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I still remember the first game that I ever played. While Donkey Kong Land on the Gameboy Pocket was not necessarily the greatest game, and I specifically remember not being able to get past the 6th level, at the time it was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. The world was exotic (for my 7 year old eyes), the characters likeable, but most of all, I could easily play the game without using my right hand.
I have a disability called Cerebral Palsy, which if you don’t know, impairs motor function. From what I have been told, my cerebral palsy was onset by a prenatal stroke, and left me with the ability to only use the left side of my body (I can use the right side, but it is very impaired). Because of this impairment, I have needed to adapt to a different way of holding the controller using only my left hand. Luckily (for me), up until 2006, this had not been a problem. For the most part, almost every controller that I had played on until the Wii was released in 2006 followed the similar “horizontal brick” design. Because of this, it was easy to sprawl my fingers across the front of the controller and be able to succeed with relative ease. In fact, many of my video game endeavors proceeded with me holding the controller something like this:
With the introduction of the Wii, my world of gaming took a change for the strange. Where I had been able to flourish in years past, I was stopped by the Wii’s use of both a Wii Remote and a nunchuck. Then, the inevitable happened and disaster struck; the Wii became extremely popular. Luckily for me, many of the first party Wii titles (the games that I wanted to play most), were either GameCube controller compatible or Wii Remote-only compatible, so playing many of these games became easier as time went on. The amazing reception to the Wii came with a price though. Microsoft and Sony started looking at their consoles and seeing how they could introduce motion control. Playstation opted with a similar configuration to the Wii mote and nunchuck in the Playstation Move, and all I can say about that is that I am lucky that they haven’t really produced any big budget PSMove titles, because it would probably require two controllers, which would make it near impossible for me to play. The last of the motion control boom was a bit of a departure from the others, the Microsoft Kinect. I have to admit that I have only played a few rounds of Kinect Adventures on a friend’s Xbox, but the problem with the Kinect is that I cannot really bend my arm past a 120-degree angle. Two of the biggest games that I was looking forward to on Kinect were Your Shape Fitness and Dance Central, but since I am unable to really move my right arm, the barrier for entry seems a bit too daunting.
So please Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, keep the motion gaming at the peripheral market; I know that disabled gamers across the world will thank you.