PBS Game/Show is a great YouTube channel where Jamin Warren discusses topics relevant to video game design, culture, and industry. (With a format and tone similar to PBS Idea Channel) This week they put up a video about the challenges of disabled gamers and how video games can be designed better to include them:
Warren has been great, in part, by taking up the mantle of discussing progressive topics about sexism, racism, and other toxic elements in games and their players. This video is another strong example, though not mandatory to watch for this post. I include it as it was my inspiration to write and a great context to couch this post in.
I’m very much on-board with the many ways game designers can work to include simple options to enable disabled people of many different kinds to play their game! What struck me, though, was his mention of left-handedness issues with Pikmin 3’s touchpad and stylus. This made the entire conversation much more relatable to my experience being a southpaw gamer! I want to share several examples of where lefties struggle, show the importance and challenges of including lefty characters, and share some design choices that can include us (and that strongly align with including disabled gamers).
I should state, however, that being left-handed is not a disability. I simply find the problems and solutions in video gaming to be similar and a useful branching point.