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Real talk about working as a game developer with disabilities

Real talk about working as a game developer with disabilities

February 17, 2016 | By Alex Wawro

February 17, 2016 | By Alex Wawro
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More: Console/PC, Indie

"Being a developer whose career exists almost solely online means I can structure my life around my disability and my PD, and allows me to be about as ‘well' as I could ever hope to be."

- Game developer Olivia White.

Game development can at times be maddening, terrifying, precarious and risky.

It can also be remarkably rewarding, even give solace to those who choose to adopt it as their career, something Owl Cave (Richard & Alice) developer Olivia White expounds upon in a Polygon editorial about her experiences working as a game developer with chronic health issues.

"Not only is Owl Cave my career and my life, but being a game developer is one of limited options open to me in a world where I'd otherwise struggle to find regular employment," she writes. "As a disabled developer for whom working from home is a godsend, being able to sustain myself financially through games development is a lifeline I'm not I'd be able to live without."

Fellow developers should note that White says she has a hard time getting out to game industry events and meeting colleagues because of her health issues, which (among other things) require her to live with significant, chronic pain.

She acknowledges this may potentially impact her career, but expresses a passion for creating games that might potentially some day provide respite for others undergoing similar difficulties.

"I was heavily into video games throughout my entire life, and they became a safe haven for me; little worlds of empowerment and mystery and physical feats the likes of which I could never do bodily," she writes, recounting how she played games while undergoing debilitating spinal surgery. "I love that I can give something back to the medium by creating my own. I even made a game about my spinal condition."

Her column offers fresh insight into a rarely-discussed aspect of game development, and is worth reading in full over on Polygon.

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