Ditto once again talks with Steve Spohn of Able Gamers at PAX East
Last year, while exploring all the many things PAX East had to offer, Ditto came across the AbleGamers booth and was able to talk to Steve Spohn, the Editor-In-Chief of the AbleGamers Foundation, about the amazing work that AbleGamers does, helping disabled kids and veterans to get back into accessible gaming. It was the interview that meant the most to me last year, and so Steve was the first person I checked with once I had my PAX East tickets for this years’ show. AbleGamers was once again hanging out at PAX East (this time with a bunch of Pachinko machines!!) telling people all about the organization and showing off accessible gaming hardware, like an Asteroids game you can play just with your eyes!
I was able to talk to Steve again and found out all about what AbleGamers has been up to, we talked about AbleGamers To Go, and he gave me some tips on something very challenging for many people – and furry monsters – mobile touchscreen gaming.
The interview is below and is available on YouTube, there is a complete transcript below the video, and the video is fully closed captioned. It was great talking to Steve again, and I hope to work with him and AbleGamers more in the future.
Ditto: Hello again Steve, how’s it going?
Steve: I’m doing good, how are you doing Ditto?
Ditto: Good, great to see you again!
Ditto: For my fans, we met last year at PAX East.
Steve: Yes we did.
Ditto: And for my fans who might not be familiar, this is Steve Spohn, the Editor-in-Chief of the Ablegamers foundation, which is an excellent foundation and chaitable organization. For those who might not be familiar with the organization, can you tell us a little about what AbleGamers does?
Steve: Absoluely. Able Gamers Foundation is a charity that helps disabled people play video games. So what we do is we reach out to those who have some sort of disability, and we help them figure out what kind of stuff they can use to help them play video games.
Ditto: OK. Well, some people might wonder why it would be important for disabled or differntly abled gamers to have accessibility in games. What are some of the advantages beyond the obvious ‘Being able to play video games’.
Steve: Well I would say that the number one advantage for anyone is to be able to reach out to your friends and family and have a good time with your loved ones. Because really, when you think about it, the most impartant thing we have in life is each other. People want to hang out, play together, and have fun together, and you know what? IF you need a little help doing that, that’s OK.
Ditto: OK, yeah that makes very good sense. I love playing with other people and the community in the games, and it ddefinitely enriches my life to be able to do that.
Ditto: Something that came up since our last talk last year.
Ditto: Mobile Gaming. Touch Sensitive screens is really taking off in recent years.
Steve: Yes, yes it is.
Ditto: And some people can have challenges with things like touch screens.
Steve: Yes they can.
Ditto: Ditto has challenges with touch screens because he is furry, so the screens do not work. What is AbleGamers doing and how can people who might not be able to use touch screens be able to access this new wave of games?
Steve: Well, for both fabricated and disabled gamers we find that mobile gaming is a challenge and it’s something that we have to work around. The best thing that you can do if you’re someone who has trouble using the touch screen, whether your hands are furry or your hand doesn’t work like you’d like it to, is to go to an iPad, because it’s bigger, it’s easier to control than a tiny phone, and if you absolutely can’t use a touch screen there are some great technologies out there that can help you play on your computer, and you’ll be able to use the same screen but use your mouse or keyboard.
Ditto: Oh, OK. Ditto also found that he can use a stylus, that helps me to play Wake the Cat, that’s one of my favorites.
Steve: Some people can use a stylus, but some people can also not grab them.
Steve: There are also some nice things that you csn stick right on your phone and act like a regular controller.
Ditto: Seems like somebody won Pachinko.
Steve: Someone is over there wining all the prizes right now.
Ditto: So if someone wanted to help out AbleGamers, obvioulsy donating to the organization is welcome, but are there other ways people can help, like volunteering?
Steve: Absolutely. We are always seeking people to help out, play Pachinko, and we always need people to come by the organization and help with whatever skills they can. Just go to the AbleGamers website and there is a portal for volunteers and there is a portal for donations.
Ditto: Awesome. So AbleGamers.com is the website, I’ll make sure I post all about that. And here is another one that Ditto is thinking about. If there are any game developers out there are watching Ditto – and why wouldn’t they be?
Steve: Of course.
Ditto: What things can they do to make a game more accessible, if they are working on a game, either a PC or an iPad game?
Steve: They can go to includificaiton.com, you can post that to your website, and what it is is a 48 page guide that we built for developers to know and look at how to make their games more accessible to the 33 million gamers out there with disabilities.
Ditto: Wow, OK.
Steve: And also, for both the community and developers, we have a project that we’re working on right now called ‘AbleGamers To Go’, and what that’s going to be, it’s going to be a giant double decker bus that has all kinds of great accessibility like switches and hardware and games, and we’ll travel around to children’s hospitals and VA centers and help out those people who can’t come to us.
Ditto: Oh that’s awesome! AbleGamers to go?
Ditto: That’s fantastic!
Steve: You can get all that info right on the AbleGamers website.
Ditto: Nice. And finally, what games are you playing right now? In all your spare time.
Steve: When I have time to play, I’m a Star Wars the Old Republic guy, and also I’ve been getting into Guild Wars.
Ditto: OK, great! Is there anything else you’d like to say to Ditto’s fans and friends out there?
Steve: Well, it was great meeting you last year Ditto, and we’ve had a lot of nice people coming by and saying they loved seeing us talk to you, and I really appreciate your support, so keep on supporting the foundation and supporting disabled gamers, and let everyone know how important it is that we can all game equally.
Ditto: We definitely will! Thank you very much Steve, and have a great day!
Steve: You too.