If you see strange people wandering around parks staring at their phones, they are either addicted to Periscope or they are playing the latest craze to hit planet Earth – it’s Pokemon Go!
The Pokemon Go game involves people hunting for animated Pokemon characters in the real world via a mobile phone app. Once you find a Pokemon, you have to throw Pokeballs at the character in order to catch it. You can also collect Pokeballs at Pokestops in the real world. There are also Pokegyms where you can battle other Pokemon but you’re probably already confused.
I’m always up for a challenge so for research purposes of course, I downloaded the app and set off in my wheelchair. This is where the problems started, in order to track down the Pokemon you need to be constantly checking your phone, potentially crossing roads, and accessing places quite difficult to get to in a wheelchair. Once I found a Pokemon, I tried to flick a Pokeball at it. Easier said than done when you have dexterity problems like me. I had to hold the phone still with one hand, aim it correctly and then fire, or fling, or whatever the correct terminology is.
It’s not just me who has experienced problems. Gamers with a visual impairment have been up in arms about the lack of consideration the game designers have given to access issues.
While some people may think it’s all a big fuss over a short lived craze, I think it does raise some serious issues. Why shouldn’t young (or old) Disabled gamers be allowed to join in with the hottest game since…er,..the last one? While I may be happy playing Tetris or Solitaire, Disabled gamers should get equal access to the latest games. Some of these games cost as much as a Hollywood movie to make, so there is no excuse for the game makers not to devote more resources to it.
Disabled People get left behind in the real world all the time so let’s make sure they don’t get left behind in the ‘virtual’ world too.