Seclusion turns to inclusion

 In Freedom Friday, Miscellaneous
Common video game controller being used with two hands.

Common video game controllers require two hands to operate. Photo credit:

When I was growing up video games were just starting to gain a large audience. I remember going over to my friend’s house and playing no-stop for hours. After an unfortunate accident, my friend was not able to use his left hand, leaving him unable to use the game controller.  Soon after the cast came off, we were able to resume our Tecmo Bowl tournaments.  In those days you needed two hands to effectively guide your character through each level.  So if you did not have the ability to use both hands to grip the controller and mash buttons, you were left out.

We talk about inclusion a lot; in April 2016, May 2016, 2015, and this topic was brought up in July, 2016 right here. I could go on and on.  Despite the fact that video games can lead to seclusion, they can also bring people together.  I am sure you can think of a time in school when you had shared interests with your friends, and maybe you even made friends because of a shared interest. Unfortunately, so many of today’s children love to play video games. So much so that recently software giant Microsoft recognized a need and unveiled it’s new Xbox Adaptive game controller; one that can be modified and used by those with specific needs.

A group of children gather around a tv while their friends use a new video game controller. It can be modified for use regardless of physical ability.

Everyone can play. Photo Credit: Microsoft

While attending Bemidji State, my senior thesis focused on video games.  More specifically, game preference, hours played and the possibility for increased tolerance to real-world violence. I was lucky to be able to survey several alternative high schools for this.  It revealed that for age groups 14-18 of those schools surveyed, 98% of those kids played video games.  And all of those kids wanted to know the survey results.  The classes were eager to have me back to discuss the numbers.  The topic brought everyone together.

I know, I know, playing video games does not get you anywhere in life. But remember how fun it was to be able to be a part of something like this growing up?  Being included.  It makes all the difference and I hope that this continues to pave the way for additional adaptive technology with everyone in mind. How does technology bring you into the mix? We would love to hear about it here.



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