I wear this blind because I sometimes accuse myself of not really being blind, Said this champion of the game with a smile Street Fighter Vs., About some of the people who lost at his hands in clashes on the most important live game broadcasting platform.
Suffering from cancer at the age of 6, Sven van de Vege lost his sight, but did not give up his interest in video games, especially in combat.
Relying solely on sound effects, he was able to identify the characters on screen and describe their actions, becoming a champion in Capcom’s legendary series, Street Fighter. He launched his best-used talent on his Twitch channel in 2017.
This 35-year-old Dutch IT specialist needs specialized equipment and most of all resources to set up a studio suitable for his disabled.
I manage my twitch channel through my PC, He explains from his small studio in his apartment in the middle of The Hague in the Netherlands.
I have two computers and I have a braille keyboard connected to each oneHe said, sliding his fingers on the small white pins moving inside and outside the device depending on what was being read on the screen.
Play without screen
In front of him, not the monitor, but the wall.
I do not need it, he likes to say, and then, I save electricity.
With the fiery speed imposed on him by live broadcasting, he has a complex interface that he has mastered over the years.
The hardest part for me is keeping everything written in the chat window, especially when writing a lot of messages, focusing on the game.
Every Sunday, he confronts people who have subscribed to his account during battles commenting and analyzing his opponent’s every move.
I won eight out of ten times, He said smiling. He is proud to have already beaten some of the best players in the world in a selection of various tournaments across Europe.
Lack of access
To reach such a level, to memorize the sound effects of each stroke and each character, Sven trains several hours a day for several years, with his headphones scraped to his ears.
It tells me what my opponent is doing, how I should attack him, and how I should protect myself.
Although he worries that very few titles for the disabled still have enough accessibility options, this does not prevent him from sometimes entering other genres.
Its channel now has over three thousand subscribers and shows 40 to 50 viewers per broadcast. More than a respectable score on a stage where people with disabilities are not much.
Twitch added nearly 350 keywords in May 2021 to identify certain groups, especially people with disabilities, in order to shed more light and be more inclusive. But these profiles are rare.
For Sven, there may be accessibility improvements
Possibility to have only text in the chat window, Reading emoticons can interfere with your braille keyboard.
In addition to Twitch, Sven is paid based on the number of people who subscribe to his channel and their donations. If he receives only a few tens of euros a month for that moment, he hopes to one day achieve partner status, which will eventually allow him to earn enough income to make it his profession.
If I say to myself, “I’m blind, I can no longer play video games”, I’m not going to be where I am today. If I get there, I think other people can do it too.