N64 controller  “This design was controversial, as by its nature it prevented the use of all of its features with the player’s hands in any one position; the D-pad, L-shoulder, analog stick and Z-trigger could not all be used at the same time as it required the player to switch hand positions, taking their hands off of the key directional controls.” crash and spyro

These guys quickly became two of my best friends.

 With the introduction of the Xbox in 2001, I briefly considered switching, but the controller is so bulky, I couldn’t (and still can’t) get my left hand holding it comfortably and securely. Today, nearly 15 years after I started with Playstation, I’m still with Sony. I love my PS3 and preordered a launch day PS4 bundle (Watch Dogs and Knack!) For the most part, only being able to play video games one handed doesn’t bother me, though every once in a while I get frustrated when the controller slips out of my left hand. I play so well that most people online wouldn’t know it if I didn’t say anything. I’m happy with my decision and have loved the Uncharted, God of War and Infamous series. I am concerned about Microsoft’s decision to require a Kinect to be hooked up to every Xbox One in order for it to function. I am unable to do any type of motion gaming (nor do I want to). I understand that you aren’t required to use the Kinect, but why would I even hook it up if I’m never going to use it? I am glad Sony decided to not go that route  for that reason and because it makes the PS4 $100 cheaper than the Xbox One. One thing that I think Microsoft could do to better accommodate disabled gamers like myself is to redesign their controller (I know it’s too late for the Xbox One controller). Tom Warren of The Verge nails it pretty well.

Why doesn’t Microsoft put a lithium-ion battery in their controller? I honestly can’t remember the last time I’ve used batteries for something other than a TV remote. A lithium-ion battery would make the controller less bulky, and easier to hold for people like me. For people who worried about the battery life, Sony’s doubled the battery in the PS4 controller from 500 mAh (300 mAh in my controller) to 1000 mAh in the PS4 controller. Between Microsoft decision to require Kinect and their bulky controller design, I can’t help but feel snubbed by them.

Questions/Comments? leave them below or tweet me @petermorency

PS- if you are on PSN and want to play co-op, my ID is ghyul5.


One comment

  1. I saw this on the beyond group, I’ve always preferred the PlayStation controller myself and the PS4 one is even lighter than the PS3 one, great story man.

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