Life

Finish the Level – Gaming for Dyspraxic People

Dyspraxia is described by the Dyspraxia Foundation as:

Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), also known as Dyspraxia, is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. DCD is formally recognised by international organisations including the World Health Organisation. DCD is distinct from other motor disorders such as cerebral palsy and stroke, and occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. Individuals may vary in how their difficulties present: these may change over time depending on environmental demands and life experiences, and will persist into adulthood.

It’s described by me as: clinically clumsy.

I trip over words, over pavements, over my own thoughts constantly. I struggle with coordination and with mental processes. So, for example, walking down a set of stairs takes a fair amount of concentration. It also means that I often stumble through sentences and have to get friends to explain board games to me over and over again until it finally sinks in because instructions? Really not my jam.

Speaking of games.

I love games. I love board games, tabletop rpgs, word games, card games and video games. The only problem with video games, I’ve found, is that easy mode isn’t often all that easy for me. With board games and card games, I generally play with supportive, patient people. However, this kind of compassion can’t be found in a video game and there’s actually surprisingly little guidance built into games to support people like me. If you can’t get past a part, nobody can explain or support you and to be honest, once it’s gotten to that stage of difficult, it only gets worse so there’s no point continuing. The number of games I haven’t been able to finish far outweighs the number I have managed to.

Those I have managed to finish, though, have had such an impact. To the Moon, Child of Light, Never Alone to name a few. I love them. The storytelling, the immersion, the personal investment in these stories and characters is up there with my experience of books and films. These have been hard to find but worth the search.

I know that I won’t be the only person that’s struggled this way, in fact I’ve already asked around and there’s lots of us with motor disabilities that still want to be involved with games.

So I’ve started a casual, infrequent newsletter called Finish the Level. Every few weeks or so, I’ll provide a list of games that I’ve played on Xbox or Steam that I feel are accessible to people like me. I’m really excited about this project and if you would like to pass on suggestions (for any platform!) please let me know, I’d love to hear it.

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