Inspirational Gamer of the Week: Mike “Broly” Begum

Today is Thursday, which means, it’s time to find a gamer out there that may give some enlightenment to the needs of disabled gamers. Here I wanted to show that disabled gamers can play just as well as abled gamers. The only difference between disabled gamers and abled gamers is that disabled gamers usually have to figure out and master a form of gaming that fits to them. This doesn’t mean that all games are accessible to them, but my goal here is to show how some have adapted their gameplay to fit the mainstream market. Broly is an example of a gamer who has overcome his condition to adapt it to play fighting games – games that he loves and enjoys. This video I’m posting was an interview done with Broly by Gootecks from CrossCounterTV.

“Broly” suffers from a condition known as arthrogryposis. Seattle Children’s Hospital Orthotics Department defines the condition as “a problem with muscles that causes them to contract so that they are rigid. This affects your child’s movement. It also affects shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, and feet.”

Children’s Hospital also hosts a support group for patients with the condition. Feel free to browse their site to find out more information on Broly’s condition if interested. Now, why is this guy so inspirational to me? Well here’s the thing: He only really has limited mobility in one of his hands, and he plays the rest of the buttons with his tongue! The guy is amazing and if you take a moment to watch this video you’ll see why. He has some profound words of encouragement for fellow disabled gamers. He, just hands down, is a really wonderful example of why bringing disabled gaming to a forefront would be an outstanding effort on the part of the gaming industry.

Last year his friends and supporters raised enough for him to go to EVO 2011 and compete in the Street Fighter IV tournament. This year he is hoping to do the same. If you would like to help his cause and allow him to represent disabled gamers on one of the most competitive battlegrounds on the game industry calendar please feel free to visit his Facebook support page, which I will link here:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Send-Broly-to-Evo-2011/211326905560713

Now why did I do this today? Why is it important as able-bodied gamers that we see examples of gamers like “Broly” succeeding like this and overcoming control schemes that would usually be daunting for even the most seasoned veteran? – because I want to make it know that the market is there. Gamers like Broly, I am sure would prefer, if they had the option, to play at a more comfortable level. If we, as designers, can begin to make concessions in our design plans to fit gamers like Broly, then I think the gaming industry could gain a major boost to revenue streams.

He already plays the game well in his physically challenged state, but by adding that extra sense of comfort, or giving him an option for a more comfortable control scheme – you open up a world of feeling competitive. This could definitely aid others like him who may have even worse conditions who wish they could be competitive on his level. There are probably countless kids and adults out there who would love to play a fighting game, with analog sticks and the like, but they can’t because they are hindered by lack of movement, loss of limb, or other impairment. Take a moment to read this article, look at the information provided, and if you want to help Broly get to EVO 2012 please do so. He’s a great face for the disabled gaming community, and thus, why I give him my seal of approval as Inspirational Gamer of the Week. Way to go man! Keep on KO’ing the noobs one tongue click at a time!

– Chad K.

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