Just Say No to Xbox’s Natal

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I’ve been a gamer for many years. I got my earliest sore wrists and blistered fingers courtesy of the games on the Commodore 64/128, which is like caveman gaming compared to today’s systems. And I usually welcome and look forward to what comes next for the gaming world; until now. Xbox has hit a nerve with the announcement and introduction of Natal at E3.

For those of you not in the gaming world I’ll give a brief description of what Natal is. Natal is essential a device that will recognize the Xbox user through a camera and will in-turn make the user the control for the system for everything. And while techno-geeks are drooling worldwide at this idea, I am fuming like a volcano.

You see Natal was demonstrated at E3 and designed to be operated by a healthy individual who has no physical limitations. And I am a disabled gamer with limited mobility, like dozens of other disabled gamers, sense yet another part of society forgetting that we are here and part of society. And how many disabled individuals use video games as a means to take part in activities that the disability does not allow them to do in real life. For example; I was always fascinated an intrigued by skateboarding as a kid but because I need a wheelchair meant I could forget about skateboarding. That was until the Tony Hawk series of games was released and, albeit a simulation through, I was able to take part in something I had always wanted to do.

Now I know; but the Wii is motion sensing and isn’t Sony doing their own motion sensing device why are you attacking them? Simple answer is that those are motion sensor gaming through a remote device that in some cases re-act with the slightest flick of the wrist or a simple point and click. Xbox is essential saying with Natal that they could care less about individuals with disabilities or physical limitations. And the last time I checked such an act is against a little piece of legislature known as the American with Disabilities Act which calls for fair and equal treatment of individuals with disabilities. And based on demonstrations of Natal seen at E3 and leaked by gaming companies it’s safe to say that Natal does not treat the disabled gamer fairly and equally by design.

I ask that everyone help spread the word about this in order to get Xbox to rethink and redesign Natal to take all games, healthy and disabled, into consideration. And in the coming weeks and months I will be trying to contact Xbox in the hopes of getting this issue handled. I’ll have updates on this as they happen.

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