News Article

Say What You Will About Nabbit, But He's Helped A Blind Girl Enjoy Games

Posted by Damien McFerran

Your heart will be warmed

Video gaming is a predominantly visual medium, and it's very easy to take for granted that you need a pair of functioning eyeballs to really get the most out of interactive entertainment. For those who have sight issues, gaming is largely — and sadly — off-limits.

However, for a little girl called Jennifer — who can only see a few inches in front of her face — the Wii U GamePad has become something of a revelation. As her father explains on the Zenspath blog, Jennifer always wants to be involved in family gaming sessions but can't participate because she has to be so close to the TV that she blocks it from the view of the other players. With the Wii U GamePad, she's finally able to join in — she can be as close to the controller's screen as she likes without impeding anyone's viewpoint.

However, it's not just the GamePad which has unlocked Jennifer's love of gaming. With Nabbit — an invulnerable character added to New Super Luigi U — she can dash through levels with her more skilled family members without feeling like she's slowing them down or holding them back.

Her father explains:

When I got home last Sunday with my new boxed copy of New Super Luigi U in hand, I had an epiphany about the new character that Nintendo decided to replace its signature plumber Mario with...Nabbit.

Nabbit is different because this character is basically invulnerable. I'm talking you can run about the screen and you will just pass around enemies without being "bumped" or "tossed" anywhere so you are free to move about. This lead to a character Jennifer could play and run with, but without the frustrations that plagued her before. She still can fall into a hole, but then Nabbit is tossed into a bubble and she gets to "shake" the remote to let us pop it which she thought was hilarious. I was amazed at how quickly she picked up the mechanics and started jumping gaps and running about. I would smile as she got her face so close to the screen that a platform would pop up when her nose tapped it from time to time before she figured out it was a touch screen too.

Jennifer's father understandably has quite a high opinion about the Wii U now — the GamePad controller has allowed his daughter to be a gamer:

People complain and argue that the GamePad is an unnecessary accessory on a system that is failing to launch fast enough. They complained that the Wii Remote was too simple and could not allow for "proper" gaming. Yet here I sit able to say that the Nintendo Wii U...with it's GamePad and ability to use the Wii's Remotes has led to me playing a game with my daughter directly for the first time. Where at night when my wife goes to work at the hospital me and the boys could join into a 3 player game while my daughter would watch a movie finally have a 4th player. We are together and my daughter has broken another "she can't".

The Wii U may have just become my favorite system in history.

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User Comments (78)



Wesbert said:

This is one of the reasons Nintendo is special. And maybe the eternal whiners finally start to realise the world doesn't just exist for the self-professed "hardcore gamers".



MadAdam81 said:

The Wii U is the only console with next gen ideas, the rest are just weak inferior PC's.



JAG1981 said:

This is what gaming is all about. Having fun times with friends and family and enjoying the experience, its not about graphics, or the power of the system but about the gameplay. That video showed this whole family having fun and the girl looked so happy at the end of the level. Nintendo should consider this one story as mission accomplished for the goals of the system.

Jennifer, your an awesome player! Keep on gaming



Einherjar said:

Reminds of me of the Blind Naruto fightinmg game player (sadly, i forgot which game it was, i think it was one of the later GameCube / Wii Titles)
He praised the games audio design which enabled him, to play it with friends and even be competetive.
I hope that this haptic touch screen tech will be mass market ready soon, that way, maybe even blind peopele can share our hobby properly



Shiryu said:

Found about this last night, sure hope this puts things into perspective with people that hate Nintendo (and the Wii U) so much. For this child joy alone, the Wii U already has a purpose in existing.



jman0625 said:

@EaZy_T Jeez Your profile picture doesn't match your comment it scared when i was just scrolling through the comments



Warbeard said:

Sweet story I remember reading something of the kind about the 3DS - a guy who was ever so slightly cross-eyed, and therefore couldnt use stereoscopic vision at more than 30 cms broke down crying when he played the 3ds, because he could finally see depth

Also: Nabbit for Smash Bros!!



Goginho said:

..and people complain about how Nintendo doesn't include freaking online in games like NSMB, 3D World...etc. This is what it's all about ppl, enjoying local multiplayer with freinds and family. Being able to share real emotions and laughter in the same room. I'm really happy for Jennifer ..though the irony my mother always told me not to go so close to the TV, I'd ruin my sight. I just hope Jennifer's sight doesn't get worse than it already is.

Like the comment above, Nabbit for Smash bros! He just got more credibility. Nabbit needs more recognition though, since this act of his has gotten him a more important role in the world of Nintendo characters.



LavaTwilight said:

Wow my first thought was the same as the first posts here... Just... AWESOME! Brilliant article.



NintyMan said:

Wow, that's very cute and touching. Good for her! Just comes to show that there are people who really like Wii U.



Prof_Clayton said:

Wonderful story there Damien, also, was there ever any doubt that the wii u wasn't your favorite console ever?



Mk_II said:

yup, tearing up here...
BTW: i hope somebody forwards this story to Iwata and Miyamoto



rjejr said:

Nice change from the Pachter stories I'm used to waking up to. I even watched the video before posting, nice gold Wiimote.



zenspath said:

Hey to all, this is Jeremy Powers (Jennifers' Dad lol). Thank you all for the support. I'm still in a bit of shock at how fast this has spread and grateful at how hard everyone has pushed to get it out just about EVERYWHERE. I have been getting comments from other parts of the world, I've already got a game developer that has a similar vision issue as Jennifer talking to me on Twitter, and I have seen almost NO negative feedback about it. It makes me smile that even with how "sided" we can be as gamers...we can still come together to smile at a kid playing a game along with the rest of us when originally we feared it wouldn't work.



PanurgeJr said:

Every review of a New Super game that complained that multiplayer was local only, or of any game ever that complained it was too easy (Kirby's Epic Yarn comes to mind), should be redacted with a link to this video and the following note:

We now understand what Nintendo was going for and accordingly have adjusted our score upwards.



zenspath said:

@Mk_II Actually, I made a friend that works for Nintendo back during the Best Buy event that was in Pensecolla. I have talked to her on Facebook and she is printing out the story and taking it to her boss today. May not go anywhere from there...but this was a story I wrote yesterday morning before school, sent it to a few friends on Twitter and then some friends at Phillip Kollar (@Pkollar) picked it up and started retweeting it then other sites started grabbing it from just snowballed! When I took her to school this morning she was still singing and talking about getting to play.



zenspath said:

@Goginho I would LOVE to have Nabbit in Smash Bros! As soon as I read the comments here about it I have been stuck on that idea lol. She could play along and we can give her a huge amount of lives. Let her be the wild card in the match lol. guys got me thinking even more now!



zenspath said:

@FishieFish Actually yeah...I was playing Monster Hunter with it earlier lol. I also play on Wii U. "Psychoticzen" on Nintendo Network. My oldest has it on 3DS so we can coop here and on the go, and I will be getting a copy for my youngest because he wants to join in too.



sillygostly said:

I've recently bought a Mario Kart Wii bundle for my disabled sister (she suffers from cerebral palsy) for her birthday, and it really saddens me that developers neglect their lesser abled fans.

My sister's really struggling with Mario Kart and I can detect the frustration on her face as she has NEVER been good with racing games. Even if developers included an "accessibility" difficulty mode which more or less played the game for you, I think that would be fantastic so that gamers of all ages, tastes and ability can enjoy them.



WingedSnagret said:

If only the rest of the gaming world understood that THIS is what playing video games is supposed to mean, having fun with friends and family, instead of the "grown up man in his mother's basement" or the "hardcore competitive gamer" images that people love to shove down our throats.



Fingeldor said:

Fantastic! I love hearing these stories and being reminded that there are families with greater struggles than my own. In addition, how great is it that this follows on the heels of yesterday's editorial about Nintendo's lack of built-in storage for future third party titles with mandatory storage? No offense to Thomas, he's a fine writer and it highlights some interesting points but this story resonates with the human spirit so much more.



-Crystalline- said:

Gaming has opened up a whole new world of experiences, and adventures I'm sure that when those Japanese geniuses started Nintendo years ago, they knew they were headed in the right direction, and they have ^^



aj_fowl said:

I see a Vita, a Wii U, a 3DSXL with a circle pad, and the keyboard/mouse combo suggest that he's got a PC hooked up to his tv. Wow, these guys are real hardcore gamers. You don't see that many of those on Youtube anymore.



Mk_II said:

@zenspath that's really good to know, im sure that if NoA is aware of this story it will find its way to Kyoto. Miyamoto will get a huge kick out of this. Anyway, thanks for sharing your heartwarming story with the world, it really moved me.



Zombie_Barioth said:

Being nearsighted I can definitely relate, even if its not to the same extent. Its not fun living life feeling like a mole thats for sure. This is one reason I like handhelds, having your own personal screen makes things so much easier to see and enjoy.

Glad to see your daughter found a way to enjoy gaming @zenspath. Theres Theres not much more heartwarming than seeing a child overcome their problems.



Blue_Yoshi said:

Ya see its audiences like this that Nintendo strives to please. Now if Nintendo had followed all the other gaming trends this would have never happened and all those disabled gamers benefiting from one armed gameplay, that wouldn't have happened either. Or what about that near sighted guy that finally got to see in 3 dimensions because of the 3DS. If you say Nintendo is a bad company, your lying to yourself.



Pachterkid said:

I fear that this story got lost in the shuffle once all of the big news of the day broke out. I just wanted to come back here and say that this was the most positive thing that I've read on the site all day. I tend to be very critical of the Wii U (and I believe for good reason) but this story just made me smile and is a great reminder of the magic that Nintendo is able to produce.



soundcircus said:

This is awesome... Nintendo need to make some new sales adds, and include parts of this video in them. Heart warming.



zenspath said:

@Pachterkid I can understand some people having issues with the system, or the company itself, for sure...but I really appreciate you still being positive about this!

I was told (by Peer - co creator of IGN) that not only has this story MADE it to Nintendo, but that it is being circulated all around the company!



Kazekai said:

To everyone saying Nintendo is about local: My family doesn't game. My cousin plays entirely different games from me. I don't have any friends IRL who game. I can be in a crowded family get-together and still be very lonely playing games by myself. All of my friends are online, and none of them live near me. Don't you tell me that your emotions for people are more "real" just because you're in the same room with someone, because I've had some heavy conversations with my best friend online and we've both gotten very emotional when we're helping each other through bad times, and we've both enjoyed each other's company and had great online experiences. Without online, games are single-player for me and I cannot enjoy a mutual interest with people I really care about.

In regards to this story: I want to say that I also have visual issues. They're nowhere near as bad as this little girl's, but for 3 years of my life, we couldn't afford eye correction when I was a kid, and playing video games was a challenge. I remember sitting really close to the TV and being frustrated at some games because I couldn't find some items on-screen or I kept dying a lot. This is the best story I've ever heard about gaming because I can relate to it and because it's heartwarming how one more person can enjoy gaming and be included.

By the way, I love my Wii U.

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