Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"Gaming for a Cause." Social Justice Event

On Saturday, April 12, 2013 I attended the "Gaming for a Cause" event that was put on by The RIC Otaku and G.A.M.E.R (Games and Merriment Enthusiasts of RIC).  The event was put on to raise money for a charity called "The Able Gamers Foundation."  Able Gamers makes video game accessible to all people regardless of physical ability.  

"In Service of What?" Kahne and Westeimer
"Gaming for a Cause" definitely fit the description of a charity that was given in the reading.  According to Kahne and Westeimer, a charity's moral domain is giving, the political domain is civic duty and the intellectual domain is an additive experience.  While, "Gaming for a Cause's" political domain wasn't civic duty (we were playing video games the entire night for crying out loud!) it fit the moral and intellectual domains pretty well.  The event was an event that was set up to raise money to donate (give) to a foundation.  The additive experience of the event was having the opportunity to maybe play a game with a complete stranger and perhaps make a new friend in the process.  Attendees could, if they chose to, participate in one of three pay-to-play tournaments (a $3 fee), or try to win a prize in the raffle (tickets were sold 1 for $1 or 5 for $3).  However the attendees didn't have to participate in either if they didn't want to.  The Otaku and G.A.M.E.R were able to raise $354 for the Able Gamers Foundation through the event.

"Safe Spaces."
At one point during the event, one of the RIC students who has a developmental disability came to the event.  Everyone who was a part of the event welcomed the student with open arms.  He participated in one of the card games, "Apples to Apples, and then he had an absolute blast playing "Dance Central 3" for Xbox 360 and Kinect with the other attendees. It was really wonderful to see everyone welcome a student with a disability so wholeheartedly and make him feel welcomed.    

I would also say that the event was a completely discrimination-free zone. There were students of all different races, backgrounds, and genders in attendance.  The members of Otaku and G.A.M.E.R had created a space where everyone could hang out, play video games, eat pizza and get the chance to talk to someone that they may not have spoken to otherwise.  

"Citizenship in Schools."
  While the event didn't necessarily have much to do about the inclusion of children with disabilities, the foundation that the event was raising money for does.  The Able Gamers Foundation tries its best to allow all children the opportunity to play video games.  Able Gamers tries alternate solutions for a child who might not be able to play video games due to physical limitations.  Such as mounting the controller to a table or wheelchair for children who cannot hold or use a controller normally and provide a full audio description of what is going on in the game for a child who is blind.  Able Gamers is able to give children the opportunity to take part in something that many children take for granted, playing video games.

This article talks about how video game companies are starting to create games for disabled children.

With the introduction of motion controls in video games, Nintendo Wii and the Kinect for Xbox 360, video games have found their way into physical therapy and rehabilitation. For the past three summers I helped out with a program at Sargent Rehabilitation Center in Warwick Rhode Island.  One of the programs that I helped out in was a physical education class for children and teens with profound autism.  While there I found out that the children play the Nintendo Wii as part of their classes and therapy.  They play games such as Wii Sports, Wii Resort and Just Dance.  These games are a way to help the children to improve their motor skills, hand eye coordination as well as social skills if they're playing with another student. 

This link talks about how video games help children with autism learn social skills. 

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