Us gamers come from very diverse backgrounds. Every game has a target audience, and with the number of different game preferences and gamers out there, we have a huge diversity of different genres of games, but some gamers may have disabilities that would make some games nearly impossible to play and enjoy otherwise.
25 year old Hans Smith is a huge baseball and St. Louis Cardinals fan. Although, due to having Cerebral Palsy, Hans won’t be able to play in the real-world Majors, he is still a die hard fan. He is also a gamer (though, he actually refers to himself as a baseball player ;)).
A few years ago, he contacted Sony’s San Diego studio, the guys behind the MLB: The Show titles, and expressed his love for baseball, the team, and Sony’s branded MLB title, and asked the studio if they could include him as a player within the game. In response, Sony did, in fact, include him in last year’s MLB 10: The Show as an athlete because of that letter. It was very uplifting for Hans, and it allowed him to become the virtual athlete he wanted to be, but Sony’s work with him didn’t stop there.
With working with Sony, Hans helped develop new difficulty and gameplay modes that cater more towards disabled gamers who share the same passion for the sport and would love to play the game. This new mode is named after Hans’ Association for Disabled Virtual Athletes, and gives gamers that would, otherwise, have a hard time playing and enjoying the game to be able to do so.
A lot of the gameplay, such as running to the ball and the like, are controlled by the AI, but one-button accessibility to pitch and swing make it easier to play, and Hans just loves how he can get into the game like this, because it’s his reality.
Although many of us gamers don’t have to struggle with more complex control systems because of a physical disability, it’s still heartwarming to know that there are developers out there that would go out of their way to reach out to even a small number of their fan base. To hear more of his story, head on over to ESPN.com!
Written by: Jay
- Community Manager / Editor-In-Chief