There are three things people with low vision consider a pet peeve: a person pointing off to the distance or saying “over there”, waving a hand in their face, and holding up their hand asking “how many fingers am I holding up.”
These are tests to prove if a person can see or not. I have low vision and there are things I can’t see. When a person points without adding extra details, I’m lost on how far to travel in that said direction.
Handicaps with Gaming
The same thing applies for being told something is over there without context, I have no idea where to look or what area to head to.
I find hand waving either in someone’s face or in general greeting annoying. Hands are hard to see for me leading to many friends becoming irritated when their greetings aren’t returned. A better way is a vocal greeting with my name and where the person is standing.
I will slap a person’s hand if it’s waved in my face because to me it looks as if someone is trying to attack me. The number guessing game is an insult on numerous levels because it takes a long time to figure out the fingers.
The last time a person asked me if they were wearing black gloves while standing in front of a dark, which is a bad combination for a person who has trouble with contrast to see, was a waste of our time.
The test is to prove if a person can see or not, but the test doesn’t prove anything. It’s an insult for people with low vision because people use it when they think a person with low vision is faking it.
In LARP Situations
When taking part in any type of games there are rules everyone must follow to stay safe while attending the event. A person with low vision must view these rules in a different way. Most LARPs want the players to stay immersed in the setting, not allowing phones to come into game.
This means that anything that’s handwritten I must ask another person to write or read to me. I was allowed the use of the magnifier app on my phone to enlarge the print along with the use of my white cane to ensure I didn’t trip or fall.
Having hyper sensitive ears, I was able to perceive numerous conversations in game allowing my character to know many secrets, though sometimes overhearing others’ conversations got me in trouble.
Not being able to see the person speaking, led people to consider my words to be rumors until I had enough proof to back up my claim. I was also able to hear staff speaking privately, yet I never used this intel not wanting to ruin other players’ experiences.
One thing that annoyed me was when big scenes would occurred during the game, I would be lost in what was going on because I couldn’t see the scene. I would ask another player for help to explain what was happening.
Many times that request was ignored. I don’t blame them many wish to stay in character and some had an odd assumption that my vision was fine because when I speak to people I would look at them in the eyes.
A trick I learned from training, a person’s eyes are a few inches above their mouth, but only a quarter of the time I’m seeing someone. I have a good memory, I use it to help me get around when places become familiar to me.
When I arrive to new places, I go slow using my feet and other senses to map out the new area. Once I am able to map out the location in my head, I become more confident, no longer needing the assistance from others. Another excuse people use when they assume I can see the way I’m going.
People often feel rude asking me what I can see yet sometimes, I wish more people would help cut down on confusion.
Let’s start with the basics, I have low vision meaning that I’m near-sighted and struggle to read fonts without the use of a magnifier or other technology. I’m color blind and can only see basic shades of color, but if you place a dark blue next to purple they would look the same to me.
Moreover, I have zero depth perception; many people will notice I tap steps and curves with my foot because I can’t tell where to step down. I have night blindness, meaning I can’t see at night and my eyes are also hyper sensitive to bright lights, which causes me pain after long exposure.
I wear shades to dim the natural light and have a filter on my glasses to cut down indoor glare. I have no perpetual vision on my right side and a tiny amount on my left.
Like Daredevil, my hearing makes up for my lack of sight, yet when it rains or snows the image I receive is a hazy cloud with not enough details to know where I’m heading. Clear objects like sliding doors and drinking glasses are difficult to see because they blend in to their background colors. However, if there’s enough light I can make out an outline.
Bardet Biedl Syndrome, affects more than just my vision. I was born with twelve toes, the extra two toes were removed at the age of four, when I was first diagnosed.
My height is short compared to other members in my family. And, another side effect is bending stunted and overweight, an issue I’m still dealing with to this day. The disease interferes with the body skeletal growth, my spine never fully developed. I now have a metal rod fused to my spine to correct a severe curve caused by scoliosis, that was affecting how I walked.
It can cause hygiene and dental problems, which results in me covering my mouth often and I have a slight speech impairment. It can interact with a person’s mental and emotional status, yet most people claim I’m overemotional or oversensitive or difficult, yet, I am an intelligent woman.
The community of LARP is trying hard to improve the gameplay for players with disabilities. Some game creators are reaching out to schools for the blind and deaf to get hands on experience. Seeing how white canes work and how touch can change a person’s experience while LARPing.
The group I LARPed with now are trying to make small improvements to their game allowing me to use technology and ensuring battle occurs away from me.
There are follow-up surveys after events where I mention what I enjoyed about the game and ways to improve what were still problematic to me. I don’t expect the game to be perfect knowing a large number of people who attend events aren’t like me, but some still lack the courage to ask questions to improve their gameplay.
Placing a bandage over a wound won’t heal it, it will merely cover it for a while, a feeling I get when I pay at an event and yet spend most of the time either invisible or ignored.
Furthermore, LARPing to most people is a hands-on interactive game allowing people to escape from reality. It allows a person to become a character that isn’t who they are in real life. Despite having low vision, I take part in LARPs for a weekend and I want to feel included and not judged on my lack of sight.
I grew up with people only seeing my handicap and not the person using the white cane. I know there’s still a gap between normal players and ones with disabilities. My hope is that one day it will no longer exists.
Now shush, I’m trying to read.