Courtesy of Red Bull Media Service Team
Sven van de Wege explains how he uses hearing to foil his opponents.
Sven van de Wege is a gamer with a difference. A force on Street Fighter V, the Dutchman is also blind but uses the sounds of his rival’s characters to block them and launch his own attacks.
The 32-year-old took up Street Fighter II as a six-year-old at a friend’s house shortly after losing his sight.
Already, he boasts victories on stage, a first coming at an event in Madrid last year, and now he is hoping to blaze a trail for other blind gamers.
Here, he talks about the obstacles he has faced and his tips for others in the same boat.
What words of inspiration can you give to people who may feel that a disability is holding them back in life?
“When you live with a disability, it’s always hard to come up in the real society. People are always thinking that because you are blind you can’t do this or because you can’t walk you are not able to do this. But there’s always a way to come across those issues. I never thought that I could play games by using sound effects only and you see what happens, when you train a lot you can do that. I’m sure that other people who have disabilities and want to do something, just try it and think of solutions and not the problem. That is the best advice I can give them. Enjoy your matches and do your best.”
What makes the Street Fighter sound design so good compared to other games that you play?
“First it is stereo, so you can easily hear if your character is on the left or on the right. The sound effects are clear so you can hear their footsteps, their jumping, if they start jumping, when they are landing, if they are dashing, blocking, throwing, tacking. So, yes all the sounds I know precisely what it is. If you compare it to other games that I have played before, or the sound effects were not in stereo or they were using the same sound effects for too many things and then you can’t hear if it is a kick or a punch or a jump or something like that. So that makes Street Fighter the perfect game for me so far.”
Do you trade game tips with fellow blind players like Sightless Kombat and Blindwizard?
“Yes, I actually have contact with other blind gamers over the world. They are asking me many times how you can do things better in Street Fighter. I even played against them and they just started the game. I think they have a long way to go but I hope they can use the tips that I gave them.”
Have any video game manufacturers been in touch with you about making their games more accessible for blind people?
“Two months ago I was contacted by some persons who are doing a school project, who are trying to create a game and they asked me if I could help them with advice and test things for them, and I did that. That was also good, that they want me to help them develop the game for other blind players.”