It's hard to say exactly why children with autism are some of the greatest devotees of Minecraft, the computer game in which you build endless worlds out of LEGO-like blocks. Stuart Duncan, a father of two, believes it's because it's a perfect union of two opposites. On one hand, Minecraft offers structure - everything from the water to the doors to the falling lava behaves with a certain predictability that they need. On the other hand, it gives the player infinite freedom. There's no story, no levels, no bosses presenting participants with quests to complete. Behind the shield of their computer screen, players can do whatever they want to do in a sensory-friendly space - recreate the Taj Mahal, light up a house with torches, or hide in a cave.
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In late 2016, Brad Hennessey made one of the toughest decisions of his life. He took the game he'd spent two years of his life on and he trashed it. He wanted to make something different. Something that mattered. He wanted to make a game that reflected his life experience as a young man living with autism.
That's when he decided to start working on the game that became An Aspie Life.
While there have been a handful of comic book characters like Marvel's M-Twins and Chip Reece's Metaphase who are people with super abilities and people living with cognitive disabilities, there's yet to be a hero with Down syndrome leading his or her own comic. In Lion Forge's upcoming Superb, that's going to change.
Elizabeth E. looted everything in Fallout 3's Raven Rock. She collected three units of vodka, five stealth devices, four cuts of mirelurk meat and 88 Stimpacks, which weighed her down a considerable 1,437kg. Her pack was so heavy that travelling from Raven Rock to Fort Independence took four hours. She was over-encumbered and couldn't fast-travel. Elizabeth didn't mind; that way, she could talk to all the non-player characters on the way. After three playthroughs, her save file recorded over 500 hours.
As well as getting traditionally lazy, couch-bound gamers out into the real world to rack up steps on their fitness trackers, the world's most newly-popular mobile game could be doing some genuine good to build social skills and interpersonal relationships. Craig Smith, an educator, researcher and autism expert, has built a guide for parents to use to educate their children using Pokemon GO outside of the classroom, or for people with autism to expand their horizons, with a focus on the game's real world interactions.