Abby Dreith is a founding member of our esports team, Volt.
The topic of video games has been in the rotation of mainstream buzz since its inception. What makes the media of gaming so unique is that it’s everywhere. Consoles, computers, smartphones, and even public places. Although most of the world’s population has easy accessibility to video games, it’s the accessibility within these games that needs questions raised.
Growing up in the budding of widespread gaming mania, I played video games from an early age. I remember playing Peggle on the family computer, Pokémon on the DS that I saved up my well-earned money for, and finally outsmarting my dad on Mario Kart on our Wii. I also remember playing Tetris on my mom’s flip phone, and watching whichever kid I was babysitting at the time play Fruit Ninja or Temple Run on their iPad. Gaming was, is, and will be everywhere.
The concept of video gaming and online personas are such a monumental form of self-expression. Nowadays, with massive multiplayer online platforms, or MMOs, people are able to express themselves through conceptualized avatars and network amongst themselves without the pressure of physical-appearance perceptions. In my long tenure of gaming, I’ve met so many wonderful people I’ve found through gaming and common interests. From my own standpoint as someone with autism, gaming has been a truly positive aspect of my day-to-day life, helping me find new interests and friends, and optimizing my cognitive skills and intelligence.
However, there is by far so much more work that needs to be done. For people with physical disabilities, it’s an uphill battle for video game accessibility. Certain aspects of story and gameplay require controls that are not accommodating to players with physical disabilities and a lack of settings regarding controls and visual/audial sensory adjustments. Providing solutions for these issues, as well as incorporating proper disability representation in gaming will be key to dismantling ableism in one of the most popular forms of media on the planet.
I am beyond excited to provide a wonderful community, partnering with Easterseals Crossroads to enhance the gaming scene in the Indianapolis area. If you or someone you know is interested in Easterseals Gaming, the Crossroads gaming discord is here: https://discord.gg/K4ymTdCAVN. Our Discord server is for players 16+ at the present moment, but we are also developing other programs for gamers under the age of 16.
We are also starting our own esports team, Volt, very soon. If you are over the age of 18 and interested in joining Team Volt as a member, feel free to reach out to us!