How A Basically Blind Girl Can Play Nintendo Games

Jennifer Powers suffered an anoxic brain injury at birth, and as a result she's practically blind, unable to "focus within a few inches of her face, even with very thick glasses". That should rule her out of playing regular video games, but nope, luckily, she's found a way to get her game on.

As her father Jeremy writes on his blog, because of the quirks of the Wii U's design - which in some games lets users mirror the TV content on the console's large controller screen - Jennifer's able to do something she's always wanted: play games with her family.

In particular, he points out the character of Nabbit in New Super Luigi U, which is not only controlled on the Wii U controller (so Jennifer can get close enough to see), but is invulnerable, so she can screw up and not die all the time because she can't quite play as "well" as the game needs.

Maybe not what Nintendo had in mind when they designed the console/game, but hey, it's a winner nonetheless.

The GamePad Helped My Daughter Play Her First Game (and She's Almost Blind) [Zenspath, via Game Politics]


    Awwwwwwww. Read this a few days ago but never saw any footage, it's so lovely.

      Yeah, I wrote the original article which had the picture, but then did the video the next day so everyone could see how happy this was making her...and honestly how well she was doing playing! :)

    I wonder if she can use a device such as the Oculus Rift, which has the screen right in front of your eye balls?

      i think she could, that and a few other head displays

      I would love to's just a tad expensive lol. I have some ideas and would love to speak with their company about it. I think, with some modification and how mobile computing is getting so much stronger now, the Oculus Rift could be used as a visual assistant...letting her focus out beyond the few inches she has without having to place her face into everything.

      Maybe, but not out of the box...

      The issue appears to be [correct me if I'm wrong] not that her retinas don't work, but that her eye's don't focus as they should. The maximum focal point her eyes can handle is only a few inches from her face.
      The occulus rift, while it places the screens inches from your face, has lenses inside to "correct" the image so that it pulls the focal point out to a meter or two, so that to your eyes it is like you are focusing on a large TV or monitor a few meters away.

      Would definitely pick up a Rift though and pull the lenses out of it to see if she could use it, though..... it would absolutely transform her world!

        I was thinking of taking it one step further - by attaching one (or two) cameras to the Rift, it should be possible to feed live images into the Rift? Then she may be able to go and enjoy a movie with her family or a day out at the zoo.

          I was actually already working on that idea lol. Part of why I am in school for Electrical Engineering. :)

    I knew a guy who had a similar vision issue. He had to play with his left eye practically pushing the screen. Was pretty good at CS.

      Good at CS??? How on earth was it even possible??? i can see well but man i suck at CS

    I made a game for blind people once, it was basically a maze chaser that used different sounds, so you ran away from one noise and bumped into walls made another noise until you started to build a basic mind map of the maze.

    The kids all liked it....I don't know if they are still playing it though cause that was ten years ago, though a game based only on sound does not have the problem of aged graphics.

      This game does sound familiar. Did Kotaku or other sites have articles on it?

      I would love to check that out actually. I don't know if SHE could play it, but there are some kids that she goes to school with that would benefit from something like that. Heck, could be THEIR first game. :)

    I believe there was also a similar story involving someones inability to see in 3 dimensions but through the 3DS a person was able to view their first object in 3D

    Awesome! With the escapism and bonding that gaming can bring, and whether it is utilising a games' quirks or just the absolute dedication of the player I truly love accessibility stories. Gotta love sharing the fun :)

    Hey to all, this is Jennifer's Dad, Jeremy Powers. Thank you for the kind words and for helping to spread this about. She has been LOVING being able to play a game with all of us instead of having to watch or do something else.

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