Crips in computer games: perhaps not?

Really interesting forum chat about disabled characters in computer/video games by game developers. Gamedev link

I’m pretty much a casual game player (All game genres on my iPhone, Sims3, Facebook). I’ve also done some Beta testing for games and had some success getting a Face book game to include aspects of disability within it (see my formal blog for that story). The latter was really good because it was about making game players consider equality to progress with the game.

The forum chat very clearly highlights some of the pros and cons of whether to include disabled characters in games including a lead role. You have to ignore their language (like labelling Forest Gump as brain crippled) because the points they make are very insightful.

I particularly liked their grasp of some ‘Social Model’ type thinking. That characters who start of without power inducing swords, magic clothing or unable to understand a puzzle are significantly disabled in there kingdoms. In fact the quests and puzzles to solve involve interacting with the game environment and characters to come up with solutions and progress. We perhaps don’t need Sword fighting wheelchair Ninja Warriors just for the sake of inclusivity?

Games set in mythical lands or other realities are one thing. However, take something like Sims3 where people play out life that is more similar to our own. I find it turns my stomach to see the game award mean interactions, bullying, vandalism, crime and anti-social behaviour. You can even deliberately torture and kill a Sim or their pet.

On one hand I’d like to see Sims with impairments be included into the mix and who wouldn’t love a dog with wheels for legs (*cough). However, with so much disability hatred amidst the population, how long would it be before we become victims of hate in both our virtual and real worlds?


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