Inclusive Design

Who do I want to design games for?
What games do I want to design?

These are two questions that I have been pondering upon for awhile now. The gaming industry has an untapped and unlimited potential to not only change the world but also to make some good coin. After all in this capitalist driven world, isn’t amassing gold a major part of our life? If it wasn’t then why is collecting loot such a big part of most blockbuster games.

treasure
Amassing treasure – is that what’s it all about?

Now it would be a complete cock and bull story if I didn’t admit, that amassing coin is one of my goals, and there is nothing wrong with that. Where I am different to the masses, is what do I want to do with it, where I feel I am different. I will explain my freakiness and weirdness at a later date probably, as this post is about something else and I don’t want to take you on another twisted journey through my mind and thoughts – very scary, very scary indeed!

Where was I?……

Inclusive Design….
That’s the topic of this blog, which returns me back to the first two questions I asked at the beginning.

Well to my humble self, I see plenty of opportunities and have ideas and concepts that will help in the medical field. Particularly in the field of rehabilitation for the poor peeps who have suffered an injury or disability. Now as a survivor myself of a motor cycle accident where I was knocked of my quad bike by a truck, leaving me intact (oh yeah! Just like Superman) but broken in various places (oh no! Not like Superman). I will not waste anytime describing the event and leave it to another blog, someday..maybe, but continue with this topic as it is a long, tragic and heroic tale of defeating demons and fighting of big bosses. Or was that my epic adventure in Skyrim? My mind gets confused at times, and yes I am digressing…doh!

One of the hardest things when recovering from a major life changing accident is the rehabilitation process, which can be just as painful, stressful and difficult as drug rehab, especially since we all have had drummed into our heads that quitters don’t get anywhere.

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Rehabs for Quitters!!??

One of the hardest things about going through rehabilitation was finding the motivation to make oneself better. Make oneself better? Shouldn’t that be already a major factor when trying to get better? Ah! Yes it should be, but sometimes after a major incident, the brain, heart and soul just wants to give up cos its just too hard, or in my case, so damn boring!

I was never a gym junkie, after all my work was very physical and I am blessed with a physique and metabolism that just doesn’t gain weight (I know ladies, I don’t mean to boast. Stab me now and then get science to check my lifeless corpse so hopefully the secret to weight loss can be revealed). I never had to play any sports as quite frankly I worked hard enough during the day, that the thought of chasing a ball up and down a field just did not interest me at all. I work hard enough, so I want to rest up hard as well. So going to a gym was something I just was not interested in, and even though I secretly wanted to have that washboard stomach and all the other guff, it was just too hard and to ‘un-interesting’ to want to go.

Now as I wanted to get better (on my good days) I did get of my backside and go to gym, but it’s no fun working out alone. Besides it sort of scares you off gym, when you are on a machine toiling away with laughable weights such as 2 kilograms, and a 6 foot 2, blonde, hell beast, Norse woman type walks up to you towers over you and in a low, deep husky voice says “Get of the machine Mr Puniverse”. One tends to move quickly, to another gym as well. The only thing I enjoyed going to gym was the music, the free towels, sauna and spa, you can take the rest of that macho, testosterone craparama and knock yourself out. I did not mind, but in fact did enjoy the burn, the feeling of muscles being pushed to the limit and yes, if I am honest, the view. There are a lot of pretty things to look at the gym, I assure you, just don’t come on ‘morbidly obese’ days.

(INSERT GRATUITOUS IMAGE OF SCANTILY CLAD FEMALE WORKING OUT)

During these times I also had a lot of downtime at home, and games did get me through and save my sanity. The ability to go online and kill, destroy, conquer and maim really did relieve the stress and drama of dealing with government entities such as WC and SS, and did prevent me from driving my truck through the orifices, oops I meant offices, many times. So as a stress relief tool, or as a distraction, games can fill that role very nicely indeed. The mental feel good aspect of accomplishing something can go a long way in helping a person on the road to recovery, because if the mind doesn’t want to do it,then the body sure as hell won’t!  I know it seems ridiculous, but at times being able to achieve or accomplish something in a game, helped one forget their real afflictions and restrictions.

jumping-highest-point-ss-1448931084056
Achieving in a game what cannot be done in life

Now besides the mental rehabilitation potential of games, there are probably countless ways a game can assist a person physically. There is already the basic physical interaction of thumbs and fingers with eye coordination but with the tech available today, it is now possible to have whole body interaction. I first thought of this idea when I purchased the Kinect with my Xbox console Xena.

For the first time, a gamer could actually get more physical whilst paying games. Now due to our ages and lifestyles, a lot of my gamer mates were not interested as it just meant a lot of physical work, which we avoided by playing games. The proof was in the pudding with our first boxing match. First rounds were all a flurry of punches and darting around the ring, but by the second round, our avatars were just standing there throwing out the odd punch as their bodies heaved trying to suck back in as much oxygen as possible. So for my friends, it was not an option,they were happy to stick to thumbs and fingers.

kinect-game-over-1024x576-930x523

My daughters on the other hand were different, dance games, action games, any Kinect enable game was gobbled up and played until the whole house was shaking with the thumping and jumping. This was a good thing, if we can get kids active, whilst playing games, it would shut up the detractors of games as them not being a healthy activity.

Go one step further and use it for rehabilitation. The Kinect was great as it could map out the players movements. Think of how this could be applied to teaching a person to walk again. Not only can the interface be set up to train a person by matching up their physical stance with the onscreen prompts, but it can also be made more interesting by incorporating it into a game. It doesn’t even have to be a traditional game with quests and the like, but even a journey through nature or wherever. Anything to help the person take their mind of the possible pain as well as remove them from the reality of the situation.

Unfortunately Microsoft and the masses in all their collective imagination and bank accounts did not see the potential of this wonderful concept and the Kinect was designated to die a quiet death unfortunately.

SAMSUNG VR
Samsung VR – New Possibilities

Fortunately there is new tech such as VR and augmented reality. These are even better and can be adapted so much easier for rehabilitation. Not to mention the use of apps and games to diagnose conditions such as color blindness, coordination skills, brain injuries etc etc.

I would love to explore this aspect of gaming more. The more gold I gather in this game of life should mean that the more people I am helping or assisting in some way. As I stated in the beginning that one of my goals was to amass gold and I can’t think of a better way of doing it.

Gaming isn’t just for gamer’s anymore, it is in fact – for us ALL!

Well that’s it for now. Thank you for your wonderful company. I hope to see you again soon. Till then…

Peace, love and blessings.

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