Super Mario Run and Disability


Super Mario Run and Disability

Earlier this year we took a look at Pokemon Go and the experience for disabled users.  With the release of Super Mario Run, we thought this Japanese mascot also deserved a review from the perspective of a disabled user.

Since Super Mario Run doesn’t require walking and exploring like Pokemon does, and there are no complicated controls (just tap to jump), maybe it is easier for people with disabilities?  Maybe its fast pace makes it harder?  We asked Lilia Kamata, daughter of writer Suzanne Kamata (Check out her books on Amazon!), to try it out on her iPhone and tell us what she thinks!


Hi Lilia! First, can you tell us about your disability?

I am deaf and I use a wheelchair because I can’t walk (due to cerebral palsy).

Do you play games often?  If so, what?

Yes! I like Naruto games, for example “Thousand Memories.”

Do you like Mario?

Yes!

Was the game easy to start right away?

Yes, very easy.

(Mother’s note: Lilia seemed to skip reading the text and go straight to playing the game.)

Is the menu easy to use?

Yes.

What is the game like?  Is it fun?

The avatar runs and fights. Each session lasts one minute. It’s fun to make Mario jump.

What do you think is easy?

You can play with just one finger.

What did you think was hard?

(Mother pounds on floor, trying to distract Lilia from the game so that she will finish answering the questions.) Nothing is particularly difficult. It’s hard to buy because it’s expensive. (Mother’s note: Lilia’s allowance is 2,000 yen/month.)

How many stars out of 5 would you give it?

Five!

Thanks!

Lilia playing Super Mario Run


Lilia seemed to really enjoy it!

For those with spasms and poorer motor control, the need to have precise timing may prove frustrating, especially in later levels. However, unlike normal Super Mario games, Super Mario Run is much kinder on players.  In a level, most land-based enemies are automatically jumped-over, which lowers the threat of frequently dying.  Additionally, if you do happen to die during a level, Mario floats slowly backwards in a bubble until the player releases him to continue.  If you manage to die three times in the level, you simply return to the level select screen and can keep trying without fear of a game over.

Nintendo focused on a simple system of control for Super Mario Run and succeeded. Not only does it help bring in casual gamers, it make the game easier to play for people with disabilities.


Suzanne and Lilia live in Tokushima, Japan.  Suzanne’s newest book, A Girls’ Guide to Islands, a memoir of their travels on the Inland Sea, is out early next year!  Pre-order here: A Girls’ Guide to the Islands


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