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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | December 12, 1998
   

Absent But Not Departed

This weekend I'm at a huge LAN party in sunny (yeah, right) Blackpool here in the UK. So while I'm basking in the warm glow of a hundred badly adjusted monitors and soaking up the local beer, I thought I'd leave you with a little something to keep you occupied in the meantime...

You see, as Christmas approaches, it's time to spare a thought for those less fortunate than ourselves. And then go out, get drunk and party!

Anyway, here's Dethurga who raises a very important issue that game designers seem to have overlooked in recent years - handicapped access...


From : Dethurga
Subject : Q2: Mobility & You

There's something about Quake 2 that's been nagging me for the last little while. I've been kept up at nights worrying about this issue, and I think it's time something was done about it. This thought occurred to me once whilst I was waiting for QBSP to laugh at my ever-futile mapmaking attempts.

Have you ever noticed that Quake II's levels are not wheelchair-accessible? I mean, there ARE elevators, teleports and occasional ramps to taunt the handicapped, but most levels are simply unreachable to those who cannot walk.

I'm sure by the time portrayed in Q2, the Marines will be accepting the significantly visible minority of our handicapped population. Sending them to Stroggos would be quite dangerous for all concerned. Can you imagine how unfun the single-player version would be if Bitterman & Pals had a mobility impairment? "Gee, there's a ledge without a ramp to get to it. We're doomed." Not to mention the handicap-loving native Strogg! Although most of THEM have the luxury of legs, some (such as the big-tank-wheelie-thing) have special needs that must be addressed.

We went about attacking the Strogg the wrong way. What Earth should have done was to fine each Strogg facility for providing inadequate wheelchair access. Paying these fines and retrofitting access would surely bankrupt the Republic (?) of Stroggos. I believe that wandering around, finding and documenting violations would be just as fun as shooting the poop out of Strogg and each other.

Strogg is not the first shining example of such inconsiderate boobery. Quake I? Stairs, stairs, stairs.

Doom? Ditto. You can't even HAVE slopes in Doom (True, in some spinoffs slopes were available, but not necessarily implemented). In retrospect, the Doom boy can't even hop...he sorta stumbles up the stairs.

Wolf3D (and its copycats) was the only environment that gave the differently-abled the same footing as the regular joe. (Ironically Wolf3D is set during WWII:The Sequel, and interestingly, during the time the United States was ruled by a man confined to a wheelchair by polio: Roosevelt!) Flat flooring all over, with zany elevators to connect it all.

That being said, I'm hoping Carmack & Pals and all the mapmakers out there can remember in the future, that wheelchair drivers are people, too, and must not be excluded from the fun that is Quake. Slap in that slope! Func_Train that elevator! Then we may ALL benefit! Have you ever SEEN a wheelchair going down a staircase? It ain't pretty.

In Q2, we never see any of the Strogg parking lots...but I'll bet that the handicapped spaces are at the FAR end. (Illegal parking setup, $200 added to fine.)


That's all for this week folks. Normal (?) service will be resumed next weekend.


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