TracerNet #1 – Being a Disabled Gamer
Hi everybody, I’m Tracer and I am writing this new weekly article series called TracerNet. My first weekly article will be about being a disabled gamer and how games affect my life. When I first started gaming, I was 3 years old playing on the Nintendo 64. My disability had not worsened until I was 6 years old and gaming wasn’t really on my mind. When I was recovering after I was released from the hospital, I started playing on my then brand new PlayStation 2. My Muscular Dystrophy was hard on my hands where games had you using the joysticks as buttons because I couldn’t push hard enough.
Quite a few years later, my family had bought an Xbox 360 and again, I could not push the joystick buttons. This was my biggest problem with gaming as it was a continuous issue besides all the surgeries I had. Then when I was in my mid-teens, I had an arm surgery to make my left arm stretch out. That surgery had caused a lot of my strength to be lost and I never thought I could game ever again. After countless amounts of therapy, I was back to gaming but at a cost. The problem wasn’t my muscles but my fingers being stiff from the surgery. So I started gaming as I sat in my wheelchair instead of laying down.
Now, 3 years ago when I was 18, I was in the hospital with major health issues. One day when I was extremely bored playing a game, an occupational therapist (someone who does upper body therapy) and I were talking about how I can not push the joystick buttons. He had done some research and found the Razer Sabertooth Elite Xbox 360 controller. The buttons are programmable so that means the joystick buttons are as well. This controller has made my life easier because I can push the extra buttons on the controller which are programmed to the joystick buttons. I still have and use this controller today and couldn’t be happier.