Responding to a request from a player with cerebral palsy, Sony's San Diego Studio is adding a new mode to the upcoming MLB 11: The Show
that requires only one button to play.
The Association for Disabled Virtual Athletes, as the in-game mode will be called, lets the game control complex functions like moving fielders and controlling runners, while the player pushes a single button to perform actions like swinging the bat or throwing the ball to a base, according to a report from ESPN
The idea for the mode came from 25-year-old self-proclaimed baseball fanatic Hans Smith, who had his virtual avatar appear in MLB 10
and has developed close ties with the development team since first contacting them a few years ago.
Smith says the new mode provides a way for people like him, who will never be able to play real baseball, to live out their baseball stardom dreams virtually.
"If you can't do anything but push one button, then you can control everything else via the artificial intelligence," Smith explained to ESPN. "This levels the playing field for people who are otherwise outside the sports arena."
In a recent Gamasutra feature
, Valve Software experimental psychologist Mike Ambinder explained how game features designed for disabled gamers often end up being useful to all players.
"If a blind person has to navigate your UI, they have to do it without the visual clues that sighted people have," Ambinder offered as an example. "This means you have to pay attention to things like making the tab order logical and consistent. This helps everyone to navigate your software more easily."
Games that require only a single button to control have become increasingly popular on touch-screen-enabled smartphones in recent years, and last year's Gamma game design competition focused on single-button games