Introducing the winner of the AbleGamers Fellowship 2016: Alex James Ryan

Trion Worlds is thrilled to sponsor the first ever AbleGamers Fellowship, providing $10,000 toward the scholarship of a very worthy recipient, Alex James Ryan. We’ve long been fans of the work that AbleGamers does in the field of accessibility for gamers across all games and all platforms, and are really pleased to be able to support their efforts.

 

We were deeply impressed by all four of the finalists for the Fellowship, and sent each a full suite of access codes for cool things for every Trion game: Atlas Reactor, RIFT, ArcheAge, Devilian, Defiance and Trove. Everyone here anxiously awaits their arrival on the gaming scene… or more precisely behind the scenes in the gaming industry!

 

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AJ, as he is known by his friends, is a core gamer and budding developer, using his feet as most of us use our hands. He has created mods for existing games to ease gameplay for many people and has big plans for the future. We’d like to provide a few excerpts from his application:

 

“…I love to create video games. I’m in a wheelchair and cannot use my hands so for tasks such as gaming and coding, I use my feet! I can type 50 words per minute with my feet and can beat you at Mortal Kombat. I also like watching anime and collecting retro video games.

 

I’ve recently started a game development studio called Inclusive Games that aims to create full experiences everyone can play including disabled gamers. As someone that’s disabled myself, it’s frustrating to see games ship without options that help me play games. Since I’m studying Computer Science and Media Informatics in my senior year of college, I now have the skills to make games so that’s exactly what I plan to do.

 

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And make games I do. I have a job at the Center for Applied Informatics as a mobile developer. I’ve been working there for almost two years! In that time at work I was lead game designer on a 9 month project where we shipped 18 mobile games. I’ve also released a few mobile games of my own.”

 

We wondered why AJ chose to go into game development, and where he’d like to go with his talents.

 

“So my initial reason for wanting to makes games accessible was so I could play games easier myself. In high school, I began posting Call of Duty commentary videos on the internet as ONLYUSEmeFEET, a play on popular Call of Duty player ONLYUSEmeBLADE. Through this I met other gamers with disabilities on the internet that did the same thing. A few of them became my friends including KAPGUN who plays with one hand and AskACapper who plays with his face.

 

AskACapper, whether he knows it or not, is one my biggest inspirations for Inclusive Games and Game Accessibility. When I first talked to him online, he showed me an internet petition he had asking Call of Duty developers to include more accessibility options such as Remappable Buttons in their games. He also petitioned accessibility for other games and was successful in getting options in Portal 2 and Borderlands 2.

 

A change I’ve gotten into a game was Toggle Aim in Battlefield 3 by emailing DICE. The feature was kept intact in Battlefield 4 so that’s pretty cool. And now with Inclusive Games I hope to take the fight into the game industry itself.

 

In 5 years, I’d like to be a Senior Game Designer at a large game company. Inclusive Games is something I’ll always be working on however; I want experience at a large game company so I know how to be successful in the game industry. Also by having high influence on a game’s design, I hope to make accessibility features common in recognizable games.”

 

We all echo the sentiments of our Vice President of Production, Russ Brown: Anyone who cannot use their arms and plays mortal combat with their feet AND is setting up his own game studio is a winner. The world needs more Alex James Ryans.”

 

For even more fascinating information about AJ, see his interview with AbleGamers here.

 

If you are a disabled gamer, caregiver or just interested in becoming part of the support network, please take a look at the AbleGamers website for many types of resources and ways to get involved!

 

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If you are a gamer with disabilities and want to know more about the AbleGamers Fellowship, please follow this link!

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