Why retro gaming is better for physically disabled people

Naomi McAdam is a gaming student at City College Brighton. She’s passionate about game design and uses a whole range of tech to help her deal with her spinal quadriplegia level C3. From the text-to-speech apps built into her phone to touch screens and her tablet, tech is a key part of her college success.

The tech I love, by Naomi McAdam

1 Speech-to-text
I use speech-to-text on my mobile phone all the time, it's really, really helpful. I use it for texts, emails and especially for work. It's much easier than writing.

2 Touch screens
Typing on a touch screen is 10 times easier than pressing buttons because I have no physical strength in my fingers. So pushing on a button like with the old Nokias was freaking impossible!

3 A tablet
I use Photoshop a lot because I'm an artist, so using a tablet is extraordinarily helpful for me instead of using loads and loads of paper.

My tech wish

Although her tech gives her the power she needs every day, there are plenty of things Naomi is hoping to see in the shops soon.

“With video game technology, I use big controllers that have got massive buttons, but obviously you can only use those controllers for retro gaming now. You can't use them for say, a PS4. There's been nothing recent made, that I know of, that's been made for disabled people to game with.

“Back in early 90s, Nintendo and Atari made these big big controllers that my father went out and got for me especially to play Zelder or Mario. They stopped making them because of the lack of demand.”

Thanks to Naomi and the film students at City College Brighton for working with us on this collaboration. You can see the full series, here, including Hugo, who is dyslexic and James, who is deaf.


If you're a university student who has a disability and you'd like help with tech, we might be able to help, here