Part 1 of the Revisited series is available here!
A lot has changed in the five years since I first created Diary of a Disabled Person, so I decided to take a look back at content produced in my first two years of writing and update some of my earliest articles. So, in no particular order, let’s revisit The Virtual Cure (originally published 28th October 2018).
Since publishing The Virtual Cure I have become even more invested in video games than before, having played through more campaigns than I could possibly count. I’ve played expansive RPGs like Skyrim and The Witcher, challenging combat-focused games like Monster Hunter World and Dark Souls, and pop-culture staples like Mass Effect and God of War. It’s a hobby that can be performed sat or even lying down, requiring only that I can move my fingers and open my eyes, making it possible to enjoy on all but the very worst days of my chronic illnesses. I especially enjoy gaming when I’m alone as the interaction keeps me engaged, helping me to hold depression and anxiety at bay, and story-based campaigns are more effective than multi-player games. If nothing else, I love stories, and recently video games have told some of the most powerful and moving stories I’ve ever encountered. The ending to Horizon: Zero Dawn still makes me cry.
These days, my love of video games has spilled over into other aspects of my life. I decided to read The Witcher books because I liked the video game, and that has resulted in me leading a campaign of the tabletop RPG. I have a plushie of Aloy, my favourite video game protagonist of all time, placed prominently in the lounge. I tweeted a whole thread documenting my journey through Dark Souls. Even as I write this, and often while I work, I am playing a video game score as it helps me to focus.
Admittedly, I know that I am extremely privileged to be able to play video games as often as I do. The accessibility of video games varies wildly, and even premium games are not guaranteed to have options such as subtitles or aim assist. Given the significance of colour coding within video games such as Doom, if a special filter mode were not available the simple visual cues that tell you where to go next would be invisible to colour-blind players. Controllers themselves are also designed without limb difference in mind, and pricey adapted controllers may be required for those with limb difference impacting their arms and hands. While it doesn’t prevent me from playing games, control schemes that require you to press directly down onto a joystick are fiddly and take manual dexterity I lack; I often end up either not using that ability, or amending the control scheme in the settings if that is possible.
Additionally, gaming is also an expensive hobby, especially when it comes to obtaining hardware. While the games themselves can seem expensive, when you consider how much they cost in relation to the time spent playing them, it works out cheaper than other activities like going to the cinema. However, this still requires an initial bulk investment to purchase the game, and I know that I am privileged to be able to invest so much time and money into this hobby.
It really is a shame that gaming is not available to more people, because despite it’s unfair reputation for being childish and immature, video gaming has helped me push through more bad mental and physical health spells than I can count. I always know that at the end of a bad day, I can make it all melt away by stepping into a virtual world.
Now if you’ll excuse me, the PlayStation calls…