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Baseball fan with disability inspires one-button gameplay mode in MLB 11: The Show

Hey may not have his own trading card, but 25-year-old Hans Smith is one of the most dedicated athletes on the St. Louis Cardinals' MLB 11 roster. Smith, a baseball fanatic with cerebral palsy, was added as a playable character to MLB 10: The Show after moving Sony developers with his passion for both the sport and gaming. This year, he'll be appearing once again in MLB 11: The Show, along with a new gameplay mode that he hopes will make it easier for other players with disabilities to get in on the game.

Built into the full-release title, the new mode takes its name and ideas from Smith's newly formed organization, the Association for Disabled Virtual Athletes. In it, one-button controls will be mapped to basic game functions like hitting and pitching, while AI will control more complex tasks such as running for the ball or sliding into home. Overall, says Smith, the new mode in MLB 11: The Show will open up online gaming to many fans like Smith who are just as dedicated to gaming as their able-bodied counterparts, but have lacked the means and opportunity to prove their sporting mettle.

"To some people, these are just games. But that's because at any time, they can turn off the console and go out to a ballpark and play baseball in the physical world. I can't do that," said Smith in his interview with ESPN, later explaining, "With a virtual organization, you can adjust the settings to whatever you want. If you can't do anything but push one button, then you can control everything else via the artificial intelligence. This levels the playing field for people who are otherwise outside the sports arena."

Reflecting on his association, Smith added, "There are so many people out there who are in wheelchairs but love sports. Because of that, I want to make it possible for them to have their dreams come true just like me. I know how exciting it was for me to finally play baseball. I want everyone to have that same feeling. That's what the Association for Disabled Virtual Athletes is all about.”

The full (and greatly inspiring) interview with Smith can be found at ESPN. He will appear in Cardinals uniform in MLB 11: The Show when it launches on March 8, 2011.

[Source: ESPN]

Jan 25, 2011 

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11 comments

  • mrmorozov987 - January 26, 2011 11:37 p.m.

    No kitten has ever warmed my heart as much as this story. I was going to hold off, but I might buy MLB 11, day 1, just to promote this kind of awesomeness. I'm surprised that Gamesradar didn't cover how Call of Duty: Black Ops renamed one of the characters (Mr. Nietsch, one of the Blackbird pilots) after a Black Ops fan who died before the game was released. That was also great. http://callofduty.wikia.com/wiki/Neitsch
  • Japanaman - January 26, 2011 3:56 a.m.

    One button games? PUH-LEASE! Atari already did that!
  • KnightDehumidifier - January 26, 2011 1:22 a.m.

    So MLB '11 will be released on the Gamecube, eh?
  • TrojanGold - January 26, 2011 12:29 a.m.

    STL!
  • Darkhawk - January 25, 2011 10:09 p.m.

    If you're looking for one button sports games, try the old NES Baseball/Bases Loaded titles.
  • asljirk - January 25, 2011 9:31 p.m.

    This story is really awesome. My brother was born with only a thumb on his left hand which means any game who's mechanics are built around complex movements or left shoulder buttons are completely off limits. Although this may not be as debilitating as CP it still does bring up the issue of accessability in gaming. I'd love to play something more complex with my brother than old mario games.
  • Shagnasty - January 25, 2011 8:50 p.m.

    Haha I'll actually prolly use this. I love baseball games but they're so damn complicated. Aaaah Major League Baseball with Ken Griffey, Jr. >><<
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - January 25, 2011 8:03 p.m.

    I love this story almost as much as I love the St. Louis Cardinals. Seeing a Redbird uniform on our front page makes me very, very happy.
  • HayateZ - January 25, 2011 7:59 p.m.

    Wow . . . Reading this article Made me smile, dunno anyone close to me with a paralysing disability, but the fact that A game company went all out to make this happen is truly a sign that humanity hasnt completely gone to hell
  • grognard66 - January 25, 2011 7:51 p.m.

    Nice article and wonderful news. As the father of a son with CP I'm encouraged by the efforts developers are taking to make their games accessible to all. This actually has benefits for all gamers as developers say it causes them to rethink old conventions and sometimes they'll incorporate these solutions into features for all gamers.
  • ZiegZeon - January 25, 2011 7:50 p.m.

    Thats awesome. Good on Sony's part with this one, especially with adding him into the roster.

Showing 1-11 of 11 comments

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