When Lee lost the ability to play video games because of spinal muscular atrophy, he lost a major part of his life. But with the help of gamer’s charity SpecialEffect, he’s conquered Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V.
“I’ve played games all my life,” he said, “and I got quite depressed when I couldn’t play them. It was taking a big part of who I was away.”
SpecialEffect, who specialise in helping people with disabilities to experience the fun and inclusion of video games, worked with Lee to find a customised equipment setup that exactly suited his individual abilities.
The charity positioned microswitches to harness the small finger movements in his right hand, and mounted two joysticks that he can operate using his chin.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to play GTA because of my limitations, but there are no limitations anymore,” he said. “With games I can do the things I can’t do because of my disability,” he said. “I can play football with my brother by playing FIFA, or drive cars.”
“Disabilities are very frustrating and limiting – you’re basically imprisoned. This is the charity that could help change your life and bring something back that you thought you’d lost.”
Before his condition had advanced, Lee had found out about the charity through a clicking on the SpecialEffect pitchside advertising board in Sports Interactive’s Football Manager 13 game.
Nick Streeter, fundraiser at the charity, said “We’re absolute delighted to be able to help Lee. His physical abilities are changing over time, and we’ll keep visiting him to modify his equipment so that he can continue to play games as effectively as possible.”
“Games are an amazing medium through which people make friends, socialise and come together for a common cause. To be able to extend that medium to people that would otherwise not be involved is both an honour and a privilege.”
Lee’s story is featured in a short YouTube video, shown below, by the charity