It was game day for dozen of Brooklynites with disabilities who joined State Senator Roxanne Persaud and AbleGamers, a nonprofit that works to break down social barriers through video games, on Thursday at Brookdale Hospital.

“Video games are a mainstream form of entertainment today, so making them more accessible is important,” said Persaud. “For those who cannot leave their homes, video games are a way to go on adventures without going anywhere, and they allow players to be on an equal playing field, regardless of their disabilities.”

For the inaugural G.A.M.E. (Game Accessibility Means Equality) Day, AbleGamers brought the latest custom gaming setups including modified controllers and special assistive technology that allow people with disabilities to experience gaming despite their physical limitations. Attendees experienced hands-on demonstrations of devices such as the Xbox Adaptive Controller and played video games like Rocket League using the technology. 

And also the team from NBA 2K League’s Knicks Gaming, a group of professional competitive gamers and the inaugural 2018 NBA 2K League champions, were ready to put the game consoles to the test and battle it out with the attendees.

AbleGamers Program Manager Gregory Haynes, left, AbleGamers COO Stephen Spohn, Senator Persaud and the Knicks Gaming team. Photo courtesy Office of State Senator Roxanne Persaud.

After several rounds of gaming, Persaud presented AbleGamers with a resolution proclaiming May 16 as Global Accessibility Awareness Day in New York State, which happened to fall on National Global Accessibility Awareness Day this year. For Persaud, it was important to spotlight that disability does not equal inability “and shine more awareness on how accessibility should be considered in all endeavors, including video games.” A message AbleGamers COO Steven Spohn wholeheartedly subscribes to.

“Game Accessibility Means Equality Day is the first time AbleGamers has been part of a state proclamation,” said Spohn. “I can’t tell you how much that means to us! Together with Senator Persaud, we are telling the world that game accessibility is not only important but here to stay.”

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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