Legally Blind Gamer Can Finally Play Pokémon Let’s Go After Years of Accessibility Issues
In a post on Reddit, GrumpyFinn talks about finally being able to play a Pokemon game and raising awareness for blind gamers
I can only imagine how difficult it would be to not have the chance to play a game due to accessibility issues within the actual game. Unfortunately, that has been a real issue of late when developer Toys for Bob and publisher Activision came under fire due to the lack of subtitles in their latest title Spyro for PS4. Thankfully this time, we have a more positive story to report and how Pokémon: Let’s Go gave a legally blind gamer the chance to play their favorite game again.
Going by the username of GrumpyFinn on Reddit, she explains why she is thankful to Nintendo for finally allowing her to play Pokemon: Let’s Go after years of not being able to on handheld because of being born with cataracts, hence causing her the inability to read the small text which explains what’s going on.
In response to a comment about using sound to play Pokémon, GrumpyFinn replied:
“I tried that as a kid but it just never worked for me. I had an assistant in third grade who had a Gameboy and Pokemon Blue and let me borrow it for a weekend. I realized pretty quickly that I couldn’t see anything, so I tried to listen but I just ended up getting frustrated.”
GrumpyFinn is labeled as 90% disabled according to the Finland government from where she lives and has roughly 2% of “normal” vision. She wanted her post on Reddit to “draw attention to the reality that disabled gamers exist and that we want to be able to play new titles the same way as the rest of you, without having to emulate or use third-party workarounds.”
Due to being able to access Pokémon: Let’s Go now on her TV via the Switch, she is able to read the words much better for the first time even though she does have to sit very close, but for once is finally able to feel included with the rest of the gaming world.
“I have a RetroPi. But the point was that this is the first Pokemon game that I’ve ever gotten to go out and buy and play at the same time as everyone else, the same way as everyone else.”
“…it’s easier to pretend disabled gamers don’t exist. Part of my day job is giving lectures on accessibility and one thing I always touch on is the disconnect between game devs and gamers. This comment section shows pretty clearly what I mean. Game devs are eager to make games playable for everyone, where as there are loads of gamers who just assume anyone like me is just out for sympathy rather than trying to raise awareness to an issue.”
Even though this is a huge victory for GrumpyFinn in regards to being able to play Pokémon: Let’s Go, she does state that “It’s not perfect in terms of accessibility, but it’s enough for me.”
Subtitles have been and will continue to be an important feature that without question, should be implemented in all games with also text size adjustments. This feature is especially important for deaf and visually impaired gamers. Microsoft is excellent at highlighting accessibility, even creating their very own Christmas advert with a nine-year-old boy named Owen who has Escobar Syndrome which limits his mobility, but using the Xbox Adaptive Controller allowing him to continue his passion for gaming.