A Blast from the Past
Growing up, my sister and I were immersed in the world of gaming. Our first console was a Spectrum, and we spent countless hours playing the Sega Mega Drive together. Our love for gaming was instilled in us by our father, who even wrote his dissertation on the rise of Space Invaders in arcades.
A Change in Circumstances
However, as my father entered his 50s, he was diagnosed with early onset dementia, and his gaming days came to an end. Despite this setback, he still leads an independent life with the help of our mother. But certain activities, like playing complex video games, became challenging for him.
Discovering the PlayStation Access Controller
When PlayStation offered GLHF the chance to try out their new accessibility-focused controller, the PlayStation Access, I saw it as an opportunity to reconnect with my dad through gaming. The controller is designed to make gaming easier for all types of gamers, including those with disabilities.
I decided to play Sonic with my dad because it's a game he's familiar with and it can be played with just a joystick and a single button. The PlayStation Access controller offers customization options and larger buttons compared to a standard controller, making it more accessible for my dad.
Overcoming Set-Up Challenges
While there were a few issues with setting up the controller, once everything was configured, playing the game became easy. My dad chose the traditional joystick and the large central button for simplicity. We were also given two controllers, allowing me to take over if needed.
A New Level of Enjoyment
We started with Sonic Origins, the games my dad remembers. Although there were some challenges, such as difficult jumps and spikes, he was able to complete levels with gentle instruction. The joystick and large central button played a significant role in his success. Plus, he could play lying down, which was more comfortable for him.
Next, we tried Sonic Superstars, which offered a more robust co-op experience. My dad could rejoin the game at any point, even if he fell behind. While the Access controller was primarily developed for those with physical disabilities, it has broader applications for people with different types of disabilities.
Reconnecting Through Gaming
The PlayStation Access controller allowed my dad and me to bond over gaming once again. This pastime holds a special place in my heart, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to share it with him. While no controller can address all accessibility issues, the development of controllers like this is a step in the right direction.
Written by Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.
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