We have all seen those commercials…you know the ones. A parade of people from every walk of life saying something like “I am a ______” or something. They are supposed to show how the world is nothing but a parade of different colors and shapes. Sometimes it comes across as hokey, as an obvious tug at the heart-strings.
But those commercials and other ads actually serve a great purpose: to get us used to seeing people from all walks of life. And I think it has worked. Even shows that have a silly character that is disabled do more just by featuring a disabled character, by letting people see disabled people as “just like everyone else.” They can be funny, mean, or even a stereotype.
But mainly because of my work with www.ablegamers.com, I have really started to notice how little (if at all, actually) disabled characters are featured in video games. While there are millions of disabled people in the United States (and I mean millions), you rarely see them in pixel form.
And it’s no different than in Free Realms. (Note: I am aware of the “older” pixies that need a cane to walk. I am not aware of any other character that needs assistance.)
I have been playing Free Realms since it released, and I love it, and I love how you can make a character that looks like you do, or at least how you would like to look. But what about players that might not look like the characters? What about kids in wheelchairs, or kids that need other assistance in getting around?
Granted, I can see the allure of playing a character that was not in a wheelchair if you were in real life, but it would be nice to see an NPC, at least, having fun like everyone else. Would there be some cruelty and jokes made at the expense of the player/NPC in the wheelchair or with the assistance device? Yes, of course. Kids and adults can be mean. But it happens in real life, too, and you can’t hide it there.
They could make it a cash shop item, free for disabled-in-real-life players, but costly for those wanting to get the device to make a joke out of it. I don’t know…just ideas.
And no, I am not “calling out” SOE. I am simply bringing up something that I have always noticed, but have probably never blogged about. In fact, it’s painfully obvious but the absence of a disabled character is still a truth.
It would be cool to see, that’s all. While those silly “I am an American” type United-Colors-of-Bennetton ads can make you snicker in their obvious cheap grab at your emotions, they still represent an attempt to show that we do all look different and come from different backgrounds.
It would just be nice to see in Free Realms. That’s all I am saying.